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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Victory Walk?

This morning (here in the Eastern US, at least) Serena Williams bested Maria Sharapova to win gold in women's tennis. Following her victory, Serena hit the C-walk on the court.

Via Bleacher Report
I wasn't watching the match, but upon hearing this, my immediate thought went to its significance. The C-walk--and let's call a spade a spade, the Crip Walk--is a maneuver originated by and associated with the Crips street gang. Knowing that Serena lost her sister to gang violence, I dug a little deeper and learned that it was a Crip who was convicted in her sister's death.

Wow.

Noting this incongruence, I said something about it on a couple of social media outlets, including the following on Twitter:

"Serena glorifying the gang that killed her sister on the international stage is an unfortunate consequence of gang culture going pop."

I got accused of reaching on that tweet by more people than typically pay me any mind. I'm glad to listen to those who thought I was, but I don't see it. While it has certainly gained its pop appeal, the C-walk's gang past isn't at all far behind it. To me, this isn't the case of taking something that once had meaning but had been so far removed that its history was largely unknown. It's still alive and well, especially in Williams' home of Compton. So while my 140 character statement may have oversimplified things--I'm sure that when spontaneously breaking into dance, she wasn't intending to glorify gang life--I don't think it is by any means a stretch to associate the Crip Walk with the Crips.
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