The world became familiar with Japanese Haitian tennis player Naomi Osaka after her dedication to uplifting the Black Lives Matter movement let to national spotlight at the 2021 US Open where she wore seven different facemasks throughout the tournament, each embroidered with the name of a Black man, woman or child recently killed by a police officer.
Osaka has been ranked number 1 in the world in singles by the Women’s Tennis Association. She is also a Grand Slam champion, winning two Australian Open titles and two US Open.
On The Late Night With Stephen Colbert, Osaka talks about her introduction to tennis by her parents, specifically her father who encouraged her to peruse the sport at the early age of five. Now, Osaka’s newest endeavor is a children’s book, titled The Way Champs Play, a celebration of sports, play and good “sports(wo)manship,” as the book declares. The picture book aims to support young girls inception into sports and displays diversity in race, ethnicity and physical ability.
Colbert also talked with Osaka about her mental health advocacy. The star has dropped out of multiple tournaments for health reasons, citing that pushing through something, which is often the standard for athletes, is not always the right way to move forward. Osaka mentioned when did return to the courts for the Tokyo Olympics, athletes from different sports came up to her and thanked her for her openness and honesty about the importance of acknowledging mental health in the sports world.
In the interview she made reference to her culture and heritage, citing Florida and New York as the only places outside of Haiti with good Haitian food. While Colbert’s familiarity with Haitian food was minimal, Osaka mentioned a few tasty options he might enjoy. Here are three dishes the superstar recommended to The Late Show host:
Looking for even more great Haitian recipes? Pick up a book or two from famous ‘Taste the Islands’ chefs, Chef Irie and Chef Thia. If you’re specifically in the mood for Haitian cooking, check out “50 Favorite Haitian Recipes: Taste the Islands Essentials,” curated by award-winning Haitian chef and host of Taste the Islands Season II Cynthia Chef “Thia” Verna.
If you’re wanting a taste of the Caribbean, “Taste the Islands: Culinary Adventures in a Caribbean Kitchen” lets you island hop as you try different gourmet and home-style recipes from the nations of Jamaica and Haiti to St. Lucia, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago and beyond!