As NASCAR’s Cup Series only full-time Black driver, Bubba Wallace approaches his platform meticulously, ensuring every career decision he makes is impactful, even if it costs him everything. The athlete who has often spoken out about racial injustice was once quoted, "I have a responsibility," when discussing his activism in a trailer for his docuseries RACE: Bubba Wallace. This year the race star earned a nomination at the BET Awards 2022 for “Sportsman of the Year” for his contributions on and off the track. So ahead of this year’s event hosted by actress Taraji P. Henson, live from Los Angeles' Microsoft Theater on Sunday, June 26 at 8 p.m. EST. see how Bubba is Activism to NASCAR.
Figures like Bubba, who has often highlighted the lack of diversity in the world of NASCAR, are the examples needed to show that Black athletes are far more capable of just winning—they could potentially be the catalyst for change.
Black Lives Matter Movement
In 2020, at the NASCAR Cup Series race at the Martinsville Speedway in Virginia, to highlight the Black Lives Matter movement, Bubba and his team, Richard Petty Motorsports, unveiled a new Black paint scheme for his No. 43 Chevrolet, with the slogan “#blacklivesmatter” over the rear wheels. On the hood, a black fist and a white fist clasp in a grip above the motto “Compassion, Love, Understanding.”
Following a failed attempt to get fans to stop bringing Confederate flags to race in 2015, Bubba called out the organization in 2020 to enforce a total ban as racial tension in America grew increasingly higher and in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.
"No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race. It starts with Confederate flags," the racer told CNN. "Get them out of here. They have no place for them."
Following the death of George Floyd in May 2020, it was important for Bubba to say something in a show of support to the Atlanta community at his race, although he knew it would take a toll on his career. Still, during the June event, the star appeared at the Atlanta Motor Speedway wearing an “I Can’t Breathe/Black Lives Matter” shirt. The athlete told BET, “I was just gonna show up with that shirt on. I thought I was gonna lose my ride, to be honest with you."
Bubba’s “Live To Be Different Foundation” was formed in 2017 to lift up individuals seeking a means to fulfill their potential, no matter their age, skin color, disabilities, or ambitions.”
Tune in to the BET Awards 2022 Sunday, June 26 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on BET.