This past summer, in the wake of international protests for Black Lives Matter, companies scrambled to be a part of the conversation, to show that they were “woke” and concerned about the plight of Black folk.
Sadly, many of them missed the mark in terms of allyship and showing up for the Black community.
Thankfully though, after a year some companies have finally identified ways to show up properly.
The Calm App, an application dedicated to wellness through meditation and mindfulness, has offered to pay the fines tennis played Naomi Osaka incurred while she was attempting to protect her mental health by avoiding press interviews.
According to PEOPLE, the company made the announcement on Wednesday that they would pay the fine for any player who opted out of media appearances for the sake of their mental health reasons during the 2021 Grand Slam.
The company said they would match the amount of the fine with a donation to the French youth sports charity Laureus.
As we reported earlier, Osaka stated publicly and privately through a letter to the French Open that she had no plans of conducting post-game interviews because they made her feel anxious and even planted seeds of doubt about her playing ability. Being that she was already anxious before she began playing, she decided to opt out.
On Tuesday, ahead of Calm’s announcement , the French Open vowed to address Osaka’s and other mental health concerns from players.
In a statement, four officials from the French Open, Wimbledon, U.S. Open and Australian Open said this:
“On behalf of the Grand Slams, we wish to offer Naomi Osaka our support and assistance in any way possible as she takes time away from the court. She is an exceptional athlete and we look forward to her return as soon as she deems appropriate. Mental health is a very challenging issue, which deserves our utmost attention. It is both complex and personal, as what affects one individual does not necessarily affect another,” the release continued. “We commend Naomi for sharing in her own words the pressures and anxieties she is feeling and we empathize with the unique pressures tennis players may face.”
Moving forward, the leaders vowed to work with athletes, media and the tennis community as a whole to “to advance mental health and wellbeing through further actions.”
Amazing what can happen when a Black woman advocates for herself.