Last night, the ESPYS opened with NBA players LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and Dwyane Wade delivering a powerful and much-needed message about racial injustice and police brutality in America. James ended the speech with a call-to-arms for all professional athletes:
"Tonight, we’re honoring Muhammad Ali, the GOAT. But to do his legacy any justice, let's use this moment as a call to action for all professional athletes to educate ourselves, explore these issues, speak up, use our influence, and renounce all violence."
Chance the Rapper closed the ESPYS with a moving tribute to the late Muhammad Ali. Ali was one of the greatest athletes of all time, but his work outside of the boxing ring is what makes his legacy even more important. He was as outspoken to his opponents before beating them in the ring as he was in his politics and speaking out about racism, oppression, religion, and war.
For the tribute, Chance sang an original song alongside a gospel choir and members from his collaborative group The Social Experiment, including Donnie Trumpet, Jamila Woods, Peter Cottontale, and Teddy Jackson. Instead of a regular performance microphone, Chance used a hanging boxing ring mic and sang in his raspy inimitable voice: "And of course, you're in the last place I look/ I swear, ain't nowhere greater/ Ain't nowhere brighter/ Ain't nowhere better, better, better!" Ali's photos and words about religion and doing good in the world filled the background.
It was a truly beautiful moment.
Tahirah Hairston is a style writer from Detroit who likes Susan Miller, Rihanna's friend's Instagram accounts, ramen and ugly-but cute shoes.