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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star Danai Gurira sat down with Olympian Simone Manue to discuss her unique journey as a swimmer and why communities of color have shied away from water throughout history.

Gurira, who had to perform a number of underwater stunts in the latest Marvel film, began the conversation stressing the importance of swimming, saying that it’s “more than a sport, it’s a life skill.” Unfortunately, a Black child between the ages of 5-19 is far more likely to drown than a white child – and there are several factors that can be attributed to that. For one, segregation in America during the early 1900s affected people of color in maybe different ways; specifically the lack of access to pools, or the local government’s refusal to build them in Black neighborhoods.

As a former swimmer in Zimbabwe, Gurira expressed her love for the water, but also how the fear of water has discouraged Black people to get involved with it, or expose their children to swimming. Manuel responded by highlighting the irony of water as it pertains to slavery – its what many of them used to escape bondage, but it was also the primary method to getting slaves to America in the first place. It was that fear of water that was passed down from generation to generation; a fear that still lasts to the day.

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