Ruschell Boone (286538)
Credit: Njeri McPherson photo

Two Black women, one young and the other very young, commanded our attention this week. One of them was loudly cheered in her victory at the U.S. Open and the other tenderly remembered during a lengthy commemoration.  

Coco Gauff, 19, won her first major tennis tournament on Saturday in the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows, while Ruschell Boone, 48, lost her courageous battle against pancreatic cancer. She died on September 3, and six days later Coco was victorious.

Broadcast for several hours on NY1 on Tuesday, where Boone was an award-winning reporter and anchor, a retinue of friends, colleagues, and family members recalled her phenomenal career from the podium at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn. 

Mayor Eric Adams was among those paying tribute to her, and he was the first interview she conducted after returning to the station in March. “We are all better people because we had a wonderful, wonderful person who reported to us and showed us that no matter how much pain you have, you can turn it into purpose,” he said. “You never saw her frowning. She didn’t say ‘Woe is me.’ She said ‘Why not me? I want to inspire others.'”

She appeared to be well on her way to complete recovery during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Manhattan Neighborhood Network’s new location in early March, but then things turned for the worse. Even so, she bravely endured the grueling chemotherapy treatments. 

We will miss her reportorial versatility, her warmth, and the gregarious attitude that was never diminished, and always present. Presente, Ruschell!

Meanwhile, in another arena, Coco seems to have advanced considerably in her quest to the top of the tennis bracket, and it’s a good bet she will soon amass the achievements that Ruschell earned behind the microphone and in front of the camera.

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