• Live
    • Audio Only
  • google plus
  • facebook
  • twitter
News > Sport

Serena Williams Talks About Being an Athlete While Black

  • Serena Williams reacts during a tennis match.

    Serena Williams reacts during a tennis match. | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 December 2016

The tennis star spoke about racism in the sport while identifying what motivates her to speak out against police killings.

One of the best tennis players and athletes of all time, Serena Williams has been scrutinized so much for being a strong, Black woman that she herself began to doubt her own strength and body, the star told her longtime friend and rapper, Common, in a special ESPN interview.

Is Serena Williams the Next Muhammad Ali?

“There was a time where I didn’t feel incredibly comfortable about my body because I felt like I was too strong," Williams said during the one hour-long ESPN special, "The Undefeated In-Depth: Serena with Common," which aired Sunday night.

"And then I had to take a second and think, who says I’m too strong? This body has enabled me to be the greatest player I can be and I’m not going to scrutinize that. This is great. I mean, this is amazing.”

Common asked her if she should be considered one of the greatest athletes of all time, to which she responded by pointing out that such conversation has been avoided by sports critics because she is a strong Black woman.

"I guess (the critics) couldn't relate to me because I'm Black, I'm strong, I'm tall, I'm powerful and I'm confident," Williams explained. But over the years, while she did question her own body and strength, she did not “let that influence me or bring me down in any way.”

Williams also talked about using her fame for social activism and speaking out against injustice. “I feel I want to do more and I have to do more with all the stuff that is socially happening in the United States. It is just incredibly frustrating and sad,” Williams told her former romantic partner.

Serena Williams Wins Wimbledon to Tie Steffi Graf's Record

“I think when you are in a position, in front of a crowd, and you can influence people, I really think it is important to speak for what is right and what you believe in,” she added.

Celebrities and famous athletes shouldn't be forced to speak out about the issues facing their communities unless they have a sincere and deep connection with those issues and feel that the can make a difference, Williams told her interviewer.

“It is so crazy, 10 years ago we were not dealing with a lot of this stuff, it was more hidden and social media was not out.” She went on to talk about how she feels “disgust and sadness” with the recent police killings and how these feelings are the main driver behind her activism.

“I was at Wimbledon this year and someone got killed and I was just over it. I am trying to play a semi-final and I turn on my phone and I went through social media. And it hurts me because it is my people that are being killed because they look like me. Who is to say that I would not be next. I just want to use my voice to influence other people to change.”

Common released his 11th studio album, "Black America Again," last month, and Williams appeared in Beyonce’s "Lemonade" earlier this year, which was hailed as an anti-police brutality album and a nod to Black Lives Matter.

Through social media, Williams has frequently expressed dismay and anger over police killings in the U.S. in recent months. In September, Williams made a Facebook post in support of Black Lives Matter quoting Martin Luther King, Jr. and writing “I won’t be silent.”

Post with no comments.