Remember that cute as buttons little Black girl actor for the role of the gymnast little sister that the casting crew for Twisted just seemed they couldn’t find – or even bother to cast? I wrote about it my Invisible Girl: Twisted Sister post. Where I also harked upon the wasted opportunity to show a young Black girl going for her dreams – or at the very least having fun – in the same sport as Gabby Douglas, just like Gabby.
I introduce to you Sydney Mikayla who played young Gabrielle aka “Breezy” in the Lifetime biopic The Gabby Douglas Story that I just finished watching:
OMG! a cute as buttons little Black girl actor to play a gymnast on TV! Who knew?? WHERE on Earth did they find her??? OMG!! By the way Sydney was absolutely great in her role. If you got Netflix you can watch the biopic on Instant Watch.
I loved the film even if it was served up with the usual Lifetime dose of saccharine; But it got the basic job done and featured such fabulous POC actors as Regina King, S. Epatha Merkerson and the always Hella Fine Brian Tee. Please Click Here for the rest of the cast in other info on the movie.
I read a review on this film that said it was white-washed – meaning it didn’t really talk at all about the racism, discrimination and other racially induced stresses and hardships that Gabby went through on her journey to Olympic gold. From her fellow camp mates, even her Olympic team mates, to the media/press and social media.
Well, I’m ok with that for the most part, in this case, because I was watching the camera work – which I believe was done purposefully – and it kept showing how glaringly white the world of gymnastics is. You could see it from the panning shots portraying each gymnastic camp Gabby went to, where every single other gymnast was white, to the panning shots of the crowd at her competitions – same thing. You’d have to be pretty oblivious not to notice the side by side contrasts.
Gabby always the lone Black girl in the training camps, Gabby’s family quite noticeable in the sea of white cheering faces.
So I thought, while they did chicken out of actually even really tackling the subject, they didn’t avoid it completely. And hey, it is after all a Lifetime Movie. I kept that in mind as I was watching.
I’ve also trained, participated and competed in glaringly white sports myself, so I already know the drill – Gymnastics, Swimming, Tennis, Soccer, Ballet—been there done that, bought the tee shirt, so I already knew what time it was. Also, we as Black people know the Basic Drill In General, and can easily imagine what kind of things she went through.
And despite ALL of that and enduring so much of the same crap WHILE she was competing, at the London 2012 Games:
Gabby Douglas became THE FIRST U.S. gymnast to win both the Team and All-Around gold medals in the same Olympics.
I’d also like to note something that they always seemed to leave out when they reported on the Team Win. Gabby pretty much carried the whole team. She was the only one on the team who competed in ALL four areas – beam, floor, vault and bars – she racked up seriously high numbers in each and swept the US Team on to victory.
So while the news and the state of the world has been getting me down of late, it was really great to watch a nice feelgood movie telling about a wonderful Olympic Dream coming True.
Gabby is such an inspiration, and she’s one of my personal heroes. Watch the movie, take a break from all the madness and shout, cheer, laugh and cry happy tears and feel great, even if it’s only for an hour and a half.
The Gabrielle Douglas Website. You’re welcome ;)