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Black Girl Magic in the Olympics: What It Means for the Future

The Olympics.

The holy grail of sports competitions, the final exam for all major athletes, came to a close last night. Winners from all over the globe, representing all different sorts of groups, took home medals. However, one specific demographic has surged forward, winning a plethora of medals in many categories.

That’s right. Black women.

The United States won about 121 medals category-wide. Of those winnings, more than 24 were won by African-American women. But African-American women weren’t the only ones dominating. Black women from all over – including countries like South Africa, Jamaica, Kenya, and the Bahamas – represented in the Rio 2016 games.

Such a beautiful portrayal of Black Girl Magic in this year’s Olympics is a definite symbol of the strength black women possess. Despite the flames that surround us, we will rise, and we will show the world that the power we hold in our pinky finger has enough to do whatever we want.

Future generations of black women will grow up to see equal representation on their televisions screens, watch and believe that they, too, can be an Olympic athlete, that they should not limit themselves based on society’s tendency to put them in a box. Growing up, I cheered for the black women because they reminded me of myself. Now, I cheer for the black women because they remind me of all of us, how we can grow and prosper, no matter what others say or think about us.

The magic even continued into the ending ceremony, in which gold medalist Simone Biles had the honor of being chosen to be the United States flagbearer.

Haters all over have been taking the excellence represented in the games as a threat, utilizing various tactics to hate on some of the athletes, such as Gabby Douglas, who was verbally called out all over social media for not putting her hand over her heart during the anthem (even though many other athletes have done the same thing.) This hate, however, further proves the point: black women are taking over, it’s happening soon, and people will fight hard to keep it from happening – even though it’s inevitable.

“We have made up our minds that we are going to give it the best that we have, and we are watching it manifest in the Olympics,” said a Jamaican-American woman, Andrea Lawful-Sanders. “It’s black girl magic. We are tired of being told that we couldn’t or we shouldn’t. … We’re taking no prisoners, and I’m enjoying every second of it.”

This, of course, is not the first time black women have dominated in the olympics. In fact, the London games saw an introduction to some new black, female faces – such as Gabby Douglas – as well as the solidification of Olympic veterans, like Serena Williams. But this year’s black, female athletes set many a record, like Simone Manuel, who became the first African-American women to win gold in swimming. The domination of the Olympics was a wonderful thing to watch, especially as a black girl who, growing up, was always looking for more people like me proving that I was not limited to what people think.

Now I know little black girls will have role models to aspire to be, women they can model themselves after. The black women haul will no doubt encourage more black female athletes that they can do it too – they could be standing atop the platform with a gold medal in hand.

The Olympics was a huge win for black women, but it was also great win for the future generation.

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Ariann Barker
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Ariann Barker is an eighteen year old writer from Pembroke Pines, FL. She's black, female, pansexual, and enjoys writing about race, gender, and social equity. When she's not writing articles, poetry, or short stories, she can almost always be found on Twitter, Tumblr, or with her friends. She loves film, is an avid playwright, and wants to be a screenwriter when she is older. She loves meeting new people, so shoot her a DM or an email!

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