After winning her second US Open Title, a reporter asked Naomi Osaka what message she wanted to send after arriving at all seven matches with seven different masks to honor Black victims of racial injustice.
“Well, what was the message that you got was more the question,” she politely affirmed. “I feel like the point was to make people start talking.”
The 22-year-old arrived at the U.S. Open with the names of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, Philando Castile, and Tamir Rice written on her masks — all victims who fell at the hands of police brutality or racist violence. Of the list of victims, the earliest injustice dates back to 2012 after George Zimmerman fatally shot 17-year-old Martin. This event in history inspired the Black Lives Matter movement after Zimmerman was acquitted of a second-degree murder charge. And the most recent victim, 26-year-old EMT Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot eight times while she was asleep in her home by Louisville Metro Police Department officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove.
This bold statement comes months after the tennis phenomenon shared to Twitter how she was “done being shy.” In this reflective tweet, Osaka shares that she could’ve held conversations with different people but instead was “actually putting my own limiter on myself.” Nonetheless, it is clear to see that she found her voice while gaining her third grand slam title.
After defeating Belarusian opponent Victoria Azarenka, Osaka took to Twitter to thank her ancestors; “…everytime [sic] I remember their blood runs through my veins I am reminded that I cannot lose.”
The Haitian Japanese descent player celebrated the win and her roots by bringing out “the headwrap for this one.”
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