UCLA gymnasts Chae Campbell, Nia Dennis, Margzetta Frazier and Sekai Wright graced the cover or ESSENCE’s digital magazine. This Spring feature occurred around the time of the NCAA Gymnastics Championships that were held in Fort Worth, Texas this year. UCLA did not win the title this year, that honor went to the University of Michigan’s women’s team. However, that didn’t diminish their story or their impact. Journalist Cari Champion said of these young women, “They’re giving you an entire sermon in the way they perform. These women took a traditional sport and gave it something extra special.”
As black representation in the gymnastic world continues to grow, the ways in which Black culture shines through is ever evolving. Wright explained to Girls United, “As young Black women, it’s so satisfying that we can express and elevate our culture through our gymnastics.”
The excellence, the athletic prowess and ability is there while the style is always changing in new and exciting ways. These young women’s floor routines have become an opportunity to show off their dancing and choreography skills in addition to their supreme technique. “Being in a sport like this and seeing women of color rock the world really is a dream come true. Gymnastics has consumed so much of our lives with the concept of flipping and being perfect. But being recognized by Essence for bringing so much more to the table than just athletics truly is an honor,” Frazier said.
These young women were selected to be featured on Essence’s Girls United platform because they are being celebrated as trailblazers in their own right as they introduce gymnastics to a brand new generation of hopeful athletes.
“Having more representation and seeing people thrive, not just Black gymnasts, but also other races and ethnicities, is really encouraging for the young girls out there,” Campbell said.