By: Amanda Anderson-Niles
Although Gabby Douglas just made history, the Olympic champion continues to watch the media attempt to tear her and now even her family apart. First Gabby’s hair made media attention, as the African American community was placed under a microscope as our insecurities about own hair texture was bought to light with Gabby Douglas’ natural hair style she chose to wear during her Olympic performances that resulted in two gold medals. Immediately after the stupid tweets about Gabby Douglas’ hair began to grow in numbers, the media immediately ignited a national conversation that pretty much made black folks look pretty stupid for tearing apart a 16 year old over her kinky ponytail. Not too long before that, after Gabby won a gold medal with Team USA, the media immediately began to do a witch hunt on her father, who turned out to be a soldier and successful military man. But now Gabby’s mother has made headlines, and not for raising an Olympian who made history for black girls everywhere since Dominique Dawes in 1996. Nope, Gabby’s mother made headlines for filing bankruptcy earlier this year, and to no surprise, her financial situation is being brought to light now just days after her daughter proved that the underdog labels penned by white gymnastic critics were unwarranted.
TMZ was the first to discover the bankruptcy papers and the other media outlets began to follow. But Gabby Douglas didn’t get her strength from nowhere, as it turns out her mother isn’t ashamed nor giving a damn that her bankruptcy has become a story.
USA Today reports:
Documents filed in January in the Eastern District of Virginia show Douglas’ mother, Natalie Hawkins, filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which allows people to reorganize their finances and pay down debt over several years.
Douglas has been one of the most popular athletes at the Olympics in London, becoming the first African-American woman to win a gold medal in gymnastics. The 4-foot-11 16-year-old taken home two gold medals so far and has become an international superstar, winning over fans with her smile and the nickname “Flying Squirrel.”
…Hawkins also lists roughly $80,000 in debts. The bulk of that is from her mortgage. Hawkins is separated from her husband and lists about $2,500 in income a month, which comes from Social Security disability benefits and child support, according to the documents.
Natalie Hawkins went on long-term medical disability in 2009, and there were six months when the single mother of four had little to no income. In addition to mortgage payments for her home, there were expenses for Douglas’ training and her other three children.
Natalie Hawkins isn’t worried about the media publishing her financial hurdles. She says:
“It’s my story, it’s part of me. I’m not even embarrassed about it,” Hawkins said Sunday in London. “It shows that even though I didn’t like to have to do it, I’m glad there was something there for me to be able to protect my home.”
Gabby and her family should have no worries right now, considering that Gabby is set to make millions in endorsement deals. We can’t say we’re surprised that the media is working overtime to find some dirt on these two, as black athletes have always been a favorite target of the press. We’re just glad that both Gabby and her mother are strong enough not to let the critics make take away their happiness in a moment both worked so hard and sacrificed for.