A 21-year-old Black-American gymnast has taken over the internet.
Nia Dennis went viral online with a gymnastics floor routine featuring hip hop music at UCLA’s season-opening competition that she says encompassed “Black excellence.” A video shared by UCLA Gymnastics has now been viewed more than 10 million times.
— UCLA Gymnastics (@uclagymnastics) January 24, 2021
The routine included songs by the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce, Missy Elliott, Soulja Boy, 2pac, and Megan Thee Stallion.
The judges awarded Dennis a score of 9.95 out of 10, helping her team to victory against Arizona State.
“I wanted it to be a celebration of everything [Black people] can do, everything we can overcome,” Dennis said in an interview The Lily. “Amid all the adversity and oppression we’ve been through, here we are.”
“Every single song is a major Black artist, musician, from different time periods,” Dennis added. “They had a huge impact on Black culture, which has also had a huge impact on me. So I’m just literally celebrating what they’ve done and having the time of my life.”
Many celebrities took to social media to express their love for Dennis’ performance, including Michelle Obama, Janet Jackson, and Common.
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) January 26, 2021
— Janet Jackson (@JanetJackson) January 25, 2021
— COMMON (@common) January 25, 2021
This is not the first time that a Dennis performance has gone viral.
Last year, she performed a floor routine inspired by music from Beyonce that fans and judges enjoyed. Dennis received a 9.975 out of 10 for that performance. She later appeared on The Ellen Show, where Ellen DeGeneres told Dennis that Beyonce enjoyed the routine.