Sunday Thoughts: May 19, 2019

Happy Sunday, friends! Here are my thoughts on this week’s hot topics covering the intersection of women, money, sex and power.


Money & Mimosas

Topic 1: Two NBA dance teams are eliminated

This week, the Dallas Mavericks and the Sacramento Kings announced that they will no longer have an all-female dance team performing during the games. Instead, both NBA teams are exploring other forms of entertainment for their fans to enjoy during the game.

The King’s released this statement about the change to a more gender-inclusive entertainment team:

We are excited to see the entertainment team evolve as we work to broaden our reach and ensure an inclusive environment for all,
— Sacramento Kings President of Business Operations John Rinehart said in the official press release.

The Maverick’s owner, Mark Cuban, shared this statement in an email on Friday:

Our goal is to continuously improve the fan experience,” The dancers have done a great job, but we felt like there was more we could offer as part of our in-game programming.
— -Mark Cuban

The news came as a major shock to the pro dance world. Many of the dancers were planning on re-auditioning, and hopefuls have spent the better part of 2019 preparing for the summer auditions. This is the third team in two years that has decided to eliminate their dance teams, leaving many dancers concerned that this may be a trend rapidly spreading across the NBA.

In addition to the publicly released statements, there have been a number of journalists and fans that say it is about time that the pro sports dance world moves out of the 1970s mindset of objectifying women, to the 21st century where women are not “shaking in booty shorts and crop tops on the dance floor where 10-year old boys may be watching”.

All valid points. On the surface it would seem that these decisions are progressive. Aren’t we all on board with women not being exploited? Aren’t we all for inclusivity?

Of course.

HOWEVER.

There is a large group of women who have now been dismissed, alienated, and shamed for having the desire to express their femininity, their truth, and passions. There are tens of thousands of women who audition every year for the opportunity to “shake their booty and wear scrimpy crop tops”.

When you talk to these women, they share that the experience of being a professional sports team dancer goes far beyond the court. It includes life-long friendships and opportunities to develop their self-confidence.

But, at the end of the day, these women do not have say in these organizations. As a former NFL cheerleader, I know first-hand that our opinions are lightly considered. At best. As I shared In my interviews with Elle and Cosmopolitan magazine.

Simmone Miller, former NBA dancer and the owner of Simma Wear, trains hundreds of dancers every year to prepare for NBA and NFL auditions. In a statement regarding the recent decisions to eliminate dance teams, Miller texted the following to me:

Simmone Miller.jpeg
As much as it’s disheartening, I’m not shocked. The strict rules, lack of control and lack of power given to dancers has made it easy for organizations to do whatever they want at anytime. They want you big enough to help the organization but not big enough to have a platform and audience of your own. It’s essential for dancers to start building their platform outside of the organization to always have their voices heard.
— Simmone Miller

She goes on to state:

The first organization to fully embrace a dance team as the athletes that they are could benefit greatly. If they didn’t worry so much about control, and rather focused on fully incorporating dancers in their marketing and building their personal brands, organizations could benefit way more than just the fan experience.
— Simmone Miller

My Two Cents

At the end of the day, professional sports teams are businesses. In recent years, they have received a lot of backlash for their dance teams. Whether it’s lack of pay or overall treatment, the structure of these dance teams has caused a lot of controversy.

Over time, controversy is harmful to a business. Any business. Especially a business that is positioned as family-friendly fun. And in this era, anything that smells of exploitation of women is dismissed immediately. As it should be.

For professional dancers and cheerleaders, the question is two-fold.

  1. Are they being exploited? Some may say yes, others no. I could write a dissertation on this topic, so we’ll save that for another time. Instead, let’s focus on #2.

  2. Are they contributing to the overall business of the organization? In my mind, these organizations are making a business decision. While they don’t pay the women a lot of money, there are other costs associated with the dance teams. These costs add up! Dancers are ambassadors for the organization, meaning that they fall under marketing. Marketing needs to correlate to sales. In this case, that would be ticket sales, sponsorship sales and appearances. The big bucks fall under ticket and sponsorship sales. Given the way organizations have structured their dance teams, it is nearly impossible to justify dancers as a marketing expense. They do not bring money into the organization. Could they? Absolutely! But right now, they do not. And if things don’t change, we will continue to see this trend spread around the league.


Topic 2: Anti-Abortion Bills

On Tuesday, Alabama legislators passed the most restrictive abortion regulation in the United States. Effectively banning abortions with very few exceptions (rape and incest are not included in those exceptions), doctors who break this law would be considered felons and could face up to 99 years in prison.

Governor Kay Ivey, who can go ahead and hand back her woman’s card, signed the bill into law on Wednesday.

Other states who have recently passed similar bills include Mississippi, Ohio, Georgia, Kentucky, and Arkansas.

Folks that support these bills tend to justify their stance with Christian quotes from a Bible that is completely different from the one I remember reading. Claiming that if a child is conceived, it is automatically a miracle from God. And the woman bearing the child must obey God’s plan.

Hmmmm. Is this how Jesus came to be?

Yes, I went there.

Beyond the religious component, there is another driver behind this decision that few people are discussing. It’s the the connection between controlling women’s bodies and economic power.

Population growth is directly correlated with a country’s GDP. The larger a country’s workforce = the more a country can produce = greater economic power.

This week, the New York Times published that the U.S. birthrate is on the decline for the fourth consecutive year. It is at its lowest level in thirty-two years, according to the article.

Women having control of their bodies is a threat to the powers that be BECAUSE it impacts their pocketbooks.

My Two Cents

I honestly have nothing to say other than it’s time to use our dollars to support organizations that are fighting for women’s rights. Money is a superpower, so let’s use it to create a world where all women can thrive. Below are a few organizations you can look into:

  1. The Yellowhammer Fund

  2. Planned Parenthood

  3. National Network of Abortion Funds


What are your thoughts on this week’s hot topics on the intersection of women, money, sex and power? Let me know in the comments below.


About Danetha: Danetha is a small business consultant, serial entrepreneur, investor and philanthropic advisor to women who want to make a BIG impact in their community. Money & Mimosas, her lifestyle brand, is a social club and financial education blog for ambitious women. Her work has been featured in Fast Company, Cosmopolitan and Entrepreneur. Danetha has been named a top 40 under 40 accounting professional by CPA Practice Advisor and a millennial entrepreneur to watch by the office of Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

To find out how to work directly with Danetha, email hello(at) moneyandmimosas (dot)com.

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