Serena Williams: ‘I Had to Make People Realize That It’s Okay to Be Black and to Play Tennis’

by Shine My Crown Staff
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Serena Williams stopped by Sirius XM’s show Shade 45, where she detailed the experiences of racial bias she and her sister, Venus Williams faced

The William’s sisters were tennis stars even as children, but the tennis champ says that it did not take long for her to realize that her skin color meant that crowds were often unsupportive of them: “It had to be normal for me to realize people weren’t gonna root for me in the beginning, because I was different and I looked different,” Williams said.

She says that it was when she would watch her sister play solo matches that the reality of the situation dawned on her:

“I remember when my sister was playing, I could tell when she would win points and when she would lose,” she said. “The crowd would be really loud if she lost a point, and then there would be almost silence if she won the game or the point.”

“The same applied to me,” she continued. “I had to make people realize that it’s okay to be Black and to play tennis. And it’s okay to be good at it and to be better.” Eventually, she says, she realized the hate “wasn’t anything to do with me. It was just that I had to force people to see me because of my game. And let my game do the speaking. And I had to be comfortable with that.”

The mother of one says she owes much to her parents for giving them the strength to continue.

“Thankfully, my parents were so awesome and so pro-Black,” Williams said. “They really taught us from a young age that we’re gonna face different things that other people aren’t gonna face. And we were okay with that because we knew that we were prepared for that. We were prepared for anything that came our way. And we continue to be prepared for that.”

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