OPINION: A new show on theGrio TV gives us brilliant Black people talking about their craft so you can learn from their mastery.
Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.
I was there at the U.S. Open when Frances Tiafoe was putting his heart on the line match after match and having the tournament of his life. He got to the semi-finals, becoming the first Black American man to do that since Arthur Ashe in 1972. Tiafoe’s a guy who seems to put everything in his spirit into winning matches. As I watched him show inspiring determination and strength, I wished for the chance to talk to him about his game and his massive heart. And then, days later, I got my chance as we sat together on an empty tennis court when we began shooting an episode of “Masters of the Game” on TheGrio TV.
Throughout my career, I’ve done a lot of long-form interviews with important people. It’s one of my favorite things to do, so I’m proud that theGrio has given me a show where I can do that. On “Masters of the Game,” I will lead one-on-one conversations with some of the most amazing, inspiring Black people alive. The conversations are meant to elicit some of the insights and wisdom that successful people have acquired on their journey to mastery so that you can use these nuggets on your journey.
I interviewed Tiafoe at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in New York City, and we sat on a court to talk about his life, his spirit and what sets him apart. He’s a man of humility but also one who believes deeply in himself. He’s a man who’s powered by his family. He’s the child of immigrants from Sierra Leone, and he learned to play tennis because his father worked in maintenance at a tennis club in Maryland. The club let young Tiafoe take lessons without charging him because they liked him and his father.
He’s a man whose success comes from the sacrifices, the efforts and the love of his family, and he knows that. That might be part of why he plays with so much passion. There are so many people who have invested so much in his tennis, and he seems to carry their love, support and positive energy with him onto the court. Tiafoe knows his accomplishments aren’t solitary successes. It took a village to get him to the elite level of pro tennis, and he pays his people back by playing with amazing grit and resolve and fire. We talked about all of that.
In addition to Tiafoe, the first episode of “Masters of the Game” includes an interview with Jennifer King, the assistant running backs coach of the Washington Commanders and the only Black woman who’s coaching in the NFL. We sat on an indoor practice field at the Commanders’ facility and talked about football, being a woman in men’s pro sports and getting men to listen to you in a male-dominated space. King is an extraordinary person who has made herself an important part of the Commanders’ family. Talking about football and life from her perspective was deeply illuminating.
“Masters of the Game” airs monthly and premieres on the last Friday of the month at 8 p.m. It’s not just about sports. It’s about fascinating Black people from all sorts of careers. They might be entertainers or businesspeople or writers. The commonality is that they all will be extraordinary Black people who can help us see our brilliance and learn how to shine a little brighter. It’s an honor to host “Masters of the Game,” and I hope you’ll join us for some great conversations.
You can watch the premiere of “Masters of the Game” on theGrio’s cable channel at 8 p.m. ET/PT. It will also be available later on theGrio’s streaming service on theGrio’s app and on demand.
Touré is a host and creative director at theGrio. He is the host of the podcast “Toure Show” and the podcast docuseries “Who Was Prince?” He is also the author of seven books, including the Prince biography “Nothing Compares 2 U.” Look out for his upcoming podcast “Being Black In the 80s.”
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