Baltimore Orioles baseball centerfield, Bruce Maxwell, Oakland A’s Catcher and Vice President of External Affairs of the Oakland A’s Taj Tashombe showing Their Wakanda Pride. Photo by Shaniece Eagles.
By Shaniece Eagles
Black Panther Bobble Head Night was a hit for the Oakland Athletics with over 24,000 fans attending surpassing the average attendance by 7,800. With only 15,000 black panther bobble heads available, fans eagerly made their way to the arena in hopes of not missing the opportunity to experience and celebrate not only a special night but a culturally ground-breaking movie.
Taj Tashombe, Vice President of External Affairs of community Engagement and outreach for the Oakland A’s new ballpark said,
“Black panther night is a representation of how we need to be present in order to connect with the culture and our zeitgeist which is the spirit of our times.”
Tashombe has been overly present in the community. The vice president of public affairs hit the ground running straight into the community where he teamed with the Oakland A’s to organize a private screening and panel for the Black Panther movie to engage our African American youth. A room filled with black enterprise and excellence that day, Tashombe see’s the Oakland A’s as a meeting point for African Americans. As well as an environment we can all learn from by manifesting new relationships that will benefit the community.
Taj’s efforts have not gone unnoticed by the community or the African American players who play for Oakland A’s. A couple of the players shared their thoughts on black panther night and gave advice to the African American youth on how to handle being a minority in baseball.
‘’Black Panther Night was great. A lot of young African American kids. Boys and girls were sitting right behind home plate cheering me up right before I went to hit. It was really cool to see. I want to continue to see that,” said A’s Shortstop Marcus Semein.
Catcher Bruce Maxwell who’s been known for making powerful political stances had this to said, “You want to play baseball then go about it the right way, work harder than everyone else and be respectful. At the end of the day, if you’re the best player on the team, your color or race, where you come from doesn’t matter. I take prideful steps when there’s very little of us African Americans in the game of baseball because it can be done.”
Tashombe understands the importance of black voices needing to be heard on all economic and social class levels. As a minority in his profession, he credits his spiritual foundation for having the strength to overcome the lack of diversity.