BLACK VOICES

UCLA Gymnast Nia Dennis' Viral Floor Routine Was An Ode To Black Culture

“I had to... for the culture,” the college senior wrote about her electric performance.
UCLA gymnast Nia Dennis competes in the balance beam against Arizona State on Saturday.
UCLA gymnast Nia Dennis competes in the balance beam against Arizona State on Saturday.

UCLA gymnast Nia Dennis celebrated Black culture in a floor routine performance over the weekend that has the internet doing flips.

The senior’s celebrated routine from Saturday’s competition in Los Angeles kicked off with Kendrick Lamar’s song “Humble.” The rest of her routine featured a mashup of music by a number of Black artists, including Missy Elliott, Soulja Boy and Tupac. 

Dennis’ electric floor exercise and dance, which earned her a score of 9.950 out of a possible 10, also included nods to California Black culture and to historically Black Greek-lettered sororities and fraternities.

Her routine clinched UCLA’s win over Arizona State University (196.150 - 195.950). She also won a vault event earlier in Saturday’s competition. 

Dennis posted a clip of her floor routine on Instagram on Monday.

“I had to... for the culture,” she wrote, adding a shout-out to Black Greek-lettered organizations.

Clips of Dennis’ performance have drawn wide praise on Twitter, including an acknowledgment from Olympic champion gymnast Simone Biles, who tweeted: “Do the damn thing girl.”

“This was so fun to watch! Keep killing it!” Biles added. 

Saturday wasn’t the first time Dennis’ gymnastic skills garnered wide praise. 

Last year, her lively floor routine featuring a compilation of Beyoncé songs made rounds on the internet, and even landed her an invitation to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.