OPUS Mag

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Serena Williams is the Most Important Athlete Alive

Serena Williams is the Most Important Athlete Alive

“Serena crip walking at the Olympics, I’m still hood, I’m still me till my candle is blown…” – Crooked I

With ALL due respect to the recently departed Muhammad Ali (whose name isn’t Cassius Clay, regardless of how funny Coming to America is); Serena Williams is the most important athlete alive, man or woman, and has been for at least a decade. Jay-Z is my favorite rapper and I consider him the greatest rapper of all-time living or deceased but this is an opinion based on how much I relate to a drug dealer from the projects talking about his moral conflicts while aspiring for more and eventually throwing fundraisers for the president at establishments he owns. (It’s really a fact & you’re an idiot for thinking otherwise) and you’re entitled to dispute this. However, he fact is, Serena Williams is my favorite athlete alive, the greatest athlete alive based on her being a woman from Compton, who not only plays a “white” sport but made it hers and you’re an idiot if you think otherwise (notice I didn’t have that in parenthesis).

We know the stats, 36 total championships (21 singles, 12 doubles, 4 mixed doubles) 4 Olympic GOLD medals (2 singles, 2 doubles); she’s an absolute bad ass. Please understand this is not to be meant as dismissive of her sister Venus, who is also an amazing woman & athlete but rather how/why Serena is a symbol. A symbol of blackness, womanhood, excellence, dominance, perseverance, endurance and overall being a fucking boss.

I know Tiger Woods dominated a “white” sport but he’s no longer TIGER WOODS; he’s a has been. Listen, Tiger Woods doesn’t count because he’s the stereotypical brother who doesn’t claim us, got on & left our asses for a white girl. And what black man you know is named Tiger? Black people don’t even go near tigers, lions or bears. Matter of fact, fuck Tiger Woods, ole “I’m not black, I’m not white, I’m Tiger.” Fuck you and the Jungle Book then.

Serena Williams fully embraces her blackness and does it in a way that young girls and boys alike can look up to her, want to play tennis and KNOW there’s more than what bullshit might surround them in the hood. Serena is Beyoncé; Serena is Oprah (who I owe an apology to but not really), Serena is Muhammad Ali, Serena is Barack Obama (who I owe an apology to but not really), Serena is every powerful black person with a voice rolled into one, why? Because she’s doing it on “their” turf and with her way; she did the crip walk at the Olympics, the fucking Olympics; I love you Serena!

Generally speaking, men do not view women as equals and the fact I say that in 2016 makes me sad. But it’s the truth and while “boys will be boys” the fact is Serena is better at what she does than any male athlete is at what they do, period. Serena is so amazing at tennis that her opponents (Sharapova) have been taking performance-enhancing drugs to keep up with her. Sounds familiar right? Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds to name a few, took PED’s to bring fans back to the stadium after the ’94 MLB work stoppage. Imagine that? 1 woman so good that her opponents risk it all to hopefully compete with her and keep their fans in their stadiums and out of Serena’s. We don’t have to imagine or conjure up hypotheticals, that’s exactly what’s been happening for at least a decade.

I don’t think we full grasp who and what Serena Williams is. Surely, we lust after her because of her look and are fascinated with who she’s dating or not dating (which is super weird and everyone should mind their own business) but imagine having to be in the spotlight for EVERYTHING you do and STILL kick EVERYONE’S ass? Like Serena is so great that the only news she makes on the tennis court is when she loses. Now as a black woman in this country, the most ignored, persecuted and overall dismissed person, she not only is representing them, she is them and we need to support/protect her from, “them”. As we do all black women, myself especially, no more jokes about skin tone, hair textures, body shaming; while we all dismiss these things as “jokes” or “all of a sudden”, I’m growing the fuck up and realizing that these are things we do/don’t do that have a negative impact on the women we should protect; Serena included.

It’s time for us to appreciate Serena Williams for who and what she is. Not only is she a symbol for us to admire and aspire to be, she’s a black woman in our time who is doing things no man or woman before her has ever done. So please, let’s not wait for people 50 years from now to talk about her like she is/was a ghost.

Serena Williams is here now, alive and she is the greatest athlete on earth; and as the new adage should go, “black women will be black women.” Pure excellence. 

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