ZORA and The Blackness present Moonrakers 2020

Jemele Hill On The Unique Obstacles Kamala Harris Must Overcome

As the senator prepares for the race to the White House, she may have to navigate a few political hurdles

Erika Alexander
ZORA
Published in
13 min readOct 8, 2019

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Illustration: Tony Puryear

By Jemele Hill as told to Erika Alexander

OOur leadoff feature for Moonrakers 2020, our list of the most consequential women of color on our radar right now, is Sen. Kamala Harris, a Democrat from California. To help decipher this complex woman, I asked sports expert, social advocate, and the Atlantic writer Jemele Hill to discuss her recent Unbothered podcast conversation with the senator. To make it fun, we used Jemele’s sports background to characterize and diagnose Kamala’ b-ball game.

Erika Alexander: Politics is a lot like sports. You have good and bad days. You can be up at anytime, and then, boom, suddenly you’re down several points. Jemele, if you were a coach in the NBA, and your top five players were Sanders, Biden, Warren, Buttigieg, and Harris, where would Kamala Harris be in that mix? What would be her position? Jemele, diagnose Kamala’s game for us.

Jemele Hill: Kamala is definitely a scoring guard. Like Kobe Bryant, she’s very comfortable coming through in the clutch. She’s the player that takes the last shot and that the offense can go through. She’s very comfortable being a leader. And in today’s NBA, the shooting guards are your premier scorers. Kamala reminds me of somebody who is built for that role.

Is Kamala playing defense or is she attacking and scoring?

Right now it feels like Kamala is playing a little bit of defense. I think she’s had to respond to some specific criticism that has come up in her shots. She stole the show at that first…

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Erika Alexander
ZORA
Writer for

I’ve been in this entertainment game since film was cellulose & sound was vinyl. I’m not just flesh blood n’ bone anymore, I’m words n’ story. I’m mythological.