This U.S. Soccer star never shies away from an important conversation. On Saturday, Megan Rapinoe will host a televised HBO special, bringing together major thought leaders such as U.S. House of Representatives member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, and Patriot Act host Hasan Minhaj. The four will have a wide-ranging discussion on, "the ongoing cultural conversation that has been taking place during this significant time in our country’s history,” as per a press release.
Rapinoe, a star of the U.S. women's national soccer team, will be at the helm of the special, titled Seeing America with Megan Rapinoe. Ahead of the premiere, the World Cup champion expressed her excitement at bringing the conversation to a large audience. "It is an honor to host a show with a critical conversation between some of America’s most innovative thought leaders," Rapinoe said in a press release obtained by Bustle. "I am so thankful to HBO for providing such a powerful platform for this important dialogue."
Alongside the announcement, HBO dropped a teaser trailer for Seeing America, showing the four thinkers and activists sitting down for their socially-distanced talk. "For me, the point is to get the whole story," Rapinoe told her guests. Later, she added, "I'm a gay, female athlete, I can't ever be just one thing." And then she asked the big question: "Is there an opportunity to shift our country?"
In addition to being a much-decorated athlete, Rapinoe has been an outspoken activist throughout her career. In September of 2016, she knelt during the U.S. National Anthem in solidarity with NFL player Colin Kaepernick's protest of racial injustice, as per Rolling Stone, starting a firestorm of controversy in her own right. "I think it’s actually pretty disgusting the way he was treated and the way that a lot of the media has covered it and made it about something that it absolutely isn’t," she said at the time. "Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties."
During the 2019 World Cup Championship in France, Rapinoe's interview with Eight by Eight went viral, after the star said she wouldn't meet with the president after their victory. "I'm not going to the f*cking White House," she said. "We're not going to be invited. I doubt it. But no." The interview, in addition to the soccer player's talent on the field, galvanized support from fans, who admire the star for both her athletic achievements and commitment to engaging with conversations around social, political, and economic issues.
Rapinoe will executive produce the special with HBO's Peter Nelson and Bentley Weiner. Seeing America With Megan Rapinoe premieres this Saturday, August 1, on HBO.