Serena Williams & Naomi Wadler on Platforms, Power, and Progress – Upspoken

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Serena Williams & Naomi Wadler on Platforms, Power, and Progress


Cornrows on the cover of Teen Vogue? Yep. We’re here for all Serena Williams’ gorgeous cover photos and the inspiring interview. In case you assumed the Teen Vogue Summit wasn’t for you, just know the stage was dripping with #BlackGirlMagic and the gems that come with inter-generational interviews: Lindsay Peoples Wagner, the new editor-in-chief for Teen Vogue and youngest black Editor-in-Chief at a major publication; 12-year-old activist Naomi Wadler, who put everyone on notice during her March for Our Lives speech and; of course, the G.O.A.T., Serena Williams.

These three change-makers discussed everything from how they manage their hectic schedules to how they stand up for themselves and make sure their voices are heard through the noise.

Serena, like many of us, strives for perfection, and even she is giving herself permission to make mistakes. You 👏🏿 betta 👏🏿preach👏🏿. Despite running her own fashion company, being queen of the tennis court, and being a hands-on mom to her daughter Alexis (and Qai Qai), even she recognizes we can’t do it all. “I think it’s really important to realize that no day is going to be perfect,” she said. “For me, that’s really hard because I strive for perfection, and I feel like everything I do has to be great and has to be perfect, because I am a true perfectionist. But that’s impossible. That’s not reasonable. Then I realize that, OK, I had a rough day today, let’s do something to make it better tomorrow.”

With so many different obligations in our lives, it’s easy to get caught up in endless to-do lists. It’s refreshing to hear that even Serena slows down and goes easy on herself.

When asked about her activism and how she encourages people to genuinely engage with social issues, Naomi dispelled the myth of colorblindness. She said that so many people claim they don’t see color to make themselves sound like progressive allies, but she pointed out that this erases Black experiences. “It matters that I’m Black, because I’m always going to be treated differently,” she said. “I’m always going to have to worry every time I’m pulled over. I’m always going to have to worry about coming off as ‘too black.’”

Naomi lifts up just why sisterhood is so essential to build a better world filled with less hate and discrimination, and the realities of today make it even more important that we support one another. The future is looking brighter with girls like Naomi paving the path forward for the next generation of activists.

It’s refreshing to see multi-generational Black women and girls share a stage – especially a high profile one like this. Thank you Serena, Lindsay, and Naomi!

To read the full interview, click here.