Life in the WNBA bubble is productive for veteran guard Essence Carson, a New Jersey native and Rutgers University graduate. In addition to playing for the defending WNBA Champion Washington Mystics, in her downtime Carson is continuing to work in the music industry.

“I work at Motown Records, which is part of Capitol Music Group in Los Angeles,” said Carson, 34, who played for the New York Liberty from 2008–2015. “I produce music. I write music. I do music all the time.”

She works remotely with the record label. “Whatever we do in the office, I do here,” she said. “On a personal, individual level musically, I’m still creating. I have a keyboard set-up here, so I’m still able to create.”

Carson won a WNBA title with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2016, so she understands what it takes to win a championship. Players are not allowed to leave the bubble, which leads to a lot of hanging out with teammates and helps foster team chemistry. The Mystics are without two-time WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne as well as former New York Liberty star Tina Charles, who was acquired in a trade, but Carson said those in the bubble believe in each other and are committed to being a winning team.

“I feel safer within the bubble; you know that everyone is getting tested daily,” said Carson. In the WNBA’s Aug. 7 statement on COVID-19, it was noted that no one had tested positive since the initial quarantine period ended on July 10. Carson continued, “It allows people to focus. To me, we’re here to play and use this platform for social justice.”

The WNBA has dedicated this season to social justice issues, which Carson greatly appreciates. She remembers the 2016 season, when the league initially fined players for wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts in game warm-ups.

“It means that someone’s listening,” Carson said. “As players that dedicate their blood, sweat and tears for an organization, we want to be heard. Now that we have them behind us, it means a lot to us. It means that we can move forward with our fight in ways that we [previously] couldn’t have imagined.

“Now, when the league is standing alongside us and not chastising us for speaking up for things that matter, it’s amazing,” she added. “It’s just the beginning. I’m pretty sure that we’re going to continue to move lock-step hand-in-hand together. This is something that’s going to take a lot of unity, camaraderie and everyone speaking out.”