Friday, July 1, 2022

Soul of the US Open: Black Girls Rock in New York

Madison Keys

*Black girls are rocking in New York. Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens, and Madison Keys, have all outlasted most of their WTA peers and lead the short list of Americans still in this year’s US Open.

Normally, Serena Williams is the lone flag bearer at this late stage of the tournament, but she’s obviously left the game in capable hands while she basks in the glow of motherhood.

Venus and Sloane earned quarterfinal spots on Sunday night, by defeating Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) and Julia Gorges (GER) respectively, while Madison will attempt to do the same on Monday night, against Elina Svitolina (UKR). The US Open is the most challenging Grand Slam on the calendar, which makes their accomplishment all the more newsworthy.

Venus Williams

There’s just something about competing at home that brings out the best in an athlete and these ladies have tapped into that energy.

Sure, America has its lingering challenges with all the “isms” (racism, classism, ageism, etc), but when it comes to sports, we – for the most part – know how to put our differences aside and “root for the home team.”

The enormous crowd support has been pushing these ladies along as they represent American tennis and fight to hoist the trophy at the end of the week.

Shouts out to CoCo Vandeweghe, Jennifer Brady, and Sam Querrey, our beloved melanin-lite athletes who also remain. But while it’s amazing to see all the remaining American men and women competing so well – and for equal prize money, it’s important to shine the spotlight on these three “black girls rocking” the way they are in professional tennis. It speaks to the strides that have been made in the once inaccessible and unequal sport.

Let’s face it, the ugly biases of society are alive and well; one glance at the various social media platforms or media outlet message boards will attest to that.  In view of that, highlighting those who defy the essence of their toxicity is a necessity. Venus, Madison and Sloane are doing just that.  We obviously still need role models, as long as horrifying headlines about our black youth litter the newspapers and humiliating statistics continue to emerge and cast our race in a negative light.

So, regardless of what happens in the next rounds, we salute Venus Williams, Madison Keys, and Sloane Stephens for flying the black pride banner in New York with discipline and dignity, showing that odds are to be beaten, not embraced.  Venus faces Petra Kvitova (CZE) and Sloane, Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) on Tuesday.  Let’s go!

 

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