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Johnasia Cash Finds Her Voice On And Off The Court At Penn State

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McKeesport native Johnasia Cash is using her game and voice to affect change while at Penn State. KDKA's Rich Walsh has more.

Video Transcript

- CBS News and CBS television are joining forces for a new initiative called "Unifying America." We're highlighting stories about communities coming together to overcome differences. And that includes a local basketball player, who is using her game and her voice to affect change. Rich Walsh has her story coming up, new at 6:00.

RICH WALSH: McKeesport native Johnasia Cash is known for her talents on a basketball court, but lately she's been focusing on a more important issue.

- Johnasia Cash!

RICH WALSH: For Johnasia Cash, growing up in McKeesport with her famous last name meant living in the shadow of her cousin Swin, who's one of the best female athletes in western Pennsylvania history.

JOHNASIA CASH: It was amazing just to be recognized and to be introduced to so many people because of Swin Cash in her successes at McKeesport Area High School. But at a point in time, there was a-- there was a moment where I was like, "I know I'm related to Swin Cash and that's my older cousin and that she played basketball just the same as me, but I'm Johnasia Cash, and I'm different and I'm me, and I want to make a name for me."

RICH WALSH: And she's been fulfilling that goal, both on the court and in life. After transferring from SMU to Penn State last summer, Cash has been money. She was recently named Big Ten Player of the Week and is playing her best basketball ever.

But she's also an extremely talented singer and songwriter. After the tragic death of George Floyd, she expressed her feelings by writing a song called "It's Time to Rise" and performed it at a Black Lives Matter gathering this summer.

JOHNASIA CASH: (SINGING) --say it's time to fight for what we live for.

I got really inspired, you know, with a lot of famous celebrity artists out here writing songs and just pouring their feelings out into their music, making people understand how they feel on the inside about everything that was going on. And I wanted to be a part of that.

RICH WALSH: After graduation, Cash hopes to play professional basketball. But if that doesn't work out, she wants to pursue a singing career while always looking for ways to continue helping her community.

JOHNASIA CASH: (SINGING) Yeah, it's time to rise.