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2018 US Open - Day 1

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For two decades, Serena Williams has let her talent speak for itself. With an unprecedented 23-grand slams under her belt, seven US Open titles and a scroll long list of other accomplishments, Serena is one of the best athletes of all time. Yet, her Black body is often the topic of conversation.

Serena’s curves, again, proved to be too much for White people to handle when she donned an athletic “catsuit” to the French Open last week. All leading to French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli issuing a ban against the article of clothing, saying “I think that sometimes we’ve gone too far.” The catsuit “will no longer be accepted. One must respect the game and the place,” she added.

2018 French Open Tennis Tournament. Roland Garros.

Source: Tim Clayton – Corbis / Getty

What the French Tennis Federation president actually did was put a ban on Serena’s Black body and all resembling body types. The policing of Black women’s bodies is a form of systematic oppression and White folks continue to use it as form of discipline. Is Serena’s catsuit that is the problem or is it her body shape that is bothersome? They can’t ban Black bodies but they can bring shame to them with public statements that deems them disrespectful. The president’s attempt to diminish Serena’s talent by overshadowing it with her attire was a racial attack coated in #PermitPatty cowardice.

Despite the constant attack on her Blackness, Serena takes the high road by twirling on her haters from a distance. Literally. Serena wore a custom-designed Louis Vuitton tutu to symbolize her ballerina like grace, describing it “easy to play in” and “aerodynamic.”

Legendary tennis player Billie Jean King defended Serena, tweeting “The policing of women’s bodies must end. The “respect” that’s needed is for the exceptional talent ⁦@serenawilliams⁩ brings to the game. Criticizing what she wears to work is where the true disrespect lies.”

Serena rarely comments on the negative things said about her and when she does, she leads with sportsmanship. She is able to speak through action.

Nike also stepped up to defend Serena with an inspiring Instagram post that rightfully labeled her a superhero.

The $30 billion company followed up with a heartwarming commercial that placed Serena’s father at the center of her career.

As hard as critics try to step on Serena’s cape, her reign as the queen of tennis can’t be confined or diminished.

Give her her crown and sat down.


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S by Serena Williams - September 2019 - New York Fashion Week: The Shows
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