Featured image from USA Today.

By Charlotte Dean ‘18

The famous swoosh and slogan “Just do it” have become the focal point of  Nike products. Being such a large part of the athletics industry, Nike is always in the spotlight- especially with their new “Equality” ads for 2017’s black history month featuring Serena Williams, Alicia Keys and Lebron James. These ads speak to the inequality that many athletes of color and female athletes face with the words “Worth should outshine color. The ball should bounce the same for everyone. If we can be equals here, we can be equals everywhere.”.

Within the same month Nike released plans for a line of Nike pro hijabs. Along with this groundbreaking addition to Nike, an ad accompanied the release, featuring Muslim women biking, kickboxing, running and doing parkour. This line enables any women who wears a hijab to participate in sports that may have been difficult with normal hijabs.

Muslim women have responded in a variety of ways. Backlash from Muslim women consisted of comments explaining that it wasn’t accurate to how hijabs are in the everyday lives of female athletes. Others spoke about how Nike was exploiting the Muslim culture and making the hijab a fashion, rather than a religious choice. While there were criticisms, when the performance of the hijab was put to the test, it did not fail. Figure skater Zahra Lari, who was featured in the video ad said,“ … I’ve tried so many different hijabs for performance, and with how fast I spin on the ice and in training, so few of them actually work for me. But once I put it on and took it for a spin on the ice, I was blown away by the fit and the lightweight [material]” Nike is paving the way for more athletic companies to take part in this inclusive and historical movement.