On Tuesday, Obama joined countless people on social media who have raved over Dennis’s skills after clips of her floor routine from Saturday’s competition in Los Angeles went viral online.
“Now that’s what I call fierce!” Obama tweeted. “You’re a star, @DennisNia!”
Dennis responded by posting that she was “speechless” over the “Becoming” author’s praise.
“Thank you queen,” she added.
Dennis helped her school’s team clinch a win over Arizona State University after her floor routine earned her a score of 9.950 out of a possible 10. Her performance, which featured music by Kendrick Lamar, Tupac and Missy Elliott, was a celebration of Black culture, she said.
And Dennis keeps winning.
Her floor routine caught the attention of a number of prominent music artists and celebrities who have all praised Dennis on Twitter, including Missy Elliott, Common, Janet Jackson and Kerry Washington.
“You Love to see it! Great work @DennisNia!” Common tweeted.
Dennis posted a clip of her reaction to reading Obama’s message in an Instagram Story on Tuesday.
“My forever first lady,” she wrote in the caption.
The gymnast told The Lily in an article published Tuesday that her intention to spotlight Black culture in her now-viral routine was inspired by Black Lives Matter protests. Uprisings across the U.S. erupted over the summer after the police killings of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, and George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“This summer, I had shoulder surgery so I wasn’t going out,” she said. “I was trying to heal, trying to prepare for the season. But I was definitely out there in spirit.”
“Every single song is a major Black artist, musician, from different time periods,” Dennis said elsewhere in the interview. “They had a huge impact on Black culture, which has also had a huge impact on me. So I’m just literally celebrating what they’ve done and having the time of my life.”