Shield Naomi Osaka in any respect prices. Most individuals won’t ever know what it is prefer to be a 23-year-old sports title winner. To be thrown into the highlight after beating your idol on a world stage. Many people won’t ever battle the duality of maturing within the public eye whereas defending our youth and discovering our footing as a formidable Black lady in a world that tends to reduce our potential. However that is Naomi Osaka’s world.
In Naomi Osaka, the three-part Netflix documentary govt produced by LeBron James and Maverick Carter (now streaming), viewers get to see the tennis star navigate stardom following her 2018 win on the U.S. Open. (She was 20 on the time.) If nothing else, the deeply introspective movie explains Osaka’s latest resolution to withdraw from the French Open however principally it humanizes her existence as a 23-year-old younger grownup, first, and an internationally recognized titleholder second. Osaka is way more than her wins and losses, her post-game interviews, and her headline-making selections. She is a younger lady working via inner and exterior pressures, and he or she’s doing it with the sort of grace that far exceeds her years.
Whether or not you’re a tennis fan or not, what is going to doubtless resonate with viewers is Osaka’s vulnerability in expressing her fears and anxieties. Self-doubt is a frightening challenger for anyone, and in Naomi Osaka’s world it’s doubtless her biggest but. However to be clear, the doc isn’t a somber story of what goes flawed when stardom hits, however extra of a mild reminder that public figures aren’t merely what we see on the floor.
Whereas a lot of the movie does revolve round Osaka’s time on the courtroom, it’s additionally good to see the star athlete along with her boyfriend, spending high quality time along with her sister and fogeys, and exploring her curiosity in vogue. Past wielding her racket, she is coming into her personal as a canopy lady and clothes designer. She’s additionally discovering her id in a world that typically asks her to decide on.
Although race isn’t a central theme within the movie, it’s laborious to disregard the affect tradition has had on her younger life. Her father is from Haiti and her mom from Japan. She lives in america however was born within the East Asian nation that she now represents. She shouldn’t have to choose a singular id or pledge sole allegiance to a specific ethnicity or nationality, however she’s typically requested to. And although she does a adequate job on her personal explaining her decision to her detractors, I want, for her, that defending who she is wasn’t a burden she has to hold. She’s entitled to face with Black Lives Matter and nonetheless play for the nation that birthed her. She’s allowed to arrange a tennis basis in Haiti whereas nonetheless posing for the duvet of a Japanese shiny. This movie uncovers simply how deep her duality goes, and it’s fairly stunning to see.
As a girl greater than 10 years Osaka’s senior, I spent two hours watching this documentary on an emotional journey. It’s laborious to not root for her achievements, have fun her private highs, and need to attain out with open arms throughout these moments when her self-confidence falters. However that’s precisely what makes this movie price watching. In a really MTV Diary method, it will get you as near the tennis star as most individuals will ever get. And on the finish of all of it, you merely need her to win.
Tanya Christian is a author and editor based mostly in New York Metropolis. Observe her on Twitter @tanyaachristian.