Adidas to Honor Ahmaud Arbery’s Mother and Other Black Women Leaders

LEVELING THE DESIGNER FIELD: Adidas will be saluting some civic-driven Black women who are working to make a difference at Thursday night’s VIP screening of its new documentary series “Create With Purpose.”

The sneaker giant partnered with Tribeca Films for the series that magnifies how nine Black women are significantly impacting their respective communities. Attendees at the event at the downtown Roxy Hotel will listen to a panel discussion following the screening.

Wanda Cooper Jones, who started The Ahmaud Arbery Foundation to establish safe spaces for Black boys and teenagers to run freely, will be among the honorees. In 2020, Arbery, Jones’ son and a 25-year-old Black man, was murdered while jogging in Georgia. Two years later, three men were convicted by a federal judge for racially motivated hate crimes connected to his killing.

The Drew League’s Stephanie and Chaniel Smiley will also be honored for their efforts helping young people in South Central Los Angeles learn lessons about life through basketball. Stephanie Smiley, her husband Dino and their daughter Chaniel have played integral roles for 39 years in the pro-am Drew League’s 50-year history.

Grambling State University’s first female band director Nikole Roebuck, who garnered attention after Beyoncé enlisted the band’s talents for her 2018 Coachella performance and subsequent “Homecoming” special on Netflix, will also be honored; as will women sneaker designers Cheresse Thornhill-Goldson, Eliya Jackson, Ashley Comeaux, Precious Hannah-King and Kimberly Shane. Along with being among the first Black women to design athletic sneakers for premiere sporting brands, they also forged ahead to improve design representation for Black women in the footwear industry. With future generations of talent in mind, they have teamed up with the Black Talent in Design & Fashion Fund to improve access for up-and-coming creatives.

Thornhill-Goldson has an even closer connection to Adidas. She serves as the director of design, education and growth, and global creative direction for S.E.E.D. (School for Experiential Education in Design) at Adidas.  

To try to ensure that attendees at Thursday night’s screening at the Roxy Hotel will dress the part, Adidas planned to host a “retail experience” the night before, offering guests $400 vouchers to select and customize Adidas products.

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