UCLA gymnast Nia Dennis paid homage to Black culture with her stellar floor routine that has since gone viral amid rave reviews and admiration from Missy Elliot and fellow gymnast and Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles.
The video, posted by UCLA’s official Twitter handle, has garnered more than 5 million views with over eleven thousand retweets. She is seen graciously moving to the tunes of Beyonce, Tupac Shakur, Missy Elliott, Soulja Boy and Megan Thee Stallion.
— UCLA Gymnastics (@uclagymnastics) January 24, 2021
Missy Elliot was probably short of words as she tweeted; “snappin” on the social platform. Whiles the four-time Olympic champion could not get enough of the enough.”
Dennis chose to have a “dance party” on the floor because it speaks to her personality and she certainly sprinkled a lot of culture on it, celebrating who she is as a Black woman with her signature crown pose and raising her fist for ‘the Black Power salute’ which she explains is in solidarity to the Black Lives Matter movement.
“This routine definitely reflects everything that I am today as a woman,” Dennis told the Los Angeles Daily News, “and of course I had to incorporate a lot of parts of my culture. 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.”
Dennis is seen stepping in the corner of the floor and she noted that it was an ode to her father, Casey, a former fraternity boy in college. “He was in fraternities, and stepping is really big,” she said.
The UCLA senior, who is majoring in sociology, aspires to be a physical therapist and her killer moves hit home for the judges on Saturday who almost gave her a perfect score. She walked away with a score of 9.95 out of 10 and a win over the Arizona State Sun Devils in this season opener for both teams.
This is not the first time the Los Angeles native has become an internet sensation. Last year, she paid homage to Beyoncé dancing to “Crazy In Love,” “Lose My Breath,” and “Ego” for the floor routine, earning her a 9.975 out of 10 because the judges were ‘crazy in love’ with her performance.
After competing on the road, @DennisNia had an unforgettable “Homecoming” performance in Westwood last weekend. 👑🥁
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) February 27, 2020