Williams’s poise, strength, style and array of hairstyles have inspired Black girls and women to see themselves in the game of life she has dominated.
At the end of August, Billie Jean King wrote: What Makes Serena Williams So Watchable.
“In her article for Vogue where Serena announced her retirement — which she calls ‘evolving’ — there’s this line that stuck with me. She said, ‘I’ve built a career on channeling anger and negativity and turning it into something good.’ She’s absolutely right.”
Williams’ presence as a Black woman in a historically white, patriarchal sport, her commitment to activism, and her willingness to bare her personal challenges to the public — forced sports journalists to reevaluate professional norms that urged them to focus on what else happened between the lines.
Sports does not happen in a vacuum. Williams demanded journalists do more than analyze her serve. She has spoken publicly from her own experiences.
She has pushed the boundaries of women’s tennis, and in doing so, has insisted that women be treated better by media and event organizers, calling for an end to the pay disparities between men and women on professional tours.
She has done so much in our re-education and humanization — brava, Serena!