I have a story to share with you—a story about a young black woman on a journey of self-discovery, empowerment, and unapologetic black excellence. So, allow me to recount a tale that forever changed the way I viewed myself.

Picture this: it’s game day, and the energy on the court is electric. As the coach of a rising basketball program, I’m in my element, leading my team with passion and purpose. But little did I know, the excitement for the program was extending beyond the community.

With each passing season and every hard-fought victory, reporters and photographers began to take notice. They were there to capture every heart-stopping moment—the last-second shots, the triumphant celebrations—all of it immortalized in the pages of newspapers and magazines. And then, there I was, caught in the heat of the action, my emotions laid bare for all to see.

At first, I couldn’t help but laugh at the sight of myself in those photos. I mean, who would’ve thought I’d end up in the paper? But as I stared at those images, doubt started to creep in. What were people thinking when they saw me like that? Did they see a coach utterly consumed by her love for the game, or did they see something else entirely? I even had old friends from my childhood asking me why I looked so serious in those pictures, making me wonder what message those intense expressions were sending.

As I reflected on these questions, a profound realization dawned on me: it didn’t matter what others thought. What truly mattered was how I viewed myself—in all my passionate, fierce, unapologetically black glory. You see, society has long attempted to confine us within narrow stereotypes, depicting black women as either too aggressive or angry.

But in that moment, I embraced my passion as a badge of honor, a symbol of my strength, resilience, and unwavering determination. I refused to be confined by society’s limited expectations—I was a force to be reckoned with, a coach on a mission to inspire, uplift, and empower. Oh and WIN!

So here’s to embracing our passion, our fire, and our unapologetic blackness. Here’s to owning our power and rewriting the narrative on our own terms. And most importantly, here’s to each and every one of you, beautiful souls, who dare to dream, who dare to defy, and who dare to be unapologetically yourselves.

To my fellow black women coaches, I say this: Embrace your passion, own your strength, and defy the stereotypes that seek to limit you. Stay true to your religious beliefs, your faith in God, and your commitment to good character. And remember, your journey may be challenging, but it is also empowering. By being authentically yourself, you pave the way for future generations of black women in sports to do the same. Keep shining, keep breaking barriers, and keep inspiring others with your unapologetic authenticity. The world needs more trailblazers like you.