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The Simones Sprinkled Black Girl Gold Dust at the Olympics

It is a good time to be named “Simone.” Yesterday, Simone Biles and Simone Manuel won gold medals in their respective competitions at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. They both made history while doing it too and I was ready to lose my voice as I hollered last night.

Simone Biles Simone Manuel

First Simone B. won the gold medal in all-around gymnastics, which basically means she’s the real MVP of those mats. She’s the chief executive officer of tumbling and the chair of the board of bars. This made her the first woman in 20 years to win back-to-back world and Olympic all around titles.

All I know is that Simone Biles went to the Olympics and annihilated her opponents with grace. The girl did some gravity-defying moves with her body that made me think gravity was just like “I’m on break” whenever she was performing. My goodness! I tried to do two cartwheels in a row and fell into my closet. Meanwhile, Simone was in Rio catching air and I wondered if she was wearing an invisible jet pack. Wonders shall never cease. There are superheroes who live amongst us.

Simone Biles Flips

Physics is fresh outta excuses for how Simone moves. I got dizzy watching that GIF of her.

According to NBC, Simone Biles’ margin of victory at the Olympics was 2.1, which is larger than thee margins of victory of winners from 1980 – 2012 combined. I don’t really even know what that means but I am hella impressed! That just sounds amazing. Like when someone tells you their golf swing is really smooth and you pat them on the back even though you have no clue how substantial it is.

And when they tried to compare her to others, she stood in her own power and said “I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps, I’m the first Simone Biles.”

"I'm not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps, I'm the first Simone Biles."

TELL THEM, BOO!!!

And just when we thought the name “Simone” couldn’t get any more shine, here comes Simone Manuel, from the American swimming team. Unlike Biles, she had been really slept on. She was not the one who has been getting attention as one to watch.

Simone Manuel decided she wanted to blow folks outta the water on the stage that mattered the most. And the stone that was rejected became the chief cornerstone when the girl from Sugar Land, Texas, tied to win the gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle. She also broke an Olympics record while doing it, getting a time of 52.70 with Canadian swimmer Penny Oleksiak.

When she touched the wall and looked back, and saw the number 1 next to her name, the look on her face is THE BEST.

Simone Manuel Winning Look

YOU DID IT, babygirl! Pic by Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

That is the face of a winner who has been underestimated and responded by swimming the best race of her life. And with that, Simone Manuel made history as the first Black woman to win an individual swimming medal, let alone GOLD.

I cried. Because wow. This 20-year old defied stereotypes. Y’all love saying Black folks don’t and can’ t swim, right? Well, one of us just fished herself the top prize on the most grand of stages. We’ve come far from the times when we weren’t deem fit to touch waters that white folks did. In 1953, the Frontier hotel in Las Vegas drained their damb pool because Dorothy Dandridge dipped her toe in. In 1963, a motel manager poured acid into the pool when he saw Black people swimming in it. Just last year, Black kids were beaten while at a pool in Texas by cops who didn’t think they belonged there. There’s a really good piece on Fusion on this significance. Read: Here’s why Simone Manuel’s historic gold medal is so emotional for black Americans

And Simone Manuel won the gold medal at the Olympics. I cried watching her cry during the medal ceremony. I cannot imagine how overwhelmed she must have felt. But she got the significance.

Simone Manuel getting the gold

“This medal is not just for me. It is for some of the African-Americans who have come before me, like Maritza Correia and Cullen Jones. This medal is for the people who come behind me and get into the sport and hopefully find love and drive to get to this point.”

LOOK AT ALL THIS GRACE.

I am so here for this melanin magnificence. I am heartened by our ability to constantly step into places where we are overlooked to end up dominating. I am always full of pride about how Black women and girls prevail against all odds.

Predictable enough, I’ve been seeing folks refer to both Simones as simply “American” women, as we celebrate them. I get it, they are Americans. BUT when we do exceptional things, folks love to emphasize the AMERICAN in “African American.” Oftentimes, they will take out the first word. And “Black” comes up missing in our descriptors. On the other hand, when we are known for negative behavior, they are QUICK to throw both African and Black in the mix.

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America’s love is conditional AF for Black people. When we win at the Olympics, we’re your pride and joy. Meanwhile, back at home, we’re your shooting targets. Simone Biles and Simone Manuel are BLACK. They are African American. They are melanin goddesses. Don’t you forget it.

I told y’all it’s the BLACKEST YEAR EVER. It is hella onyx. It is peak noir. The Simones went to Rio to the Olympics to sprinkle Black Girl pixie dust all over the place in Ancestral August and I’M HERE FOR IT. I’m about to start telling people that my 4th middle name is Simone.

Simone Biles Simone Manuel Olympics

HAPPY SIMONE DAY!!!

P.S. Don’t get us Black girls playing Hockey. We gon come for your medals in that too. BLOOP.


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16 Comments

  1. DarLai "Simone"
    August 12, 2016 at 11:20 am — Reply

    “America’s love is conditional AF for Black people.”
    Just go on and drop the mic after that. Damn!

