I grimaced when Serena Williams did the “C-walk” after her legendary Olympic win on Sunday. I knew, although she had just crushed Russia’s Maria Sharapova to win her first singles gold medal (in two sets, score 6-0, 6-1), becoming only the second woman to complete a career Golden Slam, she had given her critics ammunition to shroud her extraordinary achievement in controversy.

And that they did. Fox News was among the first to criticize. Reid Forgrave writes:

“There was Serena – the tennis legend, the winner of 14 individual Grand Slams, the best player of her generation, the American girl being crowned at the All-England Club as the queen of tennis – Crip-Walking all over the most lily-white place in the world.”

“You couldn’t help but shake your head. It was as if Serena just couldn’t seem to avoid dipping into waters of controversy even as she’d ascended to the top of her sport.”

Jason Whitlock even went as far to say it would’ve been appropriate if tennis was a more urban sport:

Crip Walking inside an NBA arena that is routinely filled with the sounds of edited versions of popular gangsta rap songs is different from Crip Walking at Wimbledon. That fact has nothing to do with race. It has to do with tradition and atmosphere. Wimbledon is a sports church, falsely prim, proper and respectful.

Are people overreacting? The “C-walk” is a dance popularized in Serena Williams’ hometown of Compton, California. Though its origins have ties to gang affiliation, it has since become so common that you might catch your nephew doing it at the family barbecue. Does it mean Serena, who lost her own sister to gang violence, is suddenly promoting it? No.

There are more important instances of violence to worry about, one of which is the alleged suicide of Chavis Carter. Handcuffed in the back of a patrol car, Carter allegedly grew an extra set of hands and shot himself in the head, according to police.

But Chavis’ death has only began to get coverage outside of local and black media outlets. Serena’s highly-offensive “C-Walk,” however, is making headlines everywhere.

It’s easy to see why. It’s not violence that bothers Williams’ detractors so much as it is her dominance in a formerly white-dominated sport. To be sure, gang violence is certainly an important, ongoing issue in many of our communities. It’s just not the issue here.

In truth, her dance was nothing more than an opportunity for naysayers to take away from her outstanding sportsmanship and prowess. Instead of having to strictly report that she is the best female tennis player alive with a record unmatched in history, they could now dwell on the imagined implications of a 5-second dance.

Moreover, it’s a “gangsta” dance performed in “the most lily white” place in the world. How dare she dirty the Wimbledon grass with her offensive black culture!

Speak on it, Clutchettes and Gents: Do you think Serena Williams’ dance is being blown out of proportion? Does she deserve the onslaught of criticism?

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  • Cajun1977

    I did not care or find the celebration dance worthy of a minute of my time, mainly because I didn’t know about the implications. However, now that I do know, the close ties into gand origins and the mulitple gang issues discussed above are very troublesome to me. Those stars that embrace that type of “culture” and try to mainstream the origins of a dance, etc. are doing nothing to help children escape that environment. Those who have escaped through sports owe it to be more aware of the children coming behind them, and the associated problems of drugs and poverty – the out of wedlock birth-rates, the unemployment, the violence that the gang-culture has woven into every day life. The stars have to be more aware than they have been (Jason W. is just crazy if he really feels what he has stated). I mean, isn’t it funny that so many people wear slouched pants as style, but ignore where and what that style really meant in prison?? Same with the dance. You have to be more aware. You owe it to those coming up behind you. But I seriously doubt that Serena was thinking about all of this. She was just happy. Still, time to be more adult and think ahead of time in the future.

  • nunyabizz

    i wish people would shut up! i thought it was adorable! UGH!!!