They’re a match made in celebrity heaven, but this power pair have more important things on their mind than blowing up on Instagram or living the glam life.
Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka (22) and rapper Cordae (23) are the embodiment of young, gifted and black – and they have not been shy about making their voices heard in support of the surge of Black Lives Matter protests in the US.
We take a look at the couple and their relationship.
LOVE AND BASKETBALL
The US Open champion made a name for herself on the tennis court, but she found love in a basketball arena.
When Naomi and Cordae were first spotted out together in April 2019, sources said they were not yet “officially” an item.
Three months later the rapper shared that Naomi was “his girl”. In a radio interview, he said they had been introduced at a Los Angeles Clippers game but Cordae – who is best known for his masterful remake of J Cole’s 1985 – admitted he had “no idea” who she was, as he was not much of a tennis fan.
“When you think about tennis, I just know Serena Williams. That is all I can say on tennis. But I watch it now though,” he added.
He’s a pretty big fan of the game now. He was at most of Naomi’s US Open matches, and a video of him jumping from his seat and celebrating her win went viral. At one point he was seen counting on his fingers the number of Grand Slams his girlfriend has ranked.
He and Naomi had
been together “a long time to be honest”, he says, but they preferred keeping
their relationship under wraps.
He prefers to keep his personal life private, but would speak about it if asked, as it would be “disrespectful” to Naomi if he didn’t.
“We just kept it hidden. Kept it quiet, [but] that’s my girl,” he says.
In December 2019 they confirmed their relationship after they were spotted at a basketball match between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Washington Wizards. Videos on social media showed the loved-up couple enjoying each other’s company, with Naomi resting her head on Cordae’s shoulder.
Neither has spoken about previous relationships, but in 2018 Naomi told Ellen DeGeneres she has a crush on actor Michael B Jordan.
THE CORDAE STORY
Cordae Dunston started rapping when he was 15 and joined the hip-hop group YBN in 2018. He got noticed with his remix of J Cole’s 1985 and Eminem’s My Name Is.
His debut EP, Admissions, dropped last year, and was quickly followed by his first studio album, The Lost Boy, which nabbed two Grammy nominations.
Describing his career in a word, the rapper said it’s a “‘prequel’, because it's just the beginning of my long journey. I still have so much more s**t I'm about to do, so much more s**t I'm about to accomplish, so many more barriers that I'm about to break through”.
Naomi made a series of powerful statements during the US Open when she wore a series of masks emblazoned with the names of black victims of police violence in the US. Cordae, who attended the final, wore a “Defund the Police” T-shirt.
In a post-match interview with ESPN, Naomi was asked what message she was trying to send with her distinctive mask. “What’s the message you got, was more the question. I feel like the point is to make people start talking,” she said.
The US Open champion and Cordae flew to Minneapolis to join a peaceful protest in the wake of the brutal killing of George Floyd.
Writing in Esquire magazine, she said, “I felt a call to action. Enough was finally enough. Being on the ground in Minneapolis was what felt right at that moment.”
Cordae has also been vocal about his support of the BLM movement. He was one of 87 people arrested in a protest demanding justice for Breonna Taylor, a paramedic who was shot dead in her apartment by police who mistakenly believed it was being used to sell drugs.
WHAT MAKES THEIR RELATIONSHIP SPECIAL?
They’re driven and focused on their careers, but they’re always supportive of each other.
Their social media is filled with pics of them showing their love for each other.
Earlier this year Naomi posted a cute Insta snap of her wearing a Cordae concert T-shirt, which she captioned, “J favourite shirt”.
Naomi posted a pic of
them and wished him on his birthday, in August, and called herself lucky to
have him in her life.
“I‘m so grateful that I can talk to you about anything and ask for advice (cause you know I need all the help I can get lol). I love that you lay down and wait for me to go to sleep before you go record. Etc because the list goes on forever... I hope you’re having the best birthday, I’m sad I can’t be there but I’ll make it up to you ?? happy 23rd, I love you @cordae ??.”
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I always feel so lucky to be in your life and to be continuously learning from you. I‘m so grateful that I can talk to you about anything and ask for advice (cause you know I need all the help I can get lol). I love that you lay down and wait for me to go to sleep before you go record. Etc because the list goes on forever... I hope you’re having the best birthday, I’m sad I can’t be there but I’ll make it up to you ?? happy 23rd, I love you @cordae ??