The Black Lives Matter movement is thriving not only in the U.S. but across the world. History has been made with every state protesting in unity. This pivotal moment in our history is happening during Pride Month, which signifies the evolution in the LGBTQ community. Lendale Johnson is the first openly gay professional tennis player, and his mission is to share his experience as a double minority athlete in the current social climate. He wants to help others facing similar struggles and start conversations to educate people using his voice and new reality show, Deuces And Love, to reach a wider audience.
Johnson has had his own experiences with racism in the U.S. He has been a victim of racial profiling on more than one occasion, and he feels lucky that those scenarios did not escalate further. He is an active part of the Black Lives Matter movement in Brooklyn, NY, marching in protest alongside the Manwari Black Panthers and making a point to discuss the movement as frequently as he can.
Johnson’s involvement in the movement does not stop with attending protests and having conversations. Johnson is hosting a new reality show with a mission to bring awareness and education of civil rights movements. The series will influence a movement of positive paradigm shifts through his charity events, tennis clinics, fashion shows, educational workshops, panels featuring famed keynote speakers, world-class athletes, celebrity interviews, Instagram Influencers, artists, models, & actors with a focus on shining a light on people of color, diversity awareness within Fortune 500 companies, A-List stars in Black Hollywood & various LGBTQ community issues. Johnson understands the responsibility that comes with being the first openly gay professional tennis player. As a black man in America and part of the LGBTQ community, he knows that he needs to use his position to open conversation and make a difference.
Johnson’s upcoming project for the Black Lives Matter movement is a charity tennis match with the NYPD at his tennis academy, The Johnson High Performance Tennis Academy. His aim is to raise money for the ACLU Racial Justice Program, The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., and The Okra Project. The match is also being held to provide an outlet for allied officers to share their support.
Johnson is bringing awareness everywhere he can. He is starting conversations and providing resources for people wanting to know how to help and understand the struggles black Americans are facing. Johnson’s mission is to share how as a double minority athlete in the current social climate has caused an immeasurable amount of anxiety, but has also inspired him to address the issues associated with his identity.
Johnson says, “Murder, slavery, dehumanization and racism have plagued my culture way before I was even born. The fact that black people are still being murdered in 2020 by the hands of the justice (law enforcement) system leaves me feeling very alarmed.” He adds, “Enough is enough, law enforcement needs to be held accountable and the systematic racism needs to stop. It pains me to the core seeing my people killed, I (no one) should not have to worry about my (our) lives and safety by just existing.”
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