Just after Serena Williams won the Olympic gold medal in tennis last weekend, she broke out into a little celebratory dance on the sidelines. And like a lot of what Williams does, her little shuffle became the focus of intense scrutiny.
When the sideline reporter asked her what the celebratory jig was, Williams played coy. “Actually, there is a name. But I don’t know if I — it’s inappropriate,” she said. “It’s just a dance we do in California.”
That extemporaneous dance — known as the c-walk, or "Crip walk," after the notorious street gang that created it — was seen by some as glorification of gang culture.
"You couldn’t help but shake your head," wrote Reid Forgrave at Fox Sports. "It was as if Serena just couldn’t seem to avoid dipping into waters of controversy even as she’d ascended to the top of her sport."
Both Serena Williams and her sister, Venus, grew up and learned to play tennis in Compton , CA, a city which has become notoriously synonymous with the wider culture of gangs and gang violence. The dance has become more visible outside of gang circles through frequent references in popular culture.
The pop culture writer Jawn Murray, Trymaine Lee of the Huffington Post, and the tennis player Gabrielle Clark all sat down to discuss the propriety of Williams's dance choice and sports celebrations, in general.
What do you think of Serena's dance? Does it glorify gang culture? Or was she just having fun?