Beside every successful Black man is a Black woman. For Turner Sports‘ insanely popular “Inside The NBA” show, which stars three Black men in Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith, a Black woman calls the shots behind the scenes. Tara August has spent 17 years at Turner Sports, and is now the company’s senior vice president of talent. The role has put her at the forefront of securing extensions of O’Neal, Barkley and Smith to remain on the Basketball Hall of Fame cast.
On Nov. 14, August attended O’Neal’s HBO docuseries premiere of SHAQ, and spoke to rolling out about O’Neal, and the advice she has for any young Black women who hope to reach her level of corporate success in media.
How has it been working with Shaq for over the past decade?
Shaq is bigger than life and bigger than you can imagine. He’s been with us now for over 10 years. When he started, he was all about having fun and trying to do silly things. Now 10-plus years later, he’s about having fun and trying to do silly things.
As a Black woman in your position at a company like Turner Sports, what do you want to tell all the young Black girls and women in colleges across the country who hope to be in a position like yours one day?
There’s no better time than now to dream big, right? There are no limitations. There are no boundaries. Even if you are the only woman in the room, the only Black person in the room, or both. If you’re going to be a unicorn, I always say put on a show. So stand out. Making a name for yourself and putting on a show means being prepared. Ask a question, and sit at the front of the line. Be well dressed, and make sure they remember you. They’re going to be paying attention anyway saying, “Why are you here? Can you do that?” Or, “I’m surprised.” So, stand out and claim your space. This is the perfect time to do it.