All Articles Tagged "Gabby Douglas"
Are things changing in the advertising world? Just last year many complained of the lack of advertising targeting the African-American community. Now comes news that two new major campaigns have hired black women as spokespeople, reports Target Market News.
Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas has been tapped by McDonald’s to promote its newest menu addition — the egg-white breakfast sandwich, an addition that aims to counter some of the healthy eating complaints the company has come up against. Rather than being featured in ads, Douglas will promote the new breakfast item at the restaurant chain’s events. (Total aside, Gabby’s on TODAY this morning talking about her new book and getting back to the gym.)
By utilizing Douglas, McDonald’s also hopes to increase spending by blacks at the chain. According to The Buying Power of Black America, of the $22.4 billion all black households spent eating out in 2011, more than 11% ($2.6 billion) was spent on breakfast meals. This was an increase of 9% from 2010.
And home furnishings giant Simmons Bedding Company has hired Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American female astronaut, to be part of a major forthcoming ad campaign. We recently spoke with Jemison at SXSW about leading the 100 Year Starship project , which will focus on sending and sustaining humans in interstellar space travel within the next 100 years.
Jemison may seem like an odd choice for a mattress company, but the campaign will mark the first national television advertising endeavor for a line of bedding, the Comforpedic line from Beautyrest, a “memory foam” bed for “those in the know,” Target Market News says.
According to Target Market News, it is a smart move for the company to use Jemison. Once again quoting the Buying Power of Black America report, black homes spent $4.6 billion on furniture in 2011, with $846 million spent on mattresses and box springs.
Popularity And “Pretty” Contest: How Does Olympic Boxer Claressa Shields Win Gold But Not Receive One Endorsement?
In her eight-year boxing career, Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields has never lost a single match and yet she still gets no respect. From Mother Jones:
“Maybe you remember Claressa “T-Rex” Shields: At 17, she was the youngest boxer in last summer’s Olympics, the first games to ever let women spar. Aggressive, spunky, and intensely focused, she trounced a Russian opponent twice her age in the finals to return home to Flint, Michigan, with a gold medal. “I wrapped it around my hand when I went to sleep,” Shields says. “I had this fear that when I woke up the medal was going to be silver.” Yet unlike fellow gold medalist Gabby Douglas, the teen gymnast who is expected to rake in $8-$12 million from sponsorships, Shields has received no national endorsement deals (though a local car lot gave her a custom black and gold Camaro). “I think because women’s boxing is new, I guess,” she says. “I don’t really know.”
If you have missed seeing Shields fight at the Olympics – or anywhere else for that matter- please stop reading right now and go search YouTube for some of her previous performances. The girl is phenomenal. And no shade to Gabby Douglas, but while we were, and still continue to, celebrate one little black girl’s historic achievements in one sport, we totally forgot about another black teen girl, about the same age as Douglas, who too made history at the Olympics. Not only is she the first African-American woman to win gold in boxing, but the first woman, period. Like Douglas, she too has an equally compelling story about adversity and triumph, including being both a black youth from inner city Detroit and a survivor of sexual assault. But yet and still you tell me that Shields has not been asked to cover one Wheaties box? Not to sound like an alarmist, but I really do believe that it is a national embarrassment that this young gladiator, who has worked hard, and with success, in service of our country is not reaping the financial benefits.
As Shields humbly said in the Mother Jones article, women’s Olympic boxing is pretty new, which might explain her lack of endorsements, however, but at least one boxer has managed to capture the attention of corporate America. Fellow women’s boxer and 2016 Olympic hopeful Mikaela Mayer recently became Dr. Pepper’s official spokesperson. In the soft drink’s television commercial, Mayer, who prior to boxing used to work as a full-time model says, “Millions of girls are told they’re pretty, but not many end up becoming a model. And even fewer decide to put their face in front of someone who wants to rearrange it. And now, instead of fighting for a cover shot, I’m Mikaela Mayer and I’m one of a kind.” Indeed, Mayer is one of a kind. Not only is she a beautiful former model but she is also a serious contender in the women’s boxing world. According to Team USA.org, Mayer has a laundry list of boxing achievements including being the 2011 National Golden Gloves Champion, being a gold medalist at the 2012 AMBC Continental Championships, and holding a bronze medal at the 2012 AIBA World Championships.
