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  • Writer's pictureDr. Tyffani Dent

Protesting Injustices While Still Loving Sis: Serena, Naomi and Coco

Over the weekend, there was a tennis match-up between the future of Women’s Tennis that involved two Black Women (Naomi Osaka-Haitian/Japanese and Cori “Coco” Gauff-African-American). The hype of the match-up was only secondary to that of its aftermath. In the 21 year-old Naomi’s defeat of the 16 year-old Coco, Naomi hugged the understandably crushed younger woman, offering her words of encouragement, praise for her performance, and sharing the mic.

This was “black girl magic”

This was what we as black women do

Yet, some used this as an opportunity to denigrate Serena Williams, claiming that she could have learned about sportsmanship and compassion from the younger Naomi---citing Serena’s own behavior when she lost to Naomi prior.

This is where nuance matters

Serena’s outrage during that match squarely centered on those refereeing the match and what she viewed as problematic enforcement and calls

When the crowd booed Naomi at the end of the match

Serena embraced her

Serena insisted that the world recognize Naomi’s victory

Serena stepped into that space that many black women are forced to occupy

She voiced her concern with the unfairness of the system

While at the same time

Supporting and loving on Sis

It is what we do

It is what we need to do

Some don’t get it

Some assume that our arguing about systems, issues, businesses, etc. that are problematic for black women but may also employ or elevate some black women

Somehow means that we, as black women, are choosing not to celebrate our sisters

That it is A Betrayal

Instead of the essence of our very survival

Trust, we can and often

Do both at the same, damn time

We can challenge how colorism results in making space for commentary by Angela Rye and that her anger/indignation is somehow “less threatening” than those with darker skin

While still co-signing and elevating her voice as she speaks for us

We can demand Starbucks implement policies to protect black patrons after employees at a Starbucks racially-profiled customers and called the police on them for Waiting on Coffee While Black

While also cheering Rosalind Brewer, the first Black COO of the company

We are able to side-eye magazines such as Playboy for its misogynistic history even when it features interviews with Tarana Burke

While still supporting the work of Tarana and insisting that the black girls for whom she founded it, are not de-centered

We can challenge the political parties that take our votes for granted

While still campaigning for


& Ayanna

It is not either/or

Serena got it

Many others do not

We will not and cannot let injustices “get a pass” because they are somehow intertwined with our sisters

But we can

And do

Still love



Cheer for

Campaign for

Our sisters who occupy those spaces

In this multi-tasking

Don’t get it twisted

At the heart of it all,

It is all about having our sisters’ backs

In their current victories

And in the needed ones in the future

And for our Future

Dr. Dent is a licensed psychologist. Her hardest job is being a Black Woman who centers the experiences of Black women and girls. She is a firm multi-tasker---always being mindful to love on her sisters

Note: She still struggles with the term “black girl magic”---see her previous post “I am not Magical” for more on this.

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