Whenever a gangly teenage girl develops into an arresting and grounded young woman literally before the entire world, you have to give that woman credit for doing so with grace and integrity. That’s why it made perfect sense to learn that the YWCA of Greater L.A. recently named Venus Williams a phenomenal woman. She is featured here because her fiance Henry “Hank” Kuehne, a pro golfer on the PGA tour, is white. Here they are in a photo at her college graduation party, or so the credits say.
Ms. Williams holds the world’s #3 ranking in singles and the #1 for doubles. You can read all about her impressive achievements here, and it’s safe to say they put her abreast with the late Althea Gibson, the first AA to join the LPGA tour; the first AA to win a Grand Slam (Wimbledon, 1957) and the late Arthur Ashe, the most successful AA man to play the game. She is super close with her sister and doubles partner, Serena. If you’ve ever watched them trudge onto the court at a Wimbledon or French Open final to play each other for a championship, you can appreciate how much resilience it takes to live their lives.
I’m glad the YWCA has given her this award, because it burns me up the way the media treats this wonderful young woman. No matter how many trash-talking nobodies from Europe try to rip her down or sloppy obnoxious sports fans—who, by the way, would need a respirator to survive one of her routine workouts—savages her publicly, she finds a way to walk through it with her shoulders squared. God bless her, because I would attack back with my most repugnant ‘yo momma’ insults I could dredge up. And these piggish sports writers or “commentators.” Who are they to knock her appearance? If it weren’t for the FIVE pounds of pancake makeup they wear before showing their faces, they would scare children in the streets and cause camera lenses and computer screens everywhere to rupture into millions of teeny shards of glass and whatever poly-chemical coating they have on them. (See what I mean? I blame the Jersey in me.)
One of the reasons she comes under such scrutiny is her fiance. He is white, divorce, has a 5-year-old son and people are just all in a tizzy over that. Who cares? I like the fact that there is scant information about their wedding plans, because it shows restraint and modesty on their part, even though it makes my Latte Cafe hobby a little trickier. In one Web-based thread, a particularly ignorant soul criticized Venus’ decision as some misdirected form of spite against black men. Others took it in stride and said her handful of a father, Richard, probably did a background check on the guy anyway, so she’s probably in good hands. That made me smile, because it’s probably true!
Well, Venus has nothing but my utmost respect and admiration for giving Americans one of two main reasons to watch tennis, along with her sister Serena. Andy Roddick is another draw, but he has yet to break through Nadal or Federer for a Slam championship. You would think this country would thank the Williams sisters properly for giving us such graceful displays of athleticism, years and years of global dominance in the sport, showing us how to respect other people’s cultures—by speaking French when accepting a French Open trophy, for instance—and for growing up as celebrities with no greater scandals than wearing questionable outfits while they pummel some loudmouth from someplace with an inferior game. Well, that last part is not entirely true. Venus was eliminated from the last Wimbledon tourney, after wearing some odd corset creation. It didn’t suit my personal taste, but I can only congratulate the young woman for having the figure to pull it off and the creativity to see it through. Usually, though, they take about an hour to whup their opponents.
And they are role models for young black women in many respects, including the fact that they don’t acknowledge ignorant comments about their love lives. Yes, they are role models for this. Allowing a decent guy to love you and enhance your life is a good thing, if you are mature enough to handle it. His race, ethnicity and nationality are completely irrelevant. Any brother who is not personally interested in them as marriage partners ought to pipe down and go back to doing whatever it is that mean losers like them do other than criticize black women for finding guys who make them happy. Or they might consider erasing mean comments on blog boards, shutting down their computers and doing something meaningful with their lives, like these young women have done.