So many backlashing trailed (or still trail) Serena’s engagement to Alexis Ohanian. She is considered one of the greatest athletes of all time and the fact she is black placed enormous expectations on her. Her career is strewn with periodic debates if she is the greatest or not. Time and time again discussions surround what criteria should be used to determine the greatest. Should grand slam be the sole measure of a tennis player? Should we compare players’ era? Or should overall number of titles be used.
However, more is always expected of Serena Williams. 15 grand slam titles wouldn’t be enough, she had to win the next. 20 wouldn’t do until she picked 21. And after 21 the bar is raised higher, if only she wins the 24th. It seemed every time she entered the court, she always had to prove a point.
Serena is not unfamiliar with pressure. She considered it a privilege and it has played a significant role in her career. She is aware of these loads of expectations – That she is female is one load, that she is black is another load.
Being female means she has to do more to be termed the GOAT. It means she is expected to win more and if possible be willing to play against men and win. It means she may not be crowned the GOAT unless she signs up to play 5-set matches like the men. When she won her 22nd grand slam she said, “If I were a man, I would have been called the greatest……Sometimes, when I’m on the court, then I feel the pressure…..When I’m playing a Grand Slam final, that’s when I feel a lot of expectations, that’s when I’m like, ‘Serena, would you rather have your 22 Grand Slams, or two or three and not have people have all these expectations?’”
Being black means she is supposed to be a role model to young black women. She is expected to push the course of the black generation and strengthen it. In another interview, she said, “I do remember one time I was playing, and these kids came up behind me while we were practicing and — I was probably, like, 7 — they were calling me Blacky. Me and Venus, they were like, ‘Blacky and Blacky.’ I remember thinking, ‘I don’t really care’ — and that’s pretty crazy to think that at that age.”
A few months ago, it became more apparent that the expectations were not only tied to Serena’s career, it was well strung to her life. Serena Williams announced her engagement to Alexis Ohanian – a white man!!! And all hell broke loose. Twitter buzzed. Social media whirred.
How could she do this to ‘us’?
How could she marry the enemy?
Millions of black men around and she marries a pecker wood?
The weight of expectations! Where do we draw the line, really? How much is too much?
Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian have been in a relationship since 2015. They got engaged in December 2016. Ohanian co-founded Reddit and hosts Small Empires, a weekly show that airs on The Verge‘s website and focuses on rising start-ups in New York City.
So I ask, why the backlash if she is marrying Alexis?
Last time I checked she was with Amar’e Stoudemire (Black). The relationship lasted two months and a day and it packed up.
She dated Jacki Long (Black) for 9 months and brother didn’t put a ring on it.
She was with Keyshawn Johnson (black) for one year and dude walked away.
She and Common (black) became an item for 3 years and bro didn’t pop the question.
Did I mention Drake? Columbus Short? Corey Maggette? Put them somewhere in the middle there.
It seemed these brothers felt Serena was not good enough to be walked down the aisle. Was it the power she wielded? Was it the influence she had?
But Alexis thought differently – he came and months after, he popped the question (what you all had no liver to do for about a decade) and all hell broke loose!
It’s the same way my church brothers treat a fellow church sister. For many years she would be serving, laughing, chatting, ‘friending’ and all they would think she was good enough for was that – a close friend. And year after year, she is hanging in there waiting and hoping one of them would be bold enough to take her away from the friendzone. The wait would never end. Then all of a sudden, a fine dude, a good bad guy (who in their own assessment is an unbeliever) who sees what they don’t and says what they won’t, comes along, struts in, makes sister feel special and carts her away. He practically drops by and parks there.
And what happens? They are mad as dogs! They scream obscenities, ‘he is an unbeliever!’ ‘He is not a church member!’ ‘How could she?’ ‘She is being unequally yoked!’ ‘Aren’t there enough men in this church?’
Helloooooooo!!! She has been with you all these years and NONE of you deemed it fit to make a wife out of her. Tell me, how long does she have to wait?! Was it her fault if your insecurities prevented you? Was it her fault that she found his confidence sexy? His spirituality might be a 5 to you but it’s a 10 to her! Deal with it if it crashes your fragile ego. A prophet is not always accepted in his own country.
You suddenly now feel a sense of ownership because someone else, someone you don’t know and don’t like, showed up. How nice. What’s taken for granted will eventually be taken away.
Brothers, at some point you have to get mad at yourself for not doing better.
It’s Serena’s choice. And where and when you find love, race or denomination is never a question.
It’s Serena’s choice. Deal with it.