Culture Feature

Is Naomi Osaka a Real-Life Disney Princess?

The young tennis superstar demonstrated her gentle touch with a butterfly at the Australian Open.

On Friday, Japanese tennis superstar Naomi Osaka paused during a match with Tunisia's Ons Jabeur at the Australian Open to escort a butterfly that had landed on her leg safely to the sidelines.

After a fan called out to inform Osaka of her fluttering companion, she dropped what she was doing -- i.e. playing a highly competitive match against one of the other top-ranked Tennis players in the world -- and gently scooped up the butterfly to carry it out of harm's way. But the butterfly wasn't done with it's new friend, flying up to give her some literal butterfly kisses on the nose and cheek.

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It's Not about Race: Colorism in Hollywood

Will Smith's latest project sparks debate about colorism in Hollywood, but let's break down the differences between colorism and racism.

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith at the 'Aladdin' World Premiere

Photo by DFree (Shutterstock)

King Richard is an upcoming biopic highlighting society's time-honored traditions of competitive sports, underdog victories, and discrimination based on skin color—wait, what?

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Frontpage Popular News

Cartoon of Serena Williams Blasted as Sexist and Racist

Australian Cartoonist "Interprets" the Athlete at the Open…Criticism Ensues

You may have watched or heard about the recent upset at the U.S. Open.

Tennis ace Serena Williams was competing against Japan's Naomi Osaka in the finals. The umpire called out Williams for "cheating" since her coach was gesturing to her from the stands. Williams denied any wrongdoing, saying she wasn't even aware of his motions, and demanded an apology, which erupted into an argument, leading to three code violations. One for the supposed signals, another for calling said umpire a "thief," and the third for busting her racket on the hard court. She was hit with fines to the tune of $17,000.

Williams didn't win. Not only the match, but the vindication she was after. She claimed she has never cheated a day in her life. Not to mention, many feel she was treated differently than a male in her position would be. We've seen men lose their temper time and time again in tennis (as well as other sports), and they're considered "passionate" or "persistent." We expect grunts, growls, and for them to get into it with umpires and refs, coaches and contestants.

Tennis icon Billie Jean King tweeted a similar sentiment after the recent incident. "When a woman is emotional, she's 'hysterical' and she's penalized for it. When a man does the same, he's 'outspoken' & and there are no repercussions. Thank you, Serena Williams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same."

As for Williams, she declared, "I'm here fighting for women's rights and for women's equality and for all kinds of stuff. For me to say 'thief' and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark. He's never taken a game from a man because they said 'thief.' For me it blows my mind. But I'm going to continue to fight for women."

Andy Roddick (retired tennis player) even tweeted, "I've regrettably said worse and I've never gotten a game penalty." Perhaps it's because he wasn't wearing a catsuit or a tutu.

To add insult to injury, in comes Australian cartoonist Mark Knight. His cartoon was published in the Herald Sun, "Australia's most-read newspaper," according to BBC News. It is getting a ton of backlash due to what is being called racist. As described by DW, "The cartoon depicts a fat-lipped, large-nosed Williams jumping on her tennis racket, with a baby pacifier nearby — perhaps referencing her status as a new mother or the artist's interpretation of her behavior on the court. In the background, the umpire leans over to a women ostensibly depicting tournament-winner Naomi Osaka — who is of Haitian-Japanese descent, although the cartoonist gave her long, blonde hair — asking: 'Can you just let her win?'"

Take a look and decide for yourself.

As per BBC News, "The cartoonist denied it was racist, saying he had intended to depict only the tennis player's 'poor behavior'." And the Herald Sun's editor, Damon Johnston, stands by Knight's work.

Folks are fuming over this cartoon, sharing their outrage on social media. They feel the entire premise of the picture is riddled with racism. And The National Association of Black Journalists considers the cartoon "repugnant on many levels." "[It] not only exudes racist, sexist caricatures, but Williams' depiction is unnecessarily sambo-like." In addition, "The Washington Post ran a column about the cartoon, saying it resembled caricatures circulated widely during decades of racial segregation in the US," notes DW.

