Serena Williams' Crip Walk Controversy as Crazy as Olympian's Dance Skills

Gabe Zaldivar@gabezalPop Culture Lead WriterAugust 6, 2012

Photo Credit: HipHopStan
Photo Credit: HipHopStanMatt Roberts/Getty Images

Serena Williams was found guilty of being an out-of-touch athlete with an affection for gang culture after the media doused her with trumped-up charges. 

Williams had just beaten Maria Sharapova to take the gold medal in singles tennis, and she decided to do a little dance of joy. Unfortunately, it was a rendition of the Crip Walk, also known as C-Walking, and a rather good one in my humble opinion. 

For the time being, you can see the video footage here. 

With a proud smile, Williams goes on to aggravate a bunch of journalists looking to have a good time with words and a faux controversy. 

Fox Sports' Jason Whitlock was outraged over the dance:

What Serena did was akin to cracking a tasteless, X-rated joke inside a church. It wasn’t quite as bad but it was in the same ballpark of the idiot sportswriter who decided to channel Andrew Dice Clay on Twitter the night Jeremy Lin channeled Allen Iverson.

Serena deserved to be criticized and she should’ve immediately apologized. Wimbledon isn’t the place to break out a dance popularized by California Crip gang members. She knows it. That’s why she got embarrassed when asked by reporters to reveal the name of the dance.

Williams did indeed tip toe around the subject when asked in a post-match interview as to what she was dancing.  

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L.A. Times' Bill Plaschke also let his feeling known via Twitter:

Serena C-walking at Wimbledon only shows how long she's been away from home, separated from violence and death associated with that dance

— Bill Plaschke @ LAT (@BillPlaschke) August 4, 2012

And then he followed with this:

Isn't there some kind of dance done by multi-millionaires who live in exclusive South Florida neighborhoods? That's shud be Serena's dance

— Bill Plaschke @ LAT (@BillPlaschke) August 4, 2012

How about we walk a mile in someone else's dance shoes, which is precisely what Bomani Jones states in his column on the matter:

Thing is, we don't know what she was doing, as is typically the case when someone does anything gang-related in sports. As much as people would love to only see gangs through the prism of crime and violence, they mean many things to many people. Where folks like Plaschke saw Serena promoting violence, others could see her simply showing love to where she came from. Right now, none of us know what it really was.

It was a moment of glee expressed through a dance Williams has no doubt done in private with her sister or other close friends, making this an expression of joy. 

Well, that got muddied up real quick. 

The negative criticism has pretty much ruined a beautiful moment most would have passed over, including myself. 

I saw the dance, knew what it was and moved on with my life. There are far more pressing matters at hand than an athlete performing a dance that was once solely attributed to gang culture but has meandered into the great popular culture lexicon. 

Even if you disagree with that, you have to take into account what Jones states. This may not be about a gang culture, but a Compton area Williams grew up in, a tip of the hat to home. 

Then again, this is putting far too much time and energy to a fleeting moment of exuberance from one athlete to the world. 

Even Whitlock admits in his column, Brent Barry once C-Walked in the 2003 All-Star three-point contest. And the torch relay was an Adolf Hitler invention during the 1936 Berlin Olympics

In that case, we took an idea from a horrible man and turned it into something positive and inspiring.

I didn't see controversy until others asked me to see the ugly amid the joy.

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