But despite the impressive resume and pretty much being favored to win a spot on the US Women’s boxing team, her bronze medal at the 2012 AIBA ended her bid to compete in the first Olympic boxing competition for women. Guess who did make the squad in 2012? Shields. And she won a gold medal. According to the Mother Jones article, Shield is currently training for not only the USA Boxing National Championship but the Rio Olympics in 2016, where she will be defending her current world title. She is also preparing for college. To borrow words from Mayer and Dr. Pepper, I definitely think that makes Shields “one of a kind.” But to simply bypass the first champion of an inaugural Olympic sport in favor of another athlete, who while accomplished, has not proven herself at the level of Shields, is bewildering to me. I mean, would you do a television commercial with the runner up of the Miss America beauty pageant? I think not.
We’ve seen this scenario played out many times before in women’s sports. If you’ll recall, during the 2012 Olympic games, Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells, silver and bronze medalists spoke openly about having their stories trampled over while the media hype machine favored Lolo Jones, who only placed fourth at the Olympic hurdles race. In an interview with NBC Sports, Harper said this of the virgin/model/sprinter:
“I feel I had a pretty good story — knee surgery two months before Olympic trials in 2008, to make the team but 0.007, not have a contract … working three jobs, living in a frat house, trying to make it work. Coming off running in someone else’s shoes getting the gold medal. Uhhh, I’d say I was pretty interesting. Coming from East St. Louis…I just felt as if I worked really hard to represent my country in the best way possible, and to come way with the gold medal, and to honestly seem as if, because their favorite didn’t win all of sudden it’s just like, ‘Were going to push your story aside, and still gonna push this one.’ That hurt. It did. It hurt my feelings. But I feel as if I showed I can deal with the pressure, I came back, and I think you kinda got to respect it a little bit now.”
Harper and Wells thought their medals would earn them respect, but instead they were labeled and dismissed as haters. And that’s a pity considering that they had a legitimate point: It takes a considerable amount of dedication and sacrifice in order to rise to the level of Olympic athlete. Harper was not lying when she said she lived in a frat house – it was the only thing that she and her husband, who too is an Olympic athlete, could afford while training full-time for the 2008 games in which she won her gold medal in the 100-meter hurdles. So I can imagine that for athletes like Harper, who have reached the highest degree, an Olympic gold should warrant a few chances to recuperate, if not profit, off of all the time, energy, physical health and personal money you put into this mission. From a personal perspective, I can’t imagine slaving away on a project at work and have my supervisor come along and give accolades to another employee, who didn’t carry the project to fruition, all because my boss likes him/her better.
It is kind of depressing that even in the world of women’s sports – a place that implies some sort of exclusion from sexist influence – standard troupes of femininity, over skill and accomplishments, still matter in what is marketable. Not only are athletes like Shields, Harper and Wells being shut out of opportunities to capitalize off of their hardwork, but athletes like Mayer, Jones and in some respects, Gabby Douglas are being paraded around by both the media and corporate advertising as some sort of poster children for what a female athlete is supposed to look like. And that suggests to me that the general public still can not fully take women in sports seriously. I mean, how can we celebrate these women for breaking barriers and making history in the world of sports while using the other hand to reinforce subtle messages that your personal appeal, more than likely physical, will always trump your talent?
Olympic gold medalist Gabrielle Douglas isn’t taking any time off. She has been on a hectic schedule since the Olympic Games in 2012. Besides all the interviews she published her memoirs. Now she has announced she is set to publish a second memoir—yes, part two.
Though not yet 18, she still has lots to talk about it seems, and her second memoir will hit the stores next month, according to publisher Zondervan (via Yahoo).
The 17-year-old, who was a gold medalist in both the team and individual all-around gymnastics competitions, will publish Raising the Bar, the follow-up to her 2012 best-selling memoir Grace, Gold & Glory: My Leap of Faith, on April 30. That book debuted at number four on The New York Times Young Adult Bestseller List.
This time around, she is taking readers behind-the-scenes look into her life, including color photos, personal stories, and details on the athlete’s present-day life — from walking red carpets and appearing on TV shows such as The Vampire Diaries while also juggling friends, family, and training.
Obviously, it’s not the life of the typical teen. But it will give some insight, says the publisher, into the dedication and responsibilities of an athlete of Douglas’s caliber. Douglas was recently named Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press.
