Serena Williams’ fifth win at the Wimbledon in early July marked her fourteenth major professional tennis title, something that about seven women have done in the history of professional tennis with three being American. And she did it as a raw vegan, a lifestyle she embraced to support her sister who is also a raw vegan due to the recent diagnosis with an auto-immune disease. Nonetheless, Serena’s spectacular performance and a significant accomplishment that should have America boasting, barely scratched national news.
Nor was there really any interest in the Wimbledon doubles match that Serena and her sister Venus dominated and were victorious. Once the women’s doubles were over, it was back to the exciting coverage of Roger Federer and Andy Murray, the match between a Swiss and Brit. American tennis experts gushed over the two men as if their own did nothing but take a shit that day.
Though the Williams sisters have single-handedly revived tennis’ popularity, it seems as if mainstream America, hence, white America, is kind of waiting for them, and their booties, and 18 inch Brazilian human hair extensions, their mama’s blonde Afro and their daddy who gives shout outs to those drinking 40 ounces and smoking Kush in the heart of Compton to just go away.
At first I would assert that mainstream America was furious that two black women took over the face of American tennis, and totally shifted the complexion of its audience worldwide.
When Venus came onto the scene she was undeniably black. A dark brown skinned sister with that classic look that any black mama gave her girl child at least once in her pubescent life—cornrows with about 5 million beads shimmying in the sunlight.
It is the hairstyle that Bo Derek tried to imitate and was called drop dead beautiful, yet Venus got silent disapproval for her ethnic un-appeal.
And as I cringed when I saw the years of braiding had taken out her edges like former Essence Magazine CEO Susan Taylor, I still applauded her vivid imagery of blackness.
As a former athlete in a non-traditional sport for black folk (swimming), I know the challenges of being the only black or one of the few. I know the issues of femininity and the difficulty of trying to be “black” in a “white” sport; especially when you have a mother that did not allow you to shave. But that’s another therapy session.
I remember the day a little white girl called me a “nigger” when I won the 50 meter butterfly. That shit hurt.
I can’t even imagine getting the consistent boos that Venus then Serena would get over damn near a decade.
Then there are the camera shots when Serena bends over. Or the pre-game coverage in which announcers would drool over blonde competitors and their beauty and delicate fierceness. The complaints and attempts at regulating the ladies’ war grunts. The silent spectacle around Venus and Serenas muscles, hair, skin, and did I say ass?
Throughout it all, we have seen these women blossom into something more dangerous, more courageous than players who were expected to just be affirmative action kickstands that should’ve been gracious to be allowed a couple of endorsements.
These sisters, by blood and by cultural kinship, evolved into unstoppable champions who don’t need the approval of a flag, a fan, or a country.
Never, never, never in the history of the sport of tennis, women or men, has there been siblings to dominate, and just take over the sport for more than a decade. And what do they get, silence and meager coverage as a form of protest of their presence.
But occasionally, the fearlessness you witness on the court rises like the waves of heat off of the AstroTurf in the Australian Open. The Williams’ spit back their own protest with flamboyant outfits that accentuate their African curves and brown skin in the most European
Sorry Louis Gates Jr., their phenotypes are not the kind that dominate your gene pool as you proudly announce. Dem sisters right dere are to the bone African. And will shove a ball down your fucking throat if you say otherwise.
Now I understand why mainstream America (and for that matter England and France) refuse to celebrate or acknowledge Serena or Venus. Their presence is a painful reminder of the ignorance, racism and impotence of white supremacy and white privilege that many attempt to hide.
Oh and of course they are hating on the booty.