Congratulations and thank you! In winning Wimbledon this year, you earned your 22nd Grand Slam title (tying the record). You and your big sis, Venus, snagged the doubles crown, and you were victorious in the singles tourney. This is all in one day! Your skill and athleticism are undeniable, unmatched, and shining examples of Compton-bred black girl magic.
We (the black folks who have loved you since you first stepped on the court with the air of a champion swooshing through your beaded braids) are always proud of you. You are a veteran talent playing girls who grew up watching you play, but at just 34 years old, you are young enough to make a twerk-filled cameo appearance in the magnum opus video project of one of the world’s biggest living pop stars.
We’ve C-walked with you, cursed at line judges on your behalf from our couches, stood in awe at your grace in the face of racism, and “Hell yeah”ed at that dope and well-deserved Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year cover. You will be marked in history as one of the greatest athletes ever, and you look like us. My goodness, you are so loved.
But this particular Wimbledon victory means even more. To put it mildly, it’s been a rough week for black America. The brutal, videotaped shooting deaths of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota at the hands of police officers shook us all. Unfortunately, black men and women dying during interactions with cops is all too familiar, but these back to back deaths captured on camera were particularly jarring. It felt like an assault on our entire community, a blunt reminder that for some people, black lives will never matter and constitutional rights are only for white men.
We stand in a collective haze trying to figure out how to exist in a country that has continuously denied the humanity of those with a darker hue. The Bahamas even issued a travel warning about the United States, cautioning its black male citizens to be careful when interacting with US police officers. Peaceful protests have sprung up all over the country, but Dallas brought more death, confusion, and questions.
Enter you, our beloved Serena. In the midst of this heady time, you have given us reason to smile, cheer, and be proud. We needed that. Thank you, our beautiful black queen.