Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka is SLAMMED over her new project with LeBron James because its name has a VERY sexually explicit meaning for 200 million Africans
- The 24-year-old – who was born in Japan but raised in the US – has been roasted over the name of her new business venture, which is part-funded by James, 37
- Osaka announced the launch of a new media production company on Thursday, revealing it’s called Hana Kuma, which means ‘flower bear’ in Japanese
- However, ‘hana kuma’ also translates to a very explicit phrase in Swahilian: ‘a woman with no vagina’
- Critics are now calling for Osaka to re-name her company
Former Tennis world no.1 Naomi Osaka is facing bitter backlash over the name of the new media company she has launched with LeBron James – after it was revealed the brand name ‘Hana Kuma’ has a very explicit meaning in Swahilian.
The Japanese star has joined forces with the recently announced billionaire Lebron James, to kickstart a storytelling medium that releases culturally specific narratives to a wider audience.
‘Hana Kuma’, which translates to flower bear in Japanese, is another venture of Osaka’s, who became the world’s highest paid female athlete in 2020, earning $ 37million.
Lebron James (left) and Naomi Osaka (right) pose for a photo after a Los Angeles Lakers game at the Staples center in 2019 – they are now business partners for the media production company ‘Hana Kuma’
In Swahilian, an East-African language spoken across 14 countries like Kenya and Tanzania, the native phrase is barely whispered, as it means ‘a woman with no vagina’.
Many East-African supporters of Osaka have asked that she change the name of her new venture, to respect the language miscommunication.
‘If you keep the name’ #hanakuma, the name will override the news and the stories you wish to share. The name of the brand is already news! I suggest a change and also, just being a bit respectful to global culture. It’s not overthinking here, it’s protecting a brand! ‘ and Twitter user posted.
Naomi Osaka reacts to her first round match against Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva on day one of the 2019 Wimbledon – where she has just withdrawn from this years major due to an ongoing achilles injury
Swahili is listed in the world’s top 10 most spoken languages and more than 200 million people speak the tongue.
On June 22, Osaka tweeted ‘prayers for all my overthinkers. We be going through it ‘.
Whether a direct comment on the discourse surrounding the name, the production company has the intention to empower people from many different walks of life.
The first project is a documentary in collaboration with the New York Times about the first woman of color sworn in to Congress, Patsy Mink.
The 24-year-old four-time grand slam champion pulled out of this year’s Wimbledon to start on June 27, after struggling to recover from an ongoing achilles injury.
Her new company launch adds to yet another initiative turned from idea to invention with agent Stuart Duguid.
Lebron James. (right) with business partner Maverick Carter (left) and rapper 2 Chainz (center) at the Victory Uninterrupted Hollywood Athletic club in 2019
Osaka and Duguid burst onto the sports business scene with the rise of Evolve, a management platform that helps professional athletes communicate with brand partnerships and investments.
Aussie Tennis hothead Nick Kyrgios was the first star to join the company, as Osaka said the Canberran was a player who transcends their sport, with unique style, passion and personality.
Meanwhile, four-time finals MVP and champion Lebron James has become the second NBA player to amass a net worth of $ 1billion.
TheSpringHill company, founded by James and his business associate Maverick Carter, will help fund, operate and produce content for the Hana Kuma startup.