Archived: Open Letter To GQ's Editorial Team: Serena Williams 2018 'Woman' of The Year Cover

For the second year in a row, GQ Magazine has selected a woman for its annual Man of the Year issue. Last year’s cover featured Israeli-actress, Gal Gadot. The cover was light and cute. It could’ve been an advertisement for “The Women’s March.” This year, tennis-legend Serena Williams, won the “honor.” Only her cover isn’t a celebration of her athletic prowess and excellence. It’s outright racist.


The “geniuses” at the struggling magazine apparently thought it would be a good idea to put quote marks around “woman.” And I get why. GQ’s readership is down by 33 percent from last year. That’s tough and I’m certain that the publication was trying to think of ways to breathe life back into its lame repertoire of stuff nobody really cares about at Serena Williams’ expense.

I fully expect an editorial team at a Cond Nast publication to know better. After all, they usually have degrees in Journalism, English, Communications or Literature. But, then again, the executive team lacks diversity so maybe it’s par for the course for Cond Nast. It is important to note that the 7-member executive team has only one person of color.

GQ credited the use of “woman” to Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton’s first African-American artistic director, and designer behind Williams’ sportswear. Apparently, his use of quotes is a “thing.”

And that’s cool. But the entire editorial team who approved the usage of “woman” when describing Serena Williams is complete and utter trash. Here’s why:

In most major publications, there’s not one person who approves a cover or written work during the creative process. An entire team goes over a cover with a fine-tooth comb. They mull over EVERY detail before a final approval is given. They agreed to run the cover with Abloh’s “woman.”

Now maybe Abloh doesn’t know the grammatical purpose for the usage of quotes because after all he designs couture fashion. And although that’s his “thing,” adding quotes to woman implies that Serena Williams isn’t a woman. Not a good message for Black women who look up to the superstar. If a Black woman were in editorial, she could have told you that.

This was deliberate.

What makes the offense even more egregious is that it was primarily white men that said this was .OK.

Serena Williams has been constantly targeted by white men AND women. Full stop.

She is the greatest tennis player of all time- male or female. Nobody compares. She embodies Black excellence. That brilliance has entitled, privileged racists and sexists taking shots at her every chance they get.

Williams couldn’t possibly be that great by her own hard work and effort so she is drug-tested more than any other tennis player in the world. Not only is she beautiful, Williams is powerful and strong so attacks on her womanhood are a constant theme. William is subjected to vicious attacks of her race because let’s be honest, many white people, the editorial team at GQ included, are intimidated by a Black woman who is not only a world champion but she got married, started a family, almost died during labor and left the game and came back to kick asses and take names.

No amount of shade can diminish her shine. She is the pinnacle of greatness. And what should have been a celebration of that superiority was cheapened by a mediocre editorial team of jerks.

I’m sure there will be numerous pieces written about GQ today, but it doesn’t change the fact that nobody wants to read this publication.

In other news, Serena SLAYED THAT COVER.

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