A beautiful passage from professor, author, and all around genius Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom on Venus and Serena Williams. It is a powerful thing to name what it means and looks like to see yourself in the details of champions who are larger than life, in part because they are just like you.

“They were Black. They were working-class. They were dark complexioned. And they had those beaded cornrows. None of these factors can be overstated for what they communicated to those of us versed in the visual code of Blackness. They are as intricate as quilts and carry as much history in every woven stitch. Those braids said that these were girls who spent hours sitting between some Black woman’s knees, playing hand games and telling stories as beads were woven through cornrows. We may not have heard as much about the girls’ mother as we did their very public father, but those braids said everything we needed to know. They were Black like how I was Black.”

Read “Venus and Serena Williams on Their Own Terms.”

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