Douglas began training at age six and made history last year when she became the first U.S. gymnast to take home a team and an individual gold medal in the same games. And she was first African-American to win the individual gold.
In honor of Black History Month, MadameNoire is sending a daily salute to the African American women who inspire us every day of the year. Today we’re recognizing the black women athletes who make us proud everywhere from the tennis courts to the track, the balance beams, and the swimming pool.
Venus and Serena Williams
Venus and Serena Williams took the tennis world by storm when the two brown girls from Compton with braid and beads showed up on the courts and dominated their opponents. Venus has been ranked World No. 1 in singles by the Women’s Tennis Association on three separate occasions, and when she was named so in 2002 for the first time, she became the first African American woman to achieve be given then title during the Open Era. Venus is also a four-time Olympic gold medalist and as of February 2013, is ranked number 22 in the world in singles.
Like her big sister, Serena has also ranked up a number of World No. 1 rankings — five to be exact since July 2002. Serena is the only female player to have won over $40 million in prize money and she is regardedas one of the greatest tennis players of all time, having won 30 Grand Slam titles and four Olympic Gold medals.
The morning following last month’s presidential inauguration, you may have scrolled through your Facebook feed only to find the above collage with a caption that read, “Based solely on historical contributions, should Jay and Bey be in this collage?” Call me a progressive-thinker, or maybe it’s because I spend a majority of my days with teens who have to explain to me what words like “trappin’” and “ratchet” mean, but I found myself wondering, “Why wouldn’t they be?” Meanwhile, co-workers and Facebookers truly surprised me with responses like, “They haven’t broken any racial barriers or anything,” and “Beyoncé and Barack don’t even belong in the same category.”
I beg to differ. And the question then becomes, what does it take to be considered “black history”? The significant contributions of those that today’s youth identify with may not be sit-ins for social change or marches breaking racial barriers, but does that make them any less a part of our culture? Yesterday’s Jackie Robinsons are today’s Jay-Zs in their eyes. When you think of black history, American entertainers and famous figures of today could be considered the black history of this generation’s tomorrow. If this is a collage about social change and politics, then maybe Bey and Jay should have a seat. But if we want to talk about African Americans who have made significant contributions to our culture, yes, they are in the same category as our POTUS and FLOTUS. They’ve built brands and businesses and broken records. Barack, Beyoncé and Booker T. Washington have more in common than you think: they’ve all made history and opened many a door.
Just hear me out. I definitely agree our generation is plagued by a frightening disconnect between sacrifices of yesterday’s leaders that are responsible for so many of the opportunities we often take for granted today. One of the reasons why I fell in love with President Obama’s message and mission is because I feel like he truly understands what so many of us fail to grasp: In order to make our youth understand and value the opportunities that have been presented to them, we have to meet them where they are at. How can we expect young people to truly appreciate their history and culture if we fail to acknowledge the idols who have made history during their lifetimes? President Obama got it right when he invited Jay-Z to do a voice over for his campaign ads. One of the reasons why his election was so greatly affected by the high number of young voters was because he understood that they would never hear his message for change if they felt he was someone who couldn’t understand their voice as well.
Let’s be honest, when black history month rolled around, for 28 days throughout our childhoods we saw the same names in rotation: Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Rosa Parks and George Washington Carver, aka, “The Peanut Guy.” And while I could appreciate the paths they had paved, a part of me couldn’t truly identify with their struggle. “You have to know where you came from to know where you’re going,” sounded profound and all, but it’s only as an adult that I’m starting to realize how heavily our present successes rest on the shoulders of our history. When I was in ninth grade, all I cared about was making sure my Timberland sign showed on my boots. I cared more about what I was wearing to school as opposed to the fact the ancestors lost their lives so that I could even attend. When trying to relate anything to our young people from black history to birth control, you have to speak in their language and become familiar with what is important to them before you can attempt to teach what SHOULD be important to them. Acknowledging the contributions to our culture that today’s leaders in entertainment, politics and sports bring to the table doesn’t diminish or throw shade on the foundation that was built from those who fought and died for the belief in something better. We have to do more than throw on the Roots anthology and repeat, “People have died for the rights you take for granted.” We have to find a way to make it relate to the things they are going through today.
