Unless you just do not do social media at all, then you have seen the video of the UCLA gymnast, Sophina DeJesus, that has been circulating. Up until this point, the only thing I knew about gymnastics was that my sister had taken a couple classes as a youth, and my uncle had a crush on Dominique Dawes. I decided to do some research. First things first, I watched the video, a couple times. I was impressed. I was hyped that her teammates and student section were cheering her on.
Sophina DeJesus used her #BlackGirlMagic to amaze the world with her latest floor routine. For the record, DeJesus identifies as both Black and Latina.
Gymnastics is a routine sport, in which there is rarely any deviation from the norm. However, Miss DeJesus unapologetically incorporated modern dance craze with the style and grace of traditional gymnastics. Sophina is a 21-year-old Sociology senior at UCLA, her career highlights include, Two-time All-American on bars, Two-time Pac-12 Freshman of the Week, 2009 U.S. National Team member, Three-time USA Championships competitor (UCLA Player Profile).
Sophina is no stranger to the spotlight. She was featured, alongside her sister Savannah, on Hip Hop Harry, a TLC show for children. DeJesus has been in commercials and acted alongside world famous dancer/choreographer Debbie Allen in a Broadway play.
Not only did she execute the edginess of the “whip” and “nae nae” alongside her graceful tumbles, but she did so with blue hair! Very lovely blue hair, might I add. Black female athletes have often been severely scrutinized for their hair and bodies, as Gabby Douglas was during the 2012 Olympics, and recently Serena Williams. Sophina served up a dish of “Here I am! I’m gonna do this my way, and who’s gonna stop me!”
Sophina made me want to “hit the Quan”. Her transitions from classic to modern were so effortless! She displayed great athleticism and flexed her boldness, She pushed the envelope a little further, by rocking a traditional gymnast hairstyle with a pop of color that gave her individuality. I personally admire the fact that her teammates and fans were just as “lit” as she was. To me that is a great indication of comradery and leadership from DeJesus. Sophina, you conveyed to girls of color, that they too can use their #BlackGirlMagic to distinguish themselves in their craft. Just as Gabby Douglas brought awareness of gymnastics to girls of color, DeJesus went the extra mile to bring awareness to the fact that you can be a gymnast with some flava! Sophina DeJesus, you now have the floor, pun intended, with our undivided attention. You have successfully made yourself a topic of conversation, a household name (at least at my residence), and an inspiration to girls of color all over the world. Keep sprinkling that Black Girl Magic Miss DeJesus. We salute you!
In case you haven’t seen her routine, here it is :