Serena Williams turned heads when she shared an image of herself in which her face is noticeably lighter than her natural skin color, but when accusations of skin bleaching began popping up online, her fans immediately showed up to start bursting bubbles.
In the now-deleted image of the tennis champion, originally posted May 6, Williams is seated in a gray outdoor chair wearