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Serena Williams VF AL

We’re in love watching you in love and being loved.

By Rachael Edwards

Dearest Serena,

I had to be no older than six  years old when my father came home one day,  sat me down at our wooden dining room table and pulled out a children’s book. It was a story about you and your sister, Venus. I was lucky to have him teach me about how you two became legendary. I remember his words, telling me that no matter what I chose to do in life that I could  be just like you two – legendary, proud, talented, bold, black.

I was not used to seeing brown-skinned girls being made into children’s books. My mother took me and my siblings to the library religiously and after my father exposed me to your story, I remember picking up stories with Black girls on the cover just because I was exposed to you. I remember reading that book over and over again, I was still learning to read but the visual representation of you and your sister marked me and welcomingly haunts me in my adulthood.

You mean so much to Black girls like myself. In every which way, the world has cracked open it’s lips to say all manners of evil against you, but in our world, you are and will continue to be worshipped like the Queen you are. In our world, negativity is silenced because Serena is.  

When we look at you we see a fierce beauty. From the shape of your lips, to the curve of your muscles, to the roundness of your nose, to the hue of your skin, you are so beautiful. There are no words in the tongue of humans that can articulate  the excitement that swells in our hearts when we watch you play – tennis fans or not, we all tune in to cheer you on. We got your back, sis.

In our world, negativity is silenced because Serena is.  

You have given us a weapon we did not know we had the ability to wield. On the tennis court, we are in awe of your strength to withstand your opponents. In the flames of slurs and mockery, you still emerge with radiance and grace in your wings. Your victories  taste like honey and berries on our tongues. Your losses are still gains because your mere presence in the world, on that court, represents Black audacity, beauty, and strength.

I screamed when I learned of your pregnancy. I cried when I saw you were betrothed. I swung my hips when I saw you featured in Lemonade, dancing and swaying  your hair in sexiness and truth. I melted when I saw your Vanity Fair cover story, laced with intimacy, vulnerability and poise. We’re in love watching you in love and being loved.

Naysayers will find ways to hurt you, they will try to find ways to break your spirit. You are human. You feel deeply like the rest of us do. I cannot tell you how to navigate your emotions when people say hurtful things, but I want to tell you that you are loved and celebrated. Your name is decorated and painted in the finest of silks and gold.

In the flames of slurs and mockery, you still emerge with radiance and grace in your wings.

The footprints you have left in this world will forever be etched on the earth. Not only will the little footsteps of your child follow after you but so many Black women, and girls will chase after you. You have made a way for us to enter into something really holy. You have made a space for black women and we call it holy ground. All that you have and continue to touch will turn into gold. Your grace stretches to every corner of the earth.

Continue to dance and pop your booty when they forbid it. Smile when they frown. Your enemies are already defeated.

Your life has extended and blossomed well beyond that storybook my father gave me at six years old. Look at where you are now. We celebrate you. We are proud of you. We love you. We dance with you. We mourn with you. We laugh with you. You are so deserving of every good thing that crosses your path. So many of us are watching you, we are in awe of you.

Serena Williams, Vanity Fair by Annie Leibovitz.


Author Bio: Rachael is a writer based in Baltimore who loves to disrupt society and engage in conversations that challenge us to be better humans. Rachael’s work centers Black women and our experiences. On her down time she performs, floods your Instagram timelines with selfies and eats fish tacos. You can find her here: Twitter Website Instagram 


Featured Image: Vanity Fair

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