Justice

Tweets Show Why Simone Biles' and Simone Manuel's Gold Medals Matter

August 12th 2016

By:
Lucy Tiven

Team USA has seen many triumphant moments at the Rio Olympics, but two athletes' Thursday victories were particularly powerful.

Simone Biles and Simone Manuel earned gold medals in women's gymnastics and 100-meter freestyle swimming, respectively.

As evidenced by two viral tweets, Biles' and Manuel's wins are monumentally significant because of the message they send to other young black women — who often aren't celebrated in popular media.

Pop culture and mainstream media often fails to provide young black girls with role models who look like them. For example, a 2012 study conducted by Essence found that most black women found they way they were represented in media to be extremely negative.

But at this year's Olympic Games, we've seen black female athletes from the U.S. take center stage.

NBA star LeBron James also pointed this out in an Instagram post.

 

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

Manuel's gold is particularly meaningful because of the violent, segregated history of swimming pools in the United States, as the Huffington Post observed.

She also addressed police brutality in the United states in her acceptance speech.

"It means a lot, especially with what is going on in the world today, some of the issues of police brutality," Manuel told reporters. "This win hopefully brings hope and change to some of the issues that are going on. My color comes with the territory."

Recently, the #BlackGirlMagic movement has spotlighted the accomplishments of Black young women and earned praise from President Barack Obama.

You can learn more about #BlackGirlMagic in this ATTN: video.