Closing that gap requires us to challenge our stagnant way of thinking that says that black history is something that began and ended and acknowledge it as an ongoing process that only continues to grow greater. And as with any culture, that means accepting it in its totality and not just picking the parts we’re personally proud of. What we shouldn’t do is make black history some outdated, pretentious social club that those born before 1960 have the monopoly on and act as though black history isn’t accepting any new members.
Before talking about how Sidney Poitier was the first African American to win an Academy award, try mentioning the fact that Tyler Perry is the first African American ever to launch his own major TV and film studio. Can we show the same love that we showed Jackie Joyner Kersee and Wilma Rudolph, to Serena Williams and Gabby Douglas? Maybe, just maybe, our kids will talk about Alicia Keys like we once talked about Aretha Franklin. And before catching feelings over the bible Barack Obama is using, take a few minutes to consider the fact that we have lived to see our first black president. There’s surely enough pride to go around. The fact that our leaders of yesterday have leaders of today to help bear the burden of uplifting our culture is not a threat but a credit to all of their sacrifices. And although we may not want our kids breaking out at the black history recital with a rendition of “Single Ladies,” it’s as much a part of our culture as “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Like it or not.
How do you define black history?
Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog Bullets and Blessings .
She Makes Us Proud: Gabby Douglas To Be Featured In Smithsonian’s Museum of African American History And Culture
Just last year, 16-year-old Gabrielle Douglas won our hearts, in addition to winning gold medals in the team all-around and the individual all-around gymnastics competitions during the Summer 2012 Olympics. She made history as the first African American woman to win the individual all-around event and now, she’s preserving that history. The now 17-year-old Olympic gold medalist has chosen to donate some of her Olympic items to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C., reports the Associated Press.
Among the items that she will be donating will be the leotard that she wore during her premiere competitive season in 2003, her Olympic credentials, as well as the wrist tape and bar grips that she wore during the 2012 Olympics. In addition to her items, she will be donating the ticket her mother used to get into the event and candid photographs.
The items will be put on display Friday at the National Museum of American History and will reappear at their final destination, which is the National Museum of African American History and Culture when it opens to the public in 2015.
The news comes just after the Virginia native appeared at the 2013 Screen Actors Guild awards in Los Angeles, looking absolutely stunning in a purple David Meister Signature dress. She attended as People Magazine’s special invited guest.
“Thank you @peoplemag for an incredible night at the SAG Awards!” she tweeted.
It’s really cool that she has decided to donate those items to the museum as opposed to hoarding them for herself, which she’d be totally justified in doing. It seems that the sky is truly the limit for Gabby. We’re very happy for the young Olympian and even more excited that she continues to be recognized. We can’t wait to see what she will accomplish next!
Jazmine Denise is a news writer for Madame Noire. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise
Photo courtesy of WENN
While most folks will be ending the year, reminiscing about the most important stories of the year, I want to draw attention – again- to what I believe is, hands down, the dumbest “major” news story to come out of 2012: The stir-up over Gabby Douglas’ hair.
Seriously, the girl flipped, straddled and somersaulted her way to individual Olympic gold, becoming the first Black woman to do so in history, yet for months the nation, particularly Black America, was gripped by the “harrowing” tale of 16 year old Douglas’ ponytail and rough edges. If you were like me, you didn’t care one way or the other about her hair or whoever had something to say about it. However, after the umpteenth time seeing it in your newsfeed, or having it show up in your inbox or being asked about in in casual conversation while at lunch, you were forced to have an opinion.
No less than five people asked me my thoughts on the Douglas “hair controversy,” including my 82-year old grandmother, who said she heard about the story while watching one of her entertainment gossip shows. She thought that “they” should leave that girl alone. Who the “they” was, she didn’t know. And fact, nobody really knew. But eventually major news sites grabbed the baton from gossip blogs and began publishing various articles and columns, not only lambasting these nameless hair detractors but also tie this hair “controversy” into a much bigger conversation on black women and natural hair. Even Douglas, who was still in the midst of competing at the Olympics, was forced to break focus and address these nameless hair detractors.
