After going viral last year for her floor routine inspired by Beyonce’s Homecoming, UCLA gymnast Nia Dennis is back with another jaw-dropping performance. On January 23, Dennis wowed the judges with a floor routine set to a medley of music by Black artists, including Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, Soulja Boy, Megan Thee Stallion, and Tupac Shakur. And, in addition to her gravity-defying leaps and tumbles, the talented gymnast also incorporated some stepping into her routine as a tribute to her father, who was in a fraternity.
Dennis used her performance as an opportunity to celebrate Black culture and to represent who she is as a person—in addition to displaying her phenomenal gymnastics skills. The judges were clearly impressed because she received a score of 9.950 for her impressive floor routine. UCLA Gymnastics later shared a video of the performance on Twitter, with the caption: “This is what #blackexcellence looks like.” It has since garnered major attention, with thousands of likes, comments, and retweets—including responses from Missy Elliot and fellow gymnasts Katelyn Ohashi and Simone Biles.
“This routine definitely reflects everything that I am today as a woman, and of course I had to incorporate a lot of parts of my culture,” Dennis commented on her remarkable performance. “I wanted to have a dance party because that’s my personality, and of course I had to shout out LA because we out here, UCLA.”
Several people couldn’t help celebrating the gymnast, including Missy Elliot, Katelyn Ohashi, and Simone Biles.
And the gifted gymnast has definitely taken notice.