One of the more popular and powerful series on the internet lately is Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man hosted by former NFL player Emmanuel Acho. Acho helps start those tough conversations that can help make change while also working as one of the hosts on Speak For Yourself on FS1.
Before FS1, Acho worked for ESPN as a college football analyst and one of the frequent analysts on Get Up. This week, Acho was on The Adam Schefter Podcast to talk about the origins of the social media series that is sweeping the country and his new book deal with Oprah.
“After the murder of George Floyd, I said ‘I got to do something.’ I almost felt guilty talking about race because I am a sports analyst. I almost felt guilty talking about being black and the struggles that come with being black even if it’s my own struggles because you all don’t want to hear about this, but you have to.
“At first, it was going to be called “Questions White People Have.” I reached out to Marcus Spears (ESPN analyst), Rachel Lindsay (of ABC’s The Bachelorette), a couple of white people and I said ‘hey, I would love to have a dialogue and roundtable to ask and answer questions,’ but the problem is the coronavirus has put everyone in different cities and made it harder for everyone to travel. It was going to take too long, so I said I would do it myself.”
For Acho, the reaction that he has received from these videos has reached millions of people. He mentioned in the interview that he has conversations with Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon and he has spoken to different NFL and MLB organizations.
“I’m not reaching out to people. I’m letting the conversation happen organically,” Acho said. “Then, I try to have a conversation with them. I reach out to people who reach out to me. It has been encouraging and powerful, dude. If you believe in the goal, if you want to see the world become a better place, I feel I have the platform to do that.”
Last week, it was announced that Acho received a book deal from Oprah to write two books called Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man and Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Boy. The former title will be released in November. Acho made it clear that the book can have more of an impact than social media because the next step can be taken.
“The book will allow me to give them what I haven’t been able to give them via words. It will allow me to take things a step further. Sizzle comes with the spoken word. If you want to make generational impact, it comes with the written word.”
While doing these videos, Acho has been trying to balance being a host on FS1 as well. He does have production teams in Austin, Texas and in Los Angeles that help him with the project. He mentioned how sports is his career but doing these conversations has been his calling. Yet, sports has given him a chance to smile.
During the podcast, Schefter brought about the topic of racial reconciliation and what the goal is.
“I think that reconciliation is not a finish line that you cross,” Acho responded. “Football games, basketball games have an end. When the 60 minutes are up, there is a final score. That’s not what this is with racial reconciliation. It’s not the line that you cross, but the road that you travel.”