I must admit that I am writing this with blurred vision as tears continue to stream down my cheek. I didn't wake up today anticipating writing this post. I learned, along with many others, that famed ESPN Anchor Stuart Scott passed away this morning from cancer at the age of 49. I must also admit that I did not anticipate feeling as emotional as I do right now. I remember sitting on my dad's couch with my sister watching Sportscenter one night. Stu Scott was on the show and by this time I was familiar with his distinct delivery of reporting the highlights. My sister wasn't really paying attention to the television until she heard "BOOYAH!" echo through the room. She jumped and asked who said that. I told her it was Stu. She sat in shock as this young black man spit our slang to describe a home run and pitching performance. We made it a point to watch Sportscenter together whenever Stu was on (especially when he was with his "TV Wife" Rich Eisen). We wanted to be in the conversation and he let us into his living room at ESPN. We saw ourselves in Stu.
Now looking at Stuart Scott's career through the lens of a filmmaker and not as a crazed sports fan, I truly understand his greatness. He was a groundbreaker. He was a pioneer for not simply being a lead Black male anchor, but also for performing with the courage to be himself in a conservative industry. The latter point will be his legacy. Regardless of race or gender, Stuart Scott showed young journalists that you could succeed by being damn good and being yourself. As a filmmaker looking to establish a firm career as a director, I have this internal debate of whether or not I should censor part of myself if it helps me to achieve some of my goals. Then I look on Stu's career and realize that is a bunch of bullshit. People are drawn to me because I don't hide who I am. I embrace myself much like Stuart did. I'm thankful for that lesson and I am thankful for him. He helped to make sports fun and he built the foundation that many of my favorite journalists walk on now. Thank you for your tremendous fight against cancer and thank you for winning that fight. You made many of us better people Stuart. RIP.
FUCK YOU CANCER.