Perhaps racism was the furthest thing from Knight's mind. Maybe he's simply tone deaf to something others believe so clearly reeks of racism. Or it could be he was craving some off-court controversy. Will Williams' keep on keeping on. Of course. She's stronger than a sketch. But the idea that this dark depiction is casting a cloud over not only Williams but Osaka, who should be delighting in defeating a champion, is a shame. Looks like Knight's the one causing a racket.

Melissa A. Kay is a New York-based writer, editor, and content strategist. Follow her work on Popdust as well as sites including TopDust, Chase Bank, P&G,, The Richest, GearBrain, The Journiest, Bella, TrueSelf, Better Homes & Gardens, AMC Daycare, and more.

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Social Justice or Smart Business Move?

Colin Kaepernick Becomes the New Face of Nike


Joined by Serena Williams, the two make waves in the company's 30th anniversary ads.

Living in NYC, I see ads everywhere — some particular billboards that caught my eye this week were the Nike black and white portraits of Serena Williams and Colin Kaepernick with captions in defiance of racism and prejudice from today's political climate.

It turns out that Nike has chosen Kaepernick and WIlliams to be the faces of their 30th anniversary ads, encouraging viewers to "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything." One of Williams' ads says "Girls from Compton don't play tennis. They own it." The ads seem pretty inspiring on the surface, however, a deeper look will reveal another meaning.

Featuring Kaepernick and Williams is a highly controversial and political move as it directly contradicts Donald Trump's stance and respective Tweets on the matter — it's also kind of a slap in the face for the NFL in general as they attempted to establish a rule in which players would be required to stand for the anthem. The rule itself never passed, but you can probably tell the sentiment and pressure from the President is there.

The whole story all started back in 2016 when Kaepernick was first photographed sitting down during the national anthem. A few days later, he took to the press to discuss his protest against police brutality. A month later, Kaepernick's teammate Eric Reid kneeled with him which prompted Trump to respond that they should both be fired.

It's also a good thing that Nike's on Kaepernick's side now — the NFL player still isn't signed onto any team and this endorsement contract will turn into a multiyear deal that may even include a clothing line.

Serena Williams' story is quite similar — in the past, she's been criticized for crip-walking on the court while a more recent story reported that she couldn't wear her catsuit to the French Open, a piece of clothing that helps her with a medical condition. In her ads, she's shown overcoming the odds.

Responses to these ads — especially Kaepernick's — are definitely mixed. Some people are cutting out the Nike Swoosh from their socks while others are categorizing the ads as a business move. Makes sense as Kaepernick has been in the top 50 players of NFL jersey sales and an icon of the younger generation's protests — Nike's preparing for the future.

The clothing and shoe company might also be dealing with fallout from an earlier scandal — executives have been leaving due to complaints of inappropriate workplace behavior and employees have filed a gender discrimination and harassment lawsuit.

Whatever the reason might be, Kaepernick has definitely made headlines again — maybe this endorsement will get him signed again, but more importantly, bring more awareness to police brutality and protest.

Amber Wang is a freelancer for Popdust and various other sites. She is also a student at NYU, a photographer and intern at the Stonewall Inn National Monument.

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What’s the Racket Regarding Women’s Tennis?

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Can't we keep our eye on the ball?

First it was the French Tennis Federation's bewildering ban on catsuits (during tennis matches, anyhow) after the always stylish and obviously sporty Serena Williams wore a bold black one to a recent match, now it's the crazy code violation against player Alizé Corne for swiftly and modestly flipping her shirt around when she realized it was on backwards during a U.S. Open match in Flushing Meadows, NY. Mind you, she was wearing a sports bra beneath which completely covered anything deemed "inappropriate" by the prudish.

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Tennis superstar Serena Williams has "netted" a nice chunk of change this year, making it her third consecutive year as the highest paid female athlete. From becoming a new mom to consistently killing it on the court, Williams is keeping her cool as she continues to make history.

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