21 Black Women Who Stayed Hydrated And About Their Business In 2021

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2021 Australian Open: Day 13

Source: Darrian Traynor / Getty

Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka was one of 2021’s most talked-about athletes — if not the year’s most influential.

The tennis champion won her fourth Grand Slam in February, and later rocked the sports world with her choice to refuse to do press engagements at this year’s French Open for the sake of her mental health in May.

Taking a stand against the undiscussed pressures athletes face, Osaka grew in her role as a mental health advocate as she withdrew from several international matches and influenced other athletes to put themselves first.

RELATED CONTENT: “I Wish Working Black Women Could Prioritize Themselves Like Naomi Osaka”

Despite the criticism she faced, Osaka still received accolades and recognition. Her Barbie sold out in hours and her self-titled three-part Netflix docuseries was a success. She carried the Olympic torch, lit the Cauldron at this year’s Opening Ceremony and won the “Best Athlete in Women’s Sports” at the ESPYs.

The tennis champion also covered both the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition and Vogue Japan while launching a skincare line named KINLÖ and partnering with Panasonic.

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