New web series connects social issues & sports
by Bryan Fonseca
Jun 06, 2017 | 3129 views | 0 0 comments | 274 274 recommendations | email to a friend | print
People try to use sports as an escape, a tool to compartmentalize reality and enjoyment how they see fit, which often requires one to ignore social issues that directly correlate with, and at times arise, in sports.

Here’s the thing: you can’t!

Enter, The Sports Walk, a new web series created by Brooklyn-based reporter, videographer and video journalist Dexter Henry, who’ll provide weekly episodes of the show through his Backpack Broadcasting media outlet.

The Sports Walk will feature sports-driven discussion, but will also speak on the social issues related to sports that have a profound impact on media and society in ways beyond the winners and losers.

“I’m just looking to create a lot of different content that I think is diverse and people really want to see,” said Henry. “I had the idea for The Sports Walk about five or six months ago. The inspiration for it comes from another web series that U.K. filmmaker Cecile Emeke started called ‘Strolling.’

“She took black people from the U.K., France, America, Jamaica and talked to them about their black experiences within the city they live in,” Henry added. “I thought ‘wow, what if someone did this with sports and gave it a little hip-hop feel to it?’”

Since graduating the University of Pittsburgh in 2005, the 34-year-old Henry has worked at a variety of media outlets, including the Daily News, Post, and NetsDaily of SB Nation. He is currently a reporter for News 12.

He’s always been mindful of conversations that extend beyond in-game strategy and coach speak, and has been wanting to bring this to the forefront.

“You don’t hear people really talk about issues involving sexism, racism, economics, classism, gender roles, equal pay, body shaming,” Henry said. “You can’t separate sports issues and social issues. I love sports, but you can’t escape the real life social issues that are going on in sports.

Henry values the significance of openly discussing topics such as the Colin Kaepernick situation and the United States Women’s Soccer team not receiving equal pay, but insists that it doesn’t always need to come from the same ESPN and Fox Sports panels.

“We saw what happened to LeBron James with his house being vandalized with the n-word, and he can’t escape that reality no matter what idiotic stuff Jason Whitlock might say,” said Henry, a proud Grenadian-American. “That’s another reason why I think shows like this are important because you have talking heads like Mr. Whitlock who say things like racism isn’t really an issue for people of color who have attained a certain level of financial success,”

In short, we hear from analysts and reporters, but rarely the fans, and to the Brooklyn native that kind of representation matters.

“This is kind of a forum where people can share their thoughts on what they feel and there’s really no limitations on the show,” Henry said. “I just think it’s important for different people from different backgrounds from all different walks of life who love and are passionate about sports and issues in sports to speak on them.”

The idea is that you are appreciative of the honesty behind The Sports Walk. It’s simply somebody taking a walk and talking to the viewer about sports and social issues where they intersect.

Henry promises it will be unique, thought-provoking, and perhaps borderline uncomfortable on occasion, but it will challenge the viewer and spark a needed dialogue.

“I want people to take it for the honesty that it is, enjoy that experience, and really think about it,” he said. “If there’s any agenda that I am guilty of pushing, it’s pushing diverse voices and that’s it. There’s not enough of that in sports journalism and that’s something I’m very passionate about.”

Episode one was released on June 1, with episode two arriving on Thursday, June 8. Follow @TheSportsWalk on Twitter for up-to-date information.

“It’s been a pleasure starting to work on the show,” Henry adds. “It wouldn’t be possible without the great small crew I have of student workers who do some great work with me of shooting and filming me and pushing the idea.”
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