American pro tennis player Serena Jameka Williams boasts an impressive resume as the holder of the most Grand Slam titles – with 23 in singles, 14 in women's doubles, and two in mixed doubles.
Now, the 37-year-old star athlete is serving up trailblazing realness by becoming the first black female ever to sport cornrows for the cover of Teen Vogue.
The cover photo was taken by British photographer Ronan Mckenzie of Williams.
The publication proudly tweeted about the milestone. "We put cornrows on the cover of Teen Vogue for the first time in the publication's history." they wrote.
We put cornrows on the cover of Teen Vogue for the first time in the publication's history. Read @dressupwithjess o… https://t.co/hO3uzCF5GS— Teen Vogue (@Teen Vogue)1544635040.0
Teen Vogue's new editor-in-chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner – who at 28-years-old is the youngest black editor of a major publication – spearheaded the decision to feature a black woman sporting cornrows.
In the magazine's introduction, the former Teen Vogue intern explained the impetus for her barrier-breaking decision.
"My mother once told me that to sustain myself in this industry, I would have to be what I needed when I was younger."
"So here we are — Serena in cornrows for the first time on a cover, in conversation with two young black girls just trying to figure out our magic."
Readers were captivated by the stunning cover photo.
@TeenVogue @dressupwithjess @serenawilliams Très belle— Epiphane80@gmail.com (@Epiphane80@gmail.com)1544753336.0
@TeenVogue @dressupwithjess @serenawilliams Gorgeous! That first pic of Serena is #everything !— BossaNovaKitten (@BossaNovaKitten)1544781073.0
@TeenVogue @dressupwithjess @serenawilliams Beautiful— ms G (@ms G)1544724332.0
Yass she is taking it back to her roots with these cornrows! 🙌🏾 https://t.co/1ctK1vHeXy— BET (@BET)1544654761.0
@ajplus @TeenVogue Well done, @TeenVogue, well done.— Flose Boursiquot (@Flose Boursiquot)1544659757.0
@ajplus @TeenVogue "BEAUUUTIFUL And ELEGANT"~ #TweeetOnes— EnigMAA (@EnigMAA)1544664260.0
@ajplus @TeenVogue She looks amazing and fierce. Love it❤️— Bonnie Edwards (@Bonnie Edwards)1544658525.0
Others wondered why it took so long for this overdue achievement.
@ajplus @TeenVogue The first time in history? imma need America to do better wtf— 𝐒𝐮𝐛𝐮𝐫𝐛𝐚𝐧 𝐁𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝐆𝐢𝐫𝐥™ (@𝐒𝐮𝐛𝐮𝐫𝐛𝐚𝐧 𝐁𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝐆𝐢𝐫𝐥™)1544660369.0
@TeenVogue @dressupwithjess @serenawilliams About time.— Warm Quilt (@Warm Quilt)1544670671.0
@TeenVogue @dressupwithjess @serenawilliams What took you so long?— Morgan: A Citizen (@Morgan: A Citizen)1544733852.0
Williams joined a conversation with the editor and gun control activist Naomi Wadler on why it is important to take risks and speak out about being women of color.
Wadler said having a platform, like Williams and Wager, to speak on is helpful "because not everybody has those platforms, and so part of that is being able to lift up other voices, and so that it's not just somebody who is famous, or well known, or just a public figure."
Williams described having a platform as an opportunity to influence and inspire others.
"We're in a position where we have the opportunity to use our status and our social network, and to use different platforms that we are on and that we can talk about it, 'cause a lot of people see what we post and see the things that we write."
"And although it's so fun to have the opportunity to post lots of fun things, I also find it really important to post and talk about real items that affect us on a day-to-day basis."
When Wagner asked the women about the importance of featuring women of color and giving them a chance, Williams said it was about starting a conversation.
"If you are just reading about it or maybe not knowing about it, then you can't make a change. It's definitely important to have that conversation, and then encourage people to support each other. Especially as women of color."
"We really have to support each other. I always like to say that women really should support each other, because the success of one woman should be the inspiration to the next. If we look at it that way, there would be so much more that we can accomplish."
Williams put the ball in our court, and it's up to us to keep the momentum going to support women of color.
Now, let's get to talking.