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2023 Representation Matters: Celebrating Black Culture

Back in February we started a conversation about creating space for the Carolina Panthers to celebrate representation and black culture - on and off the field. Chanelle Smith-Walker, Khara Gibson-Taylor, Jasmine Simmons, Morgan Jenkins, and others have been working diligently over the last few months to make this dream a reality.

In conjunction with the NFL's Inspire Change initiative of commitment to conservation and actions that move us toward a more equal and just tomorrow, the Carolina Panthers will concentrate on our core pillar of Representation Matters.


Everyone deserves to feel seen, heard, and valued. Everyone deserves to feel seen, heard, and valued. Our Inspire Change game this season will exemplify our commitment to Celebrating Black Culture.

Week 15 December 17th Inspire Change game at Bank of America Stadium against the Atlanta Falcons presented by Daimler Truck North America will be themed "Representation Matters: Celebrating Black Culture." Each player, coach and staff were given sweatshirts to wear on game day in support of this initiative. 

 

Fans can expect to see a halftime performance from North Carolina A&T Blue & Gold Marching Machine band, end zone performances with TopCats from Winston-Salem State University Powerhouse, South Carolina State University Champagne Dancers, and more.

Photos by Chanelle Smith-Walker

Community Impact

231212 Exposure Project Family Bake Off CSW-069.jpg

In addition to the game, we partnered with the Exposure Project, a local non-profit in the Charlotte community. On December 12th, the Panthers will compete in a holiday-themed bake-off with 15 local families, alongside Panthers players who will be assisting with the bake-off and judging the final desserts. The goal of the family competition is to inspire kids to deepen bonds between families and encourage leadership and communication with others.

Chanelle Smith-Walker ideated and initiated this partnership with Jill Cole, Community Relations Manager and Leanna Clavin, Founder of Exposure Project to execute this community service event.

Photo by Angela Denogean | (From left to right) Chanelle Smith-Walker, Jill Cole, Leanna Calvin

Photos by Chanelle Smith-Walker

Kicks & Fros

Smith-Walker ideated and executed the collaboration with Kicks and Fros, a Black female-owned sneaker lifestyle community based in Charlotte, will create custom sneakers that represent what matters to our players. The custom sneakers will be featured on our @panthers social channels and players will showcase their sneakers during player arrivals on gameday.

 

Smith-Walker did photoshoots with each artist. They each provided quotes that inspired their design. Facilitated by Smith-Walker, the artist had the opportunity to meet the players they designed sneakers for. She also provided the artist passes to player arrivals to see their sneakers in action.

Players featured: Derrick Brown, Bryce Young, DJ Chark, Brian Burns, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Tommy Tremble, Ikem Ekwonu, Jeremy Chinn, Frankie Luvu, and De'Shawn Williams

Photos by Chanelle Smith-Walker