History has been made, y’all! 14-year-old Zaila Avant-garde is going down in the books as the first African American, male or female, to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee last night, a monumental achievement that can only be described as ✨ Black Girl Magic ✨! Peep the adorable moment where Zaila learned she won the competition (for correctly spelling the word “murraya”) below:
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After becoming a superstar pretty much overnight, Zaila then caught the attention of Keke Palmer, who made her acting breakthrough in 2006 after starring as Akeelah—a low-income 11-year-old that competes in and wins the Scripps National Spelling Bee—in Akeelah and the Bee. Keke praised Zaila on Instagram for the achievement, and noted the similarities between Zaila and Akeelah.
“THE REAL LIFE AKEELAH YOU GUYS!! The real life one. I’m so happy in my heart,” Keke wrote. “A couple of weeks ago I sent in a video encouraging all the contestants and for this to happen just feels so spiritual! I am so happy. Major love to Doug Atchinson that allowed me to act a dream and thank God for letting me live to see it come to fruition. ‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate…’ Y’all know the rest.”
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So what’s next for Zaila “the real life Akeelah” Avant-garde after this amazing feat? In her own words, she’s planning on “going to Harvard to play basketball, then maybe going to the WNBA or overseas or something before I go into my next thing of working at NASA or something like that, being a basketball coach,” she said in an interview with The Today Show. What, like it’s hard?
Can’t wait to see all the things in store for Zaila’s future!
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