Serena Williams won – again.
The world is full of her latest exploits as she moves toward another Grand Slam. I’ve seen some of the most fabulous memes and Instagram posts, from her doing the splits retrieving a ball to doing the chicken and just otherwise celebrating being a winner.
I’m not afraid to admit, I need to see her have fun. I need to see so many people sharing the evidence of her success, congratulating her, reveling in her extraordinary skill and just all around celebrating Serena. I know I’m not alone either. The world celebrating Serena is a big ticket item – the world celebrating black women in general.
That statement is a bit of a stretch. It’s not actually that way. Most black women are not fabulous athletes with towering stacks of trophies, broken records and uber healthy bank balances. But when people say ‘Go Serena!’ They’re offering the rest of us a little acceptance, and we need it.
‘Cuz sometimes? Being a black woman sucks.
Being a woman is challenging enough. Low pay, high expectations, harassment, the list of crap that goes along with having breasts is so long, if it was red and velvety they could toss it down at the Oscars and have the stars walk over it. You add race into the mix and on a bad day, you’re lucky to come out sane.
Everyone’s not against you, but enough people are that you become paranoid. There’s a lot of uncertainty because you’re constantly second guessed in passive aggressive and ridiculous ways, absorbing against your will the microtriggers that subtly suggest what you say and do is wrong. It’s easy to lose perspective.
Your self-esteem is always in danger as the world picks apart and oversexualizes your body – Serena’s intimately familiar with those kinds of attacks – everything that makes you you, is fair game. Some of that is intrinsic, like your hair – the world has tried and is still trying to convince black women that their natural hair is ugly and should be changed as a matter of course – and some of that is what you have the right to create for yourself, like your style, your goals, and whatever else epitomizes who you are as a fully realized person with a heart, a soul and dreams.
Seeing Serena celebrated, basking from a distance in her unapologetic glory, is like inhaling sunlight. Thank God for her. Girls, women, black ones in particular, need her. She’s brown, she’s beautiful, and she’s a winner.