Celebrate Black History Month: How Their Stories Inspire Others to Dream

Join us in celebrating Black heritage throughout the month of February and beyond by shining a light on Black stories and voices across the company.

From ESPN to Disney Experiences, Ericka, Steven, Sope, and Angela are leading the way to elevate fan-favorite series and experiences during Black History Month and year-round. Learn more about how they are celebrating Black heritage and leveraging their own stories to inspire others to dream.

Ericka, Deputy Editor, ESPN
Ericka, Deputy Editor, ESPN
Steven, VP – Creative Marketing, ABC
Steven, VP – Creative Marketing, ABC
Sope, Senior Team Lead, Inclusive Marketing, Freeform
Sope, Senior Team Lead, Inclusive Marketing, Freeform
Angela, Sr. Manager – Marketing Strategy, Walt Disney World® Resort
Angela, Sr. Manager – Marketing Strategy, Walt Disney World® Resort

Why is Black History Month important?

Ericka: I celebrate Black History Always and the diversity of the African Diaspora daily. But, during Black History Month, I'm reminded to share the beauty and complexities of our rich history. I love that my community offers several service events each February that directly contribute to communities that need it the most. I am most looking forward to supporting and celebrating Black-owned businesses in our community through the fourth annual "Buy Black Challenge."

Steven: In a time when stories are being erased and rewritten, I’m excited that there is a month when Black History is celebrated. Growing up, Black history was something that I had to seek out and study outside of school. I’m blessed with parents who valued ancestral knowledge. Honoring Black history has given me a great sense of self. It is also important to teach our history to others so that our sacrifices and contributions to society and culture is revered.

Sope: This Black History Month, I’m most looking forward to the celebration of the often-overlooked contributions of Black artists, creators and employees.

Angela: Each year, I eagerly anticipate Black History Month because it is a revered time to honor and celebrate the invaluable contribution of Black people across art, music, culture, food, entertainment and more. At Walt Disney World Resort, we have the opportunity to showcase these contributions not only during Black History Month but year-round through awe-inspiring art, immersive experiences, diverse entertainment, culinary delights and more that highlight the richness of Black culture. I am most looking forward to the first Celebrate Soulfully Grand Marshal and Disney Festival of Fantasy parade. This demonstrates how our celebration continues to expand to the delight of our guests and the pride of our cast.

Why does the work you do matter?

Ericka: We see the wins, trophies, and scoreboards, but what really matters are the people who make it all possible. Helping our audience understand how and why these athletes compete feels special. In a way, it makes their heroes feel real. We've become accustomed to condensing a storyline into a blurb or social media bite. But that's only part of the story. Longform features allow for a deep dive into their stories and an in-depth perspective.

Steven: Leading a team to promote various scripted and unscripted series, I’m always striving to make stand-out work to get people excited about their favorite shows. One of my favorite series, Abbott Elementary, has been a true joy to work on and its showrunner Quinta Brunson is a shining example of Black excellence. Building hype for the premiere is so rewarding because we get direct feedback from the fans on social media. It’s a rare treat to see a comment like “Whoever did this promo deserves a raise” posted on a trailer our team worked on.

Sope: It's so important for any business, particularly a media business, to understand the next generation in order to thrive for another 100 years. We must respect and nurture those key relationships with Hispanic, Black, LGBTQIA+, and other diverse audiences.

Angela: The work that I lead allows the company to connect with growing diverse audiences on a deeper level to drive authenticity and relevancy. This incredibly important work allows Walt Disney World Resort to create inclusive experiences that resonate with a broader range of guests, fostering a sense of belonging. My work matters as it supports the business need to tap into multicultural markets driving growth and innovation by incorporating diverse perspectives and experiences.

What advice would you share with the next generation of storytellers and innovators?

Ericka: There is power in your story. There is power in your truth. When you're the "only" in the room, use that uniqueness as a superpower. Remember, you are offering a fresh perspective. Though that sounds idealistic, leaning into your most authentic self can make you a more thoughtful leader, storyteller, or creator. And by embracing your whole self and celebrating your own story, you'll push others to do the same.

Steven: My advice to the next generation of Black leaders is that our presence and voice is vital. Throughout our history, Black Americans have been instrumental in pushing culture forward. It’s important for Black leaders to advocate for Diversity, Inclusion and Equity. I want employees to really feel like they can be their authentic selves in the office and that their Blackness makes them valuable.

Sope: To the next generation, fearlessly tell your stories, push boundaries, and create the world as you want it to be.

Angela: I press upon the next generation that there is beauty in two things; being yourself and believing in yourself. Have the boldness to do both.


Join Disney in celebrating Black History Month in a variety of ways.