Soledad O’Brien‘s congratulatory tweet to Haitian-Japanese tennis champ Naomi Osaka left critics reeling after the journalist pointed out that there are now TWO Black women competing in the 2018 US Open finals.
Osaka, who advanced to the finals after defeating American Madison Keys on Thursday, will now face off against 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams. According to the BBC, the 21-year-old, who is of Haitian and Japanese descent, is the first ever Japanese or Haitian woman to reach a grand slam final.
“Message to Serena: ‘I love you,'” O’Brien wrote. “Naomi Osaka is so awesome … and now we’ve got 2 Black ladies in the final.”
Her tweet drew backlash from conservatives who refused to see the significance of two Black women, or women of color in general, competing for the grand slam title.
“This comment is so racist,” one critic wrote. “Blacks r racist than whites, I keep saying. Imagine a white person celebrating an all white final …”
“Why does it have to be 2 ‘black’ ladies,” another chimed in. “Why can’t it be 2 great tennis players?”
Others chided O’Brien for excluding the fact that Osaka is also Japanese.
“If you want to put importance on race cool that’s you, but please be all inclusive and accurate,” someone tweeted.
Meanwhile, another critic warned, “Be careful, we don’t know if Osaka identifies a Black. Remember Madison Keys (who’s biracial) didn’t like that distinction … lol. I’m just saying, we have to let people identify how they want to. But if she does, then yes, we have two Black ladies in the finals! YAY!”
Osaka and Williams will compete for the 2018 Grand Slam title in New York on Sunday.
When asked how she felt during her match with Keys, Osaka replied, “This is going to sound really bad … but I was just thinking – I really wanted to play Serena…Because she’s Serena.”