July 14, 2020

“Straight Outta Compton”…The Original NWA (New Williams Attitude)

Tennis legend Serena Williams addressing the media at a 2015 US OPEN press conference Tennis legend Serena Williams addressing the media at a 2015 US OPEN press conference Photo Credit: Glenn Gilliam/What's The 411 Networks

…And her name is Serena Williams

This week has been a long time coming and it almost seems as if the Hollywood stars aligned and decided to drop this mega-hit movie, Straight Outta Compton at the same time that a little girl from South Central, LA born just a few years before NWA would change the music game, would be the unexpected, uninvited mega-Watts (see what I did there) superstar that would change the game of tennis and women’s place in sports. Regardless, or better yet, in spite of what advertisers or marketing “know-it-alls” might say, or where they invest their dollars, it’s Serena Williams’ world and we’re all just visiting!

It cannot be overstated how historic this particular moment is for the world of tennis, sports, America and African Americans. Unfortunately, it’s all too common these days for pop culture and the media to bloviate over the significance of an artist, athlete or celebrity…just look at the hours, days, weeks and months wasted on trying to substantiate Donald Trump’s circus of a presidential campaign. However, this is real and Serena’s Grand Slam campaign highlights in the best way possible what can be achieved if you have a strong family foundation that emphasizes faith, family, education, loyalty and hard work.

It would be compelling just to be the three-time defending US Open Champion going for her fourth in a row and it would be impractical to list here all the milestones Serena Williams is amassing through this seemingly never-ending display of excellence at the highest level, but here’s a few:

• World No.1 Serena Williams is on a 28-match winning streak at Grand Slam level having won the 2014 US Open, 2015 Australian Open, 2015 Roland Garros and 2015 Wimbledon – her second non-calendar year Grand Slam.

• Serena is trying to win her seventh US Open title (wouldn't just be the first Grand Slam she'll have seven of, but also the most US Open titles for a woman in Open Era – currently tied with Chris Evert at six)

• Serena has made over $73 million in prize money and by comparison, Sharapova earned $35 million.

• The legacy Serena Williams and her sister Venus have built with the likes of Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys, Taylor Townsend, Victoria Duval, Sacha Vickery, Heather Watson, Tornado & Hurricane Black, etc. is transformational and extends well beyond players of African ancestry.

• The 2015 US Open Women’s Final has sold out already and is the first time it has done so ahead of the Men’s Final and it’s trending as the excitement and anticipation of Serena’s unparalleled mark on history draws closer.

Leading up to the US Open Draw Ceremony and her first Press Conference everyone was primed with their obligatory questions about the elephant in the room, PRESSURE!!…and how do you deal with it? And while she gave very thoughtful and honest answers about feeling more pressure to win at Wimbledon to complete the second “Serena Slam”, I wanted to inject some historical context, if given the chance and we were. Given her recent interview where she was asked about Maria Sharapova making more endorsement money than her, Serena explained that it may not be meant for her to be that top earner and she was grateful for the doors opened by Althea Gibson, Zina Garrison, Arthur Ashe and her own sister Venus Williams and that she is trying to open doors for the next generation, so the next might be that top earner.

So I asked, “Have you seen the new documentary about Althea Gibson that was being screened throughout the opening week?”

Serena Williams responded: “I have not seen it yet. I knew it was coming out around the OPEN (US OPEN). I’ll definitely have to check that out.”

And, I had the opportunity to ask a follow-up question, “Everybody talks about the pressure, is that something by seeing those previous players allows you to bear it easier?”

Serena proceeded with a thoughtful response, “Well, I just look at someone like Althea and Zina. Let’s face it, I have it a lot easier than them. There are so many barriers that have been broken. When I look at it in that point of view, that aspect, a whole weight is like lifted off my shoulders. I’m doing well and I’m really happy to be here.”

Her new campaign is #BESERENA but she’s humble and gracious enough to acknowledge #AltheaCameFirst.

We’re even happier for you Serena and can’t wait until you raise our national trophy again, “Straight Into the Record Books” is the title of her movie. #411SportsTV and #Whatsthe411Sports

Last modified on Wednesday, 02 September 2015 13:58
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