This evening, the 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams received the prestigious Jackie Robinson Sports Award during the 54th NAACP Image Awards.
After being presented her award by friend and contemporary Kerry Washington, Serena paid tribute to the NAACP, and everything they’ve done in protecting and highlighting Black culture. “I’m incredibly humbled to be amongst some of the greatest names in today’s culture, celebrating those who promote equity through creative endeavors, and this event continues to acknowledge the contributions of those who’ve pursued their craft in television and film, and music and literature, and so much more,” the iconic athlete said after receiving her award.
“It is really a privilege to be recognized alongside some of the sport’s greatest icons and most accomplished athletes, like Lebron James, Michael Johnson, Wilma Rudolph; just to name a few, and many other forces in the field,” she added. “Together we are a team of trailblazers, and we represent what is possible, when you truly believe in yourself, and your potential, and follow your life and passion.”
Williams’ tennis achievements, combined with her off-court success in business, philanthropy and fashion, make her one of the most recognizable icons in the world. In November 2021, Williams served as an executive producer on the Academy Award-nominated film King Richard, a biopic based on her family. In March 2022, Serena Ventures launched its venture capital fund and currently maintains a portfolio of over 60 companies with a focus on diverse leadership.
S by Serena, celebrates body positivity and female empowerment. Williams recently became a published author with the release of her children’s book The Adventures of Qai Qai. In December of 2022 Williams announced that she had teamed up with two CPG veterans to launch Will Perform, a line of clean, cruelty-free topical pain relief and daily muscle care solutions designed to reimagine recovery.
The Jackie Robinson Sports Award is presented to individuals in sports for their high achievement in athletics in addition to their contributions in the pursuit of social justice, civil rights and community involvement, with previous recipients including Steph Curry, LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Wilma Rudolph and Harlem Globetrotters, among others.
“Serena Williams is the quintessential example of Black excellence,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson. “From her record-breaking wins on the tennis court to her business acumen to her philanthropic endeavors, she has set the bar for athletes everywhere. We are proud to honor and celebrate her with this year’s Jackie Robinson Sports Award.”