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

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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


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

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at Or don't. Whatever.

  • Courtney Wheeler

    Serena Williams looks amazing….my supposed doppelganger crushed everything else she does in life.

  • mynameiskevin

    We need to do a “Blackest Thing to Ever Happen” bracket for this year. Somebody get on it.

    • cakes_and_pies

      And a top 10 of Black Twitter memes.

      • Janelle S

        Fingers crossed for #blackllama. That’s still my favorite, even with #racetogether and #ThanksgivingwithBlackfamilies happening this year.

        • cakes_and_pies

          There were so many this year, I couldn’t keep count.

      • JamesInstagram

        #TyresePaintings #RapAlbumsThatCausedSlavery have some seriously unretweeted gems.

      • MsKitty

        #CookoutNewsNetwork (I think that’s the name) was hilarious. It was a nice companion to you guys’ Black cookout piece.

      • mynameiskevin

        #AskRachel was good while it lasted.

    • mrs.BAP

      you’re right! I need it and I need it on VSB… Contributing writers…. This IS our 2015 recap

    • Janelle Doe

      I am curious about the corresponding white tears that come with these 2015 Blackest Happenings. :-) The tears almost seem like they should be a criterion for Blackest(ness) :-)

      • mynameiskevin

        Let’s see…Cam Newton, Serena winning the first three grand slams (especially Wimbledon when the crowd was behind that British chick she beat), President Obama saying the n-word on that podcast (and everyone else focusing on him saying the n-word instead of the point he was trying to make)…I’m sure there’s a few others though

        • Ray Jefferies

          I cannot wait to see the black male lead in Star Wars. One of the few projects at Disney with a black male lead and it’s Star Wars??? Man I will enjoy this on so many levels I’m gonna need an elevator


      This is an awesome idea. Why don’t you start the list?

  • Keynote

    re: bean pies: every sect should have their own signature treat. Eighty-fivers might be more receptive to getting into a debate while walking down 125th if it came with an offer to buy a buttery scone.

  • QuirlyGirly

    The SI cover is simple, sexy and screams I’m a Boss A$$ Chick-who gone check me boo!

    I love it

    • Jennifer

      Fun fact: “I’m a Boss A$$ Chick-who gone check me boo!” in CAPS was the original headline of the article.

      • QuirlyGirly


    • miss t-lee

      The throne? OH YES MA’AM!

    • inYOface

      what she said^———

  • Aly

    I can’t stop staring… this might be one of my favorite photos of her.

    • QuirlyGirly

      Me too! It show femininity, power and strength.

  • Pinks

    This cover is everything.

    Who want it?

  • Sigma_Since 93

    #2 for the win!!! I do think they slimmed her legs down; she’s got more muscle tone

  • #4 …Someone needs their butt whipped. Not the horse, though.

    • QuirlyGirly

      I am convinced they were trying to rain on her parade but Serena is used to the water #whitetears

  • Ghi

    She looks amazing!

  • Robbinesque

    What IS it with 2520s and animals? They’ll put a man in jail for 2 years for dog fighting (not that I’m saying it’s right), but can’t even break a Sunday sweat when PEOPLE get shot down in the street over…and over…and over….

    • Loneliness…

    • Wild Cougar

      I still have a hard time believing, as crazy as they are, they actually had the audacity to set their fingers to a keyboard to type that a horse should be sportsperson of the year. YTs have lost their minds. For real.

      • Ray Jefferies

        When the Tea Party was just getting off the ground I saw a video of a guy showing up to a town hall meeting to literally, not figuratively, but literally say that the government was going to institute mind control… and no one said, “man if you don’t sit the f#ck down with that”. Same group that if they thought someone would take them seriously would say Obama was basically a Kenyan Space Alien hybrid clone sent by ISIS. I put no manner of foolishness beyond their reach.

    • fxd8424

      And shed more tears for Cecil the lion than any BM that was shot down and killed. The dentist that killed him got death threats. Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised. 2520’s still hatin’ on Vick even though he served his time.

      • Ray Jefferies

        I’m surprised they don’t talk about Nat Turner… maybe after John Boyega stars in the lead in the new Star Wars movie that’ll happen next.

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