Likewise, there was a lot of self righteous hair-dignation in the Black blogosphere and Twitterverse. Memes and long diatribes via Facebook, expressing opinions from both sides of the “controversy” did little but to fuel what was an already simmering beef between #teamNatural and #teamWeaveandPerm. At one point my Facebook news feed began to look like Madame Re-Re’s Beauty Salon from Spike Lee’s School Daze. And after a while, the Douglas name stopped being spoken about in reference to this newly christened moment in black history but instead, she became the poster child for some very complex themes, which at times felt a lot more deeper-rooted than a discussion about hair.
According to this story from earlier this year in Ebony, “The story can be traced back to one blog post, quoting all three disparaging comments, that Jezebel slapped a few more tweets on as proof of a trend. Everyone from NPR and LA Times has since weighed in, all seemingly basing their analysis on the Jezebel piece and a small sampling of tweets. Outlets have specifically searched for negative tweets about Gabby, probably ignoring more celebratory tweets. We should question whether the coverage reflects an actual trend, or confirmation bias creating a news story out of a few isolated fools being mean on the internet. It’s possible that the real viral story is the original piece and the media furor it’s spawned. “
I agree that media outlets played a major role in why this story had legs. However there is also something to be said about why a story that amounted to pure “gossip” on Twitter had resonated so much, with so many people, to the point of going viral for months? Does our public discourse on Gabby’s hair change the fact that she is a gold winning gymnast? Of course, we all know that Gabby didn’t need our praise or accolades to win the medal. Heck, most folks had no idea who she was until after she won the gold. But it is just a shame that her name and her history making Olympic win now has an *asterisk next to it. And probably for the rest of her life, she will always have to answer questions about her hair.
As we prepare to put 2012 behind us, it’s only fitting that we take some time to look back at some of the highlights of the past year when it comes to our favorite celebrities. While it’s easy to focus on the negative when it comes to bankruptcies, deaths, and ratchetry (is that even a word?), let us instead take you back to review celebrity success stories as we bring in the new year.
In MN’s Year In Review, we’re counting down our top stories as well as the biggest moments in television, music, movies, and news.
Sometimes we’re so bombarded with sad news and negativity about celebrities that it gets a little draining, so instead of talking about the bad stuff, we decided to try to find 9 successes from celebrities that occurred in 2012. We’re not going to lie, it was hard, but we think we found some good ones to make you smile, so let’s get to it!
President Obama has a chance to reclaim his title as TIME‘s Person of the Year this December but he has some interesting competition, particularly when it comes to black nominees. Both Gabby Douglas and Jay-Z are up for the annual honor as well. Surprising right? Well, Gabby not so much considering she’s become America’s darling since the summer Olympics. As TIME put it:
When she flipped and tumbled her way to two gold medals at the London Olympic Games, 16-year-old Gabby Douglas checked off a number of firsts: she became the first U.S. gymnast to win both the all-around and team golds in a single Games and the first African-American gymnast to win the Olympic all-around title.
This has arguably been Jay-Z’s best year ever as well though, TIME notes:
The rapper Jay-Z, 42, started the year off strong — with the January birth of Blue Ivy Carter, his daughter with wife Beyoncé Knowles — and never lost momentum, whether he was starting his own musical festival (Philadelphia’s Made in America fest), performing eight sold-out shows to mark the opening of his hometown Brooklyn’s new Barclays Center arena (where the Nets, the basketball team of which he’s a part owner, also play) or (reportedly) buying a generator to keep the lights on for his neighbors affected by Hurricane Sandy. But in 2012, Hova also made his mark on a larger scale: as one of the highest-profile surrogates for President Obama’s re-election campaign — he even remixed his hit single to include the words “I got 99 problems, but Mitt ain’t one” at a Columbus, Ohio, rally — he changed what it could mean for celebrities and politicians to work together.
Unfortunately for him, it doesn’t appear many TIME readers agree. Preliminary voting results show about 7,000 people could see him snagging the title, as opposed to 60,000 who say “no way.” Gabby’s odds are about 22,000 for and 41,000 against, while 45,000 are in favor of Barack Obama, who earned the title in 2008, and 59,000 say nay.
Of all of the nominees, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy has the best chance of winning the title this year. Morsy had a historic victory this summer when he won the presidential election as part of the Muslim Brotherhood which was once outlawed in his country. Other front runners at the time include Kim Jung On, Malala Yousafzai, Stephen Colbert, Bashar Assad, and Psy, yes that is the man behind the K-pop hit song Gangnam style.
Check out the full list of nominees here. Who’s your pick?