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Simone Biles is an all-around Olympic gold medalist, and since winning big as a gymnast in 2016, she has gained a continually growing fanbase. The 20-year-old made her debut as the first honorary Houston Texans cheerleader on Sunday when her hometown team played the San Fransisco 49ers. While she is super excited about her latest gig, internet trolls still found something to shame her for.
Eager to share her enthusiasm, Biles uploaded a photo of herself wearing a Texans sweatshirt and her hair worn loosely on Twitter, with the caption: “Can’t wait to cheer at my first game. GO HOUSTON TEXANS !!” Her post received love from more than 34,000 people and was shared more than 2,000 times. While many individuals left encouraging comments such as “Slay, Simone! Have a great time” and “Good luck!!! Hope you enjoy the experience,” there were many overshadowing remarks regarding Biles’s hair.
can’t wait to cheer at my first game
GO HOUSTON TEXANS ‼️ pic.twitter.com/K4ijVE86ud
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) December 10, 2017
One person took to Twitter and said, “Baby … Your hair … You need some black friends,” and since posting, the tweet has gone viral with more than 20,000 retweets and more than 46,000 likes. Others flooded Biles’s feed sharing similar sentiments, with statements such as “I really cringe when I see a pretty black girl with hair not laid to some decree” and “She got too much money to b walking round like that.”
Baby… Your hair… You need some black friends. https://t.co/67Czfag11W
— devoleB (@JoshuaThotties) December 10, 2017
I really cringe when I see a pretty black girl with her hair not laid to some decree
— |Answer| (@AnswerMBS) December 10, 2017
She got too much money to b walking round like that
— ✨ (@_tydolla) December 10, 2017
She can't have a black cheer coach either cause they don't play that, she'll be sitting her ass in the stands lonely asf WITH NO UNIFORM ON!!
— Juicy (@glitterngunz__) December 10, 2017
Man! She can’t be out here in front of the world looking like that
— King Pook (@BigPook_42) December 10, 2017
With all the backlash over Biles’s hair, she remained lighthearted and mature about the situation by responding to one person by simply saying, “just came straight from a 4 hour practice w/my hair in a bun, excuse my hair … hahah.”
just came straight from a 4 hour practice w/ my hair in a bun excuse my hair … hahah
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) December 11, 2017
There were others who came to Biles’s defense as well, collectively explaining that the attention shouldn’t be on her hair but on her talent.
can y'all just let her enjoy her natural hair in peace???? you really don't have to shame someone because they're not constantly modifying their appearance.
— merry cleopatra (@LaurennFodorr) December 11, 2017
Nothing wrong with her natural hair…if she wants to be “natural” remove the weave. Simple. Don’t be having African roots & Brazilian bundles. Either blend your leave out, or let the weave go.
— amateur MILF (@TOObContinued) December 11, 2017
Whether subconscious or conscious to speak on something so menial as hair is bringing someone down… And the comments just shows how much underlying detest we as black women have for one another… It's sickening and sad
— Th3rd_Eye_Queen (@assata_malika) December 12, 2017
There's more to life than your hair. We have a gold medalist (who brought my child so much hope) pursuing yet another goal and killing, puffy hair & all lady you rock. Truthfully you did such an amazing & great job today, that's all people should be talking about. #Unapologetic
— Shani Brunson (@shani_brunson) December 11, 2017
This isn’t the first time a young woman of color has been hair-shamed by the internet. Fellow Olympian Gabby Douglas faced lots of trolling about her hairstyles while competing for the gold medal during the 2012 London Games, and the topic around her hair resurfaced in 2016.
These women are practicing day in and day out, attempting to be the best athletes they can be while setting an example for those who aspire to follow in their footsteps. Although we’d imagine hair would be the last thing anyone is focused on, vanity seems to constantly outweigh performance.
When will this change?
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