Most of my experiences have unfolded within the realm of a predominantly white sport. As of 2008, USA Gymnastics has consisted of 6.6% black participating athletes. My work reflects on my experiences as a Junior Olympic athlete as well as a Division I collegiate student-athlete. While racism is experienced throughout all faucets of life, gymnastics has provided a filter through which I have experienced numerous cases of subjugation and belittlement. What strikes me most is my willingness to engage a complicated relationship with the sport because of my competitive nature, an upbringing through which goal-setting and dedication was emphasized, and my love of a gymnastics. I have no doubt that I have had to compromise who I am (physically and emotionally) more than athletes of other racial backgrounds (read white) in order to succeed within the sport. I aim to magnify the struggles I have with identifying as a Black woman while constantly being surrounded by representations of whiteness as the ideal gymnastic figure. Through performance-based video pieces, I reference my Black heritage in order to illustrate the tension between being an elite athlete while maintaining my black identity. This body of work emphasizes the complex relationship I have with my teammates, my Black coach, and how I maintain myself in a world where black is not a “Perfect 10”.
 

Perfect 10