Six Reasons Why Serena's Sportsperson Of The Year Honor Is The Blackest Thing That Ever Happened This Week

Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated
Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated

1. Because Serena's cover effectively turned Sports Illustrated into a late-90s King Magazine. My goodness.


2. Fortunately for men currently in relationships with women, Serena Williams also happens to be one of the few women it's acceptable to, well, openly "appreciate." (Basically, if you get caught liking an Instagram "model's" picture, you might catch a sideeye. You get caught liking a Serena pic, you might catch a request that you share the pic with her too.) And since both Black men and Black women can find some common ground with her, Serena's success helps promote Black love.

3. Because that cover could have also easily been the cover of like a dozen different magazines, including EBONY, Essence, Vibe, Esquire, GQ, Vanity Fair, Cosmo, and even The Final Call. Well, maybe not The Final Call. But if any of the editors of The Final Call happen to be reading this, a Serena cover would mesh quite nicely with a 15% off bean pie. Think about it.

4. Because, of course, you can't have Serena in the news without a major publication showing their entire ass. In this instance, it was the Los Angeles Times, who asked their followers if American Pharoah (a horse) should have been the Sportsperson of the Year instead of Serena Williams (an actual person).

Let's, for a second, forget about the juxtaposition of a Black woman's image with a horse's. And let's also forget about whether that was even intended to be a juxtaposition, because it wouldn't be a leap to suggest that whoever okay-ed that image did it because they felt the images were similar, not contrasting.

Instead, ask yourself if you could imagine them creating the same poll if Tom Brady or Maria Sharapova or even Stephen Curry was named Sportsperson of the Year. And don't bother sharing your answer, because we all know it already.


5. Because everything mentioned in the previous paragraph is why Serena's victories are so celebrated by so many Black people. You'd literally have to go back decades to find a world-class athlete who had to fight against so much; who had to defeat so many entities — racism, sexism, sex-based racism, race-based sexism, claims against her legitimacy, White Tears, Drake, etc — to win; who became the world's most dominant human athlete despite relentless challenges to and questions about her humanity. Even Tiger Woods, as much race-based antagonism as he faced, didn't have his masculinity questioned every time he won a round. Yet Serena. Keeps. Winning. in every conceivable way.

6. Because you know you're the shit when the biggest story of the year in your sport is you actually losing.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)


They photoshopped her thighs. She's much thicker than that.