Simone Biles, one of the most decorated gymnasts of all time, made headlines last month when she decided to withdraw from two Tokyo Olympic competitions to prioritize her mental health.
Biles, whose decision to pull back from the team finals and individual all-around competition sparked conversations on what it means to center one’s mental health amid professional obligations. Just a month prior, Biles’ peer Naomi Osaka announced she wouldn’t be doing post-game press at Wimbledon before pulling out of the competition altogether.
While both of these top-tier athletes’ choices caused an uproar from critics and folks who likely have not and will never walk in their shoes, they have inspired impactful dialogue of what it truly means to provide allyship to Black women and how they deal with their mental health.
Below are seven influential Black women who, like Biles and Osaka, made the decision to put their mental health before professional obligations.