Tennis professional Naomi Osaka is receiving rave reviews and admirations from many Ghanaians and Africans after she was spotted with a kente headwrap in the aftermath of her US Open triumph over Victoria Azarenka.
At a relatively young age of 22, her sense of awareness has been described as one that appears to transcend and belies her age.
“I would like to thank my ancestors, because every time I remember their blood runs through my veins I am reminded that I cannot lose,” Osaka tweeted last Sunday morning ahead of the US Open final match.
In the wake of her decisive win, however, Osaka made a styling choice that was both celebratory and subtly intentional.
Sporting a traditional headwrap made from Ghanaian kente cloth while holding up her trophy, Osaka paid tribute to the Haitian side of her family, where similar West African styles are used to mark significant or sentimental moments in their wearers’ lives.
In the words of Osaka herself, that she shared to Instagram after the dust settled: “You already know I had to bring out the headwrap for this one.”
Her post received many reactions and likes, with many asking if she has African and Ghanaian roots.
Meanwhile, over the last two weeks at the US Open, Osaka has used the spotlight to shed light on the Black Lives Matter movement without even uttering a word.
Stepping onto the court for her first match two weeks ago, Osaka wore a face mask paying tribute to Breonna Taylor who was a victim of police brutality.
Since then, she has used her globally-broadcast appearances to shine a spotlight on other Black victims of police brutality through further face masks, honouring lives lost and standing up for the voiceless whose killers have still not been held to account.
It is a known fact that Osaka has fiercely-held political opinions but she has managed to balance it with her consummate professionalism as a player.