An athlete from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) vowed onlookers with her performance celebrating Black culture. The gymnast from the US named Nia Dennis has been winning plaudits online for her floor routine.
The "Black excellence" floor routine was shared by the university's gymnastics team's Twitter page and also by the 21-year-old on her Instagram page. Nia, a gymnast on the school’s team and a senior at UCLA, was competing against Arizona State when she performed the routine.
She paid homage to her father, starting with Kendrick Lamar’s DNA. She incorporated songs sung by other Black artists including Beyonce, Missy Elliott, Soulja Boy, Tupac Shakur and Megan Thee Stallion. She concluded with Tupac Shakur's California Love, an ode to the city Dennis represented.
Dennis told Los Angeles Daily News that she had to execute the routine for the culture. Dennis, who could not be a part of the Black Lives Matter protests which saw the engagement of millions last year, due to a shoulder injury, said she was there in spirit. Speaking to the portal, Dennis mentioned that the routine reflected everything she is as a woman and so she incorporated a lot from her culture. She said she wanted to have a dance party as that's her personality and she also had to shout out to LA when they were at UCLA.
The reviews for Dennis’s tribute to Black Excellence are nothing short of sensational. The routine shared by the UCLA Gymnastics account has gathered a lot of love on Twitter. The video has gained more than ten million views with more than 76,000 likes and nearly 17,000 retweets. The reactions to the routine include shoutouts from the likes of Simone Biles, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian, comic Wanda Sykes, rapper Missy Elliot and USA Gymnastics.
Simone Biles, the most decorated American gymnast of all time, replied saying, “Do the damn thing girl. This was so fun to watch! Keep killing it!" Missy Elliott, one of those to show the routine her approval, shared the video tweeting, "Snappin". Former US First Lady Michelle Obama said, "Now that's what I call fierce! You're a star."
As per the Los Angeles Daily News, the judges awarded the routine a score of 9.950 out of 10, which helped her and the UCLA team to achieve a 196.150-195.950 victory against Arizona State. Dennis, a member of the National Team, is known for her powerful floor routines. This is not the first time her performance has gone viral. Last year, she made headlines and gained internet stardom for her Beyonce-inspired routine that received praises from Alicia Keys and Kamala Harris.