Jemele Hill Talks Sports, Politics, Social Media and More at N.C. A&T Speaker Series

East Greensboro, N.C. (Sept. 19, 2018) – A packed house of students (particularly student athletes and communications students) welcomed veteran sports journalist and correspondent Jemele Hill to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University for the first installment of the Chancellor’s Speaker Series of the 2018-19 academic year.

Focused on self-expression and sports, the conversation was perfectly suited for Hill to lead. From her days as a student journalist at Michigan State University until her recent departure from ESPN, Hill has grown to become a nationally recognized figure who doesn’t mind speaking her mind.

Topics from the night ranged from the lighthearted - knowing your significant others’ Chipotle order by memory — to the controversial, the social conscience of athletes, the boundaries or lack thereof of social media and life after sports.  

True to her “tell it like it is” personality, Hill tactfully touched on the recently “touchy” narrative surrounding Nike’s partnership with NFL activist Colin Kaepernick. She considers it as much a business move as a moral one for both parties. She also said more athletes are understanding and leveraging the influence they have for positive social impact.

“People think that just because he (Kaepernick) is woke, he needs to be broke. It doesn’t work like that,” said Hill.

“The two most respected athletes today are Colin Kaepernick and LeBron James. Athletes feel more encouraged to have a voice.”

When moderator and N.C. A&T alumnus and Hall of Famer Darryl Klugh read a few of Hill’s recent tweets, she had no issue extending the conversation and elaborating on her views. Regarding her tweet “heard around the world,” accusing the president of the United States of being a bigot, Hill explained her rationale and regret.

“I never thought the tweets about Donald Trump would become a news story.” However, she adds, “If you’re serving in the role of a journalist you have to watch it. I’ll be the first to say it’s not what I should have done as a journalist.”

Personal opinions aside, Hill continued to bring the conversation back to the students and encouraged them to “get the full college experience.” For journalists, they should use their reporting as a form of activism and come to grips with the fact that social media won’t make you famous.

“Do the work,” she said. “What we don’t talk about enough is how you can parlay your former time as an athlete into a professional career. Think, ‘who am I outside of this sport’.”

The overarching theme for the night encouraged students to examine themselves, learn the best avenue for personal expression and use it to the best of their abilities.