Up Next

Serena Williams as a role model

The making of the special ‘Serena with Common’ required true inspiration

There are three odes to Serena Williams featured in The Undefeated In-Depth: Serena with Common. This one, from culture lead Danyel Smith, wonders if Serena Williams is a “role model.”


Conversations with Common: Kasi Lemmons


We don’t need another role model.

We don’t need — even the kids don’t need — someone playing a role, and being all perfect.

We don’t need someone whom we can, quote-unquote, “model” ourselves after.

We need a person who, by the way she lives her life, makes us want to live our best life.

Someone who rocks her confidence right along with her vulnerability.

We need someone who parties, and dances, not as though no one is watching — but as though everyone is.

Someone who is driven by faith as well as her own inner voice.

Someone who is driven to practice as much as she is to winning.

Who values experience over things.

Who lives for family ties, and for sisterhood.

We need someone who parties, and dances, not as though no one is watching — but as though everyone is.

Someone who knows that feeling things intensely is not mark of weakness but of strength.

We don’t need a role model. We need a real person.

Someone who hits hard, and who serves — like there is no tomorrow.

We need a woman who believes in all kinds of love.

We don’t need another hero to emulate.

We need a real champion who by the way she swings her racquet

— and her hips,

and her life

inspires us to grandly slam through challenges and on to victory.

And our own happy dance.

OK. Maybe we do need a role model. If it’s Serena.

Danyel Smith is the Culture Lead at The Undefeated. She loves tangerine sno-cones, listens to way too much music, and misses Oakland every single day.