A tennis player wore a tennis player outfit for a tennis match and thus was the keg of hullabaloo ignited. Why is this such a big deal? Well it isn’t. It’s a small deal, and that is what makes it a big deal. Let me explain simply.
The tennis player in question was the mighty Serena Williams, the Titan of tennis, the closest the world has come to a real life superhero. Serena is arguably the greatest human athlete in the world. It has been posited by wildlife experts that were Serena to be abandoned in the Savannah, within two weeks the cheetahs would have awarded her an honorary doctorate in ‘cheetahhood’ for speed, the lions would have named her honorary lion for power and the giraffes would have given her an honorary giraffe status for grace.
Serena Williams is the actual Black Panther.
And that is where the trouble started.
Around the time that superhero movie came out, The Black Panther movie, a lot of us were excited into adopting aspects of the films icons to express our pride at ourselves. The fake accent, the salute, the phone wallpaper, and we drank a lot of purple juices.
Serena had a tennis match around the time, scheduled for France (as it was the French Open) to which she elected to wear a black cat suit similar to the Black Panther’s uniform.
The French Open, we didn’t know until then, was working hand-in-hand with the Fashion Police to enforce arbitrary and meaningless restrictions on what should or shouldn’t be donned, and they issued a warrant against Serena Pantera.
She tried to explain that while it was true and that they should be afraid that while wearing that suit she will perform almost superhuman feats of tennis, it would not be the suit to credit. The suit simply protects her from blood clotting problems.
Serena, she argued, will kick your butt in a mushanana if she felt like it. It’s not the outfit. It’s who’s wearing it.
French Open remained closed minded about the topic and laid down laws about what can’t be worn at their tournament. No cat suits. Period.
Now we are caught up on the history, let’s bring it to the present.
Serena showed up to play at The French Open.
Yes. She had on technically, regulation attire. The skirt, top and shoes.
But that is like saying she plays regulation tennis because she hits the ball forward.
The outfit was bold, striking, audacious, daring, remarkable, brazen, eh!
Designed by fashion entrepreneur Virgil Abloh, the black and white ensemble even came with a cape with the words “Mother, Champion, Queen, Goddess” in French no less, on its cape. Yes, it has a cape!
Of course she won the match, 6-1 6-0. I am sure her opponent, Vitalia Diatchenko, was able to see the honour in losing to such a finely-attired player.
The French Tennis Federation president, Bernard Giudicelli, had banned her Wakanda suit saying: ‘I believe we have sometimes gone too far.”
“You have to respect the game and the place,” he added, somehow keeping a straight face while speaking of a person who routinely leaves the game in no doubt as to who its ‘daddy’ is.
Seriously, look at the numbers. The game is the one that has to respect Serena.
So they banned plain simple black blood clot prevention suit, and she came back with an outfit that had her CV on it.
Mother, Champion, Queen, Goddess. Basically, she explained herself in simple terms.