The Media Needs To Stop Making Serena Williams Its “Angry Black Woman”
It’s almost impossible for Serena Williams to catch a break because as the most revered athlete of our time, with 23 Grand Slams under her belt, and the spirit of a warrior who along with her partner-in-greatness, Venus, has had to endure the very worst that the elite sport of tennis has to offer — there’s seems to be no escape from the unfair scrutiny of the media.
It stems from the unshakable accusation of being the globally celebrated “angry Black woman.”
The interesting aspect of Serena’s volatile history with the press, which has been consistently one-sided, is the irony of how the gold-star wife and mother is always presented as the instigator of these so-called “heated encounters” with White male reporters, who enjoy baiting the world-class tennis champion with cruel jokes that are anything but hilarious.
Take the press conference at the 2018 BNP Paribas Open, when once again Serena was forced into the staged hate-fest with ravenous inquisitors, hoping to garner fleeting attention for carving out the click-worthy headline that reinforces the falsehood of Serena’s ill-mannered temperament.
As Serena remained composed and alert with the dignified stance that’s never wavered, a stupid ass reporter deemed it necessary to provoke her with awful questions pertaining to the past accusations of drug abuse.
Now bear in mind that this was the beginning of the much-heralded comeback of a tennis superstar, who almost died while giving birth to her first child.
Instead of entering the domain of a triumphant welcome that would’ve been inherently bestowed on her faux-rival and certified doper, Maria Sharapova, who managed to secure entry into Harvard Business School, and still retained most of her glamorous ad campaigns with luxury brands, even after her disgraceful suspension — Serena was surrendered to a brutal form of abuse that’s usually reserved for the women who are strong enough to bear it.
Ben Rothenberg, a freelance sports journalist, who is well known for his scorching criticism of Serena, was quick to hit social media with a ready-made assessment of his favorite subject’s rabid response to an unethical line of questioning that should’ve gotten the unnamed perpetrator booted based on the audacity of its implication.
Thankfully, there are still some of us who are able to decipher between fake deliveries and the accessible facts, and that includes the devoted hubby Alexis Ohanian, who promptly went into defense mode by dutifully counteracting the spreading rumors of his wife’s “heated exchange,” with a tweet that contained the very opposite of what Rothenberg was perpetuating.
A year later, and we are back in the very same spot, and this time the location is the infamous French Open 2019.
Serena already had to valiantly bear the brunt of mandated censorship from the French Tennis Federation, that swooped in for the kill at last year’s event by identifying the killer body suit that she chose to wear as “inappropriate” and “disrespectful” to the game and the hosting venue.
There was no consideration for the fact that Serena’s miraculous recovery from a harrowing child-birthing experience exacerbated her history with blood clots, therefore making it very necessary for her to pick an outfit that would keep her safe on the courts.
Serena’s recent outing at the French Open 2019, ended in her defeat, and as disappointing as that would be for any formidable player of her status, that pales in comparison to the avalanche of the media’s gloating and goading that was initiated by a botched press conference of a rising tennis star, Dominic Thiem, who was supposedly forced to end his victory lap with reporters in order to make room for the scorned Black woman.
The headlines claim that Serena’s profoundly painful exit from the festivities stemming from the epic loss, propelled her demand to have Thiem thrown out of the only available room because of her documented temper tantrums that are heightened by her Blackness.
Of course Rothenberg was available for the handy tweet that had the gall to add the haughtiness of “feminism” as a way to steer the pot, and gather the ire of White feminists, who never have anything to say in support of women of color because of the preoccupation with their personalized agendas.
When you scour the internet for the real story that contains tangible facts, you basically have to be prepared for the grueling task of piecing together splices of truths into a cohesive pattern that matches the reasoning behind Thiem’s halted conference.
It’s likely that the version that explains how Serena respectfully tried to find an alternate space to hold her conference before the decision was made by officials to hasten Thiem’s session to accommodate a more high-profile contender, is the best summation of what actually went down.
But of course that’s a boring story that won’t inspire loads of traffic numbers and another prime opportunity for the comments section to be brimming with the overflow of hate speeches from White folks, who can’t resist the annual festival of degrading the station of a prized Black woman, who is annoyingly close to perfection.
Here’s the thing, it’s time for the media to end the tradition of mistreating Serena Williams with the obsession of propping her as the acceptable mascot of the “angry Black woman,” even when she’s visibly exhibiting a calm and professional demeanor.
And despite the absolute right to do so, she has rarely lost her cool in a public setting, and that’s due to the realization of how her vulnerability will be interpreted, which we witnessed at the US Open last year, during her high-stakes match against impressive newcomer, Naomi Osaka, when things got really tense, and Serena dramatized her frustrations.
If the Princess of the Courts, otherwise known as Maria Sharapova, can still hold her head high in any forum, despite her track record as a registered cheat, who cowardly wrote a book detailing her White victimhood, while facing off with her high-skilled nemesis who she’s actually taller than despite her claims — then Serena Williams should be able to command the utmost respect and unrelenting high-praise from the media at large.
Lord knows she’s earned it!
There needs to be the automatic adherence to uplifting the exceptional qualities of an exceptional athlete, who has never wavered when it comes to demonstrating her endearing love for a sport that has treated her like shit throughout her historic career.
Enough with the coerced headlines that are assigned to highlight the baseless attributes that Black women are slaughtered with, while their White counterparts are prettied up with labels that describe the human experience with all the complexities that apply.
White male reporters in the sports realm need to get a fucking grip and save that mess for those who are more deserving.
We are so done with this portion of a very boring and over-wrought season of hostile reporting against Serena Williams.