  2. TheItGyrl
    August 12, 2016 at 11:25 am — Reply

    My LORD! It’s a great day to be a black woman! These melanated beauties are out here flourishing at peak performance levels and the ENTIRE world is watching. Growing up, I watched Mary Lou Retton and told my mom – I WANT to do that. Now, thanks to Gabrielle and Simone, little brown girls in every shade are looking at their TV’s saying – I CAN do that. What a time to be alive!

  3. August 12, 2016 at 11:27 am — Reply

    Awww Ms Luvvie…I just need you to know that YOU are totally a part of this BLACKGIRLMAGIC in this most delightfully melanated year. WORD GODDESS. That is you. You have made me laugh so hard I cried maniac tears and made me cry REAL tears. I choose you for the documentarian of our story. I have adopted you as my daughter so I have a good reason to be so excited at your progress. Thanks for making this story say just what I would say if I could write magic! Go on with yourself WORD GODDESS!

  4. DancinSnarky
    August 12, 2016 at 12:02 pm — Reply

    Simone Manuel’s quote is so appropriate for Ancestral August! Honoring those who came before and the ones who will be inspired to come after. Queen!

  5. August 12, 2016 at 12:08 pm — Reply

    Don’t forget Ashleigh Johnson killing it in Water Polo, going for the gold. Dang!

    http://time.com/4434068/meet-the-goalie-changing-the-face-of-usa-water-polo/

  6. Melony Moore
    August 12, 2016 at 1:01 pm — Reply

    To simplify, gymnasts’ wins are traditionally measured in tenths and hundredths of a second. Simone Biles won by TWO WHOLE POINTS. So combining all those tenths and hundredths from 1980-2012 still didn’t add up to two.

  7. MsDrema
    August 12, 2016 at 1:09 pm — Reply

    To simplify, gymnasts’ wins are measured in tenths and hundredths of a second. Simone Biles won by TWO WHOLE POINTS. So, all the tenths and hundredths from 1980-2012 still didn’t add up to two.

  8. Carricnh12
    August 12, 2016 at 2:12 pm — Reply

    I was so happy for the Simones (sounds like a great 60’s singing group), I want them to use their platform to speak out for and encourage young black girls and other WoC, and as Luvvie said America on loves and appreciates black women when it suites them. But let us not forget this is the second Olympics in a row where a black female athlete has gained the majority of the medals in this or any other sport, Gabby Douglas is a gem and must be cherished. These people judging her for not putting her hand over her heart during then anthem, I was like “good for her”, that anthems was not written for black people, they were not the free or the brave the lyrics were written about.

  9. Carmesha Barney
    August 12, 2016 at 2:16 pm — Reply

    Oh we play hockey too. My cousin Rachel lives in Detroit and has been playing ice hockey since three. She’s now 32. She has played at the high school and college level and is a decorated champion. IJS LOL!

  10. Serenity
    August 12, 2016 at 5:30 pm — Reply

    Luvvie who do you route for? Nigeria or the USA

  11. August 12, 2016 at 6:52 pm — Reply

    YES FOR THE POSTER HAVING STRETCH MARK REALNESS! We black, thick and queening outchea!

  12. SIPort
    August 13, 2016 at 9:03 pm — Reply

    Simone Biles defies logic. When you have scientists trying to explain what she does….

    That NYT interactive on Biles is amazing. Please go watch it.

    I love swimming. I’m Black and I love swimming. I encourage all Black parents I know to get their children into swimming. Too many of our children die needlessly because of drowning.

    Watching Manuel win. I was looking at her at the end of her race, and I was like…did she win? It was so fabulous watching her realize that she had won.

    Watching her face, because she KNEW what she had done. I had goosebumps watching her…then watching her interviews…

    I didn’t cry until she did on the medal stand.

    Wonderful.

  13. SIPort
    August 13, 2016 at 9:29 pm — Reply

    Luvvie,

    I wish you’d to a post about the Black track female athletes.

    I am a mess after a workout at the gym.

    Here these ladies are at the OLYMPICS, and they are looking fly.

    I mean, Michelle Carter, wins the Gold in SHOTPUT, and her ‘do is good, she’s got lipstick on, and in cute earrings..

    and, I’m like…really?

    Across the board, the Black female track athletes, defy logic – looking that good as they compete.

  14. Julieth Moli
    August 13, 2016 at 11:18 pm — Reply

    “I tried to do two cartwheels in a row and fell into my closet.” 😂😂😂 I mean…how do you even… 😂😂😂 I just reached there and had to pause for a while! Whew! That tickled me right, though!!

    Anywho! Go girls! #Simonepower #Blackgirlmagic #africanamericanskillingit

    Kudos to you U.S! The level epic black blackity black black is lit af in the Olympics!!

  15. Julieth Moli
    August 13, 2016 at 11:26 pm — Reply

    So Ethiopians are out there killing it! Breaking world records like they were meant to. Folks, black women have no chills in these Olympic Games… None. None to spare… Just going out and getting it!

  16. Autumn
    September 12, 2016 at 8:43 pm — Reply

    The Olympics represented the best of America, and black women killed it, resurrected it and killed it again.

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