How Naomi Osaka Uses Her Platform to Advocate for Racial Justice

Photo Courtesy: Al Bello/Getty Images

Tennis fans around the world anticipated that the 2020 U.S. Open would be more than a little different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What they weren’t expecting? That Naomi Osaka's standout contributions — both to the game but even more so to our social consciousness — would be what really transformed the tournament into something captivating.

While competing in the 2020 U.S. Open, Osaka consistently used her platform to keep the Black Lives Matter movement and victims of police brutality in the public eye. When she stepped onto the court for her first 2020 U.S. Open match, she surprised the world with a powerful tribute to Breonna Taylor, who was murdered by police while asleep in her home. Osaka also honored more Black victims of police violence throughout the competition, with the goal of sparking conversation and keeping the focus on those who deserve justice. And her activism didn't end there.

Despite taking a stand on her own — with no teammates backing her up — Osaka’s fight for social change has endured. And its scope has been impressive in achieving her goal of raising awareness. She inspires others to think critically and challenges the norms of a sport with a long history of racism against Black women. In recent weeks, she's also turned her attention toward mental health advocacy after withdrawing from the French Open due to the harmful effects of media obligations on her wellbeing. This brave tennis star continues to make meaningful statements, and she ensures her actions motivate others to address the real issues at the heart of her powerful protest.