As we near the end of Black History Month, it's crucial to acknowledge the trailblazers who have made a significant impact on the sports industry. Among them is our very own, Brandon Chandler, a Dulcedo Sports agent who has broken barriers and paved the way for Black representation in the field whether he knows it or not.
Below are Brandon's thoughts in his own words on race, equity, and believing in your capablities...
As February 2023 comes to an end, this has probably been my most fulfilling Black History Month of reflection, but also it reminds me that a few years ago I stopped recognizing it as a month to celebrate Black History (I have 30 years of content built up), but instead a month to focus on building Black futures and legacies.
I think it is over the past year, that I have truly fallen in love with my career, and what it gives me the opportunity to do: to tell stories. So allow me to begin with my own.
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a Sports Agent, and be a part of the industry in Canada. And I cannot remember my race, playing a role in that ambition. To be honest, it is not until you start finding a bit of success or being recognized that the word ‘Black’ gets inserted in there. And I think that is when it starts to mean something.
Today, I am privileged to find myself in a position, where I am able to represent athletes, both Black and White, and of other ethnicities across Canada and the United States, which I will admit does come with its own set of preconceived insecurities of my own; will a traditional all-White family, think I’m capable or even qualified enough to represent their young, prodigious athlete? Will my negotiation tactics be perceived as aggressive and overbearing as opposed to assertive and strategic? I had to reprogram my perception of being Black in this industry and realize the opportunity to provide value to my relationships and the greater sports landscape through my Blackness, and diversity.
Whether it is hearing from an athlete that they were relieved to connect with me because I look like them, and thus can better represent them in the world, or being able to communicate the nuances of race, and its relationship with Canadian and American identity to White athletes and clients, I began to see the intrinsic value in my Blackness, as opposed to buying into a narrative that my skin color was a devalue. I embraced being "the only Black guy in the room".
There’s nothing wrong with being the only Black person (or any visible minority) in the room, but it is your job to make sure you are not just in the room but have a seat at the table. There’s nothing wrong with taking that seat at the table when you have earned it, but it is your responsibility to ensure that the door to the room stays open for others. It would not hurt to save a seat next to you... pay it forward!