PAUL WACHTER / The Undefeated
“At first, I thought I wanted to be an actor, because that’s who you saw on the screen. But later my parents told me, ‘You realize you were always writing plays and putting them on with your siblings and telling them what to do.’ ”
When Angela Hill first joined UFC in 2014, she became the first female African American signee in promotion history. But her signing didn’t lead to a floodgate of black female talent opening in the popular fighting promotion; rather, she’s mostly been the lone pioneer.
“People say out of frustration comes creation...I realized it was so saturated on the male side, and NBA side, of sneakers. I’m like, ‘Everybody is doing the same exact thing … how can I do something so far-fetched, so different that no one is even thinking about?’ ”
Saeed Rahbaran / The Undefeated
Behind the scenes, stunt performers have always faced issues of race and gender inequality. White men and women occupy the foreground while those of color jump through hoops to secure jobs in spite of common practices such as blackface, paint downs (a more extensive version of blackface) and wiggings (in which men portray women). Black women suffer twofold, fighting not to be replaced by painted-down white women or men in wigs acting as women.
“I feel like I’m just someone who is standing up for the things I believe in, which I guess, by definition, makes me an activist,” Stewart said. “Everybody thinks you’re a great basketball player, but then that goes away. Being a survivor of sexual abuse is going to be with me forever.”
Maya A. Jones / The Undefeated
“She asked her [father] if she could be a drum major and he said, ‘If you work hard, yes,” her mother, Lenise Bostic said. “Both her [father] and I were in the 100 and we knew there had never been a female named to the position, but we have always supported her dreams. When she found out during her senior year that no women had ever been named a drum major, she told us that she would be the first!”
SORAYA NADIA MCDONALD / The Undefeated
“How many days in your life have you spent in complete silence?” Terri Winston, Women Audio Mission’s executive director and founder asked. “Like, none, right? I mean, unless you’re a monk or something, or a nun. Right? That’s how important sound is to us. It’s a really constant soundtrack that we live to every day, and when you have less than 5 percent women creating and shaping all of those messages, that means we’re not at the table."