On Saturday night, Atlanta Dream point guard Layshia Clarendon mingled with Hollywood’s biggest stars at the Battle of the Sexes movie premiere. The green-carpet event took place at Fox Village Theatre in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Battle of the Sexes is a comedy starring Emma Stone as tennis legend Billie Jean King, whose contributions to breaking barriers for women in sports are immeasurable.
Clarendon tweeted a photo from the event in which she is beaming, but as Clarendon has demonstrated to the world through increasingly publicized athlete activism, even a night on the town in laid-back West LA provides an opportunity to make a powerful statement on social justice issues.
Clarendon sported beneath her light-gray blazer a white t-shirt emblazoned with a cartoon image of embattled ESPN journalist Jemele Hill‘s face .
Clarendon declares in the tweet that if she was around in Billie Jean King’s day, she would have supported King’s efforts to smash the blatantly sexist views of female athletes of the time.
If her shirt did not make a big enough statement on its own, Clarendon also tweeted support for Jemele Hill, along with agreement that the current president of the United States is a white supremacist.
By hashtagging the movie title, she brings to attention the immense work yet to be done on issues of gender equity and equality.
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These are issues with which Clarendon should be quite familiar. A look at the drastic pay differences between male and female professional basketball players in this country provides one example. That WNBA players earn pennies not on the dollar but, perhaps, on the $10K bundle provides another.
Finally, her #IntersectionalOrNothing hashtag brings into the public discourse an issue many, sadly, do not understand. Intersectional feminism demands that the unique needs of specific groups within the female gender be acknowledged and addressed.
For Billie Jean King, her struggle presented the extra challenge of not just being female, but gay.
Jemele Hill, for example, experiences the unique challenges that come with being both black and female.
These are issues Clarendon — as a woman who happens to be both gay and a person of color — lives every day. It would be unfair, unrealistic and just plain wrong to ignore these added challenges.
Life for a white woman is very different than life for a black woman, thanks to the addition of systemic racism into the mix. Life for a black woman is very different than life for a black, gay woman because the inclusion of homophobia further poisons the already toxic stew.
Clarendon and Hill have responded to this by pushing back, speaking truth to power, and refusing to fade into the woodwork.