"It’s not just hair… it’s who I am." This Syracuse University senior is opening up about being black in cheerleading — where uniformity has been part of the sport. "Cheerleading wasn’t made for people of color," Nadia Deas, 22, told The Post. "We’re all supposed to look the same." In 7th grade, a white teammate told Deas that her braids were "ugly" and from then on, Deas says her hair was "never in its natural state."

That changed when she went to college at Syracuse University in upstate New York where cheerleaders were encouraged to "come to games the way that you feel pretty, the way that you feel beautiful," Deas explained. "There are some teams that recruit based on looks," cheer squad coach Francesca Beyer-Pike said, calling those practices "old-school." By Lauren Helmbrecht