Culture Creators Innovators & Leaders Award

Source: Jerritt Clark / Getty

Jemele Hill and Cari Champion are taking their talents to the self-proclaimed “most trusted name in news,” CNN. This coming April, the pair will launch a weekly program airing on the network’s streaming service CNN+ titled  Cari & Jemele: Speak.Easy.

The program will air on the network’s streaming service, CNN+, and the two were chosen because when it comes to “the biggest stories in sports, entertainment, politics, and culture, they’ll tell you how they see it.”

“I believe the old adage is that if you work with one of your best friends, then you’ll never work a day in your life. While I made that up, there’s a certain magic that happens when Cari and I collaborate together,” Hill said in a statement. “The CNN family is a perfect partner for us because they understand our chemistry and appreciate that our boldness is our strength.”

Hill and Champion have known each other since their days at ESPN, and both ladies have been less than enthusiastic about their tenures at the sports channel.

“I think a defining time for both of us were maybe some rocky periods that we probably went through at ESPN, and just the course of our career, really,” Hill told theGrio two years ago. She spent twelve years at ESPN but faced multiple disciplinary actions for her outspokenness before being shuffled to The Undefeated and eventually parting ways in 2018. “I don’t want to speak for Cari, but she’s had some different experiences than I have.”

Champion would follow suit two years later. On That’s What She Said Podcast with Sarah SpainChampion shared how unhappy and restricted she’d come to feel at ESPN. “I signed the deal [in October 2019] knowing that if I get another opportunity, I would just leave and give enough notice,” she said last April. “[ESPN and I] were all both on the same page that it was not working out. I was not happy and it was not a place where I felt like I could commit a few acts of journalism in the way in which I wanted to.”

However, Hill and Champion had already begun working their own show, Cari & Jemele (Won’t) Stick to Sports, which currently airs on Vice TV. So Cari & Jemele: Speak.Easy will be an additional way for them to share their brand of raw, unfiltered takes about anything and everything. The women were even celebrated for their new show at ESSENCE’s first Black Women in Sports Brunch & Honors gala as well as for their work in journalism and being positive role models.

“I’m so thrilled to join CNN+. The beauty and authenticity of my friendship with Jemele has always been at the heart of our creative partnership,” said Champion. “I couldn’t be more excited to be part of the CNN family and share our brand of ‘speakeasy’ with the world.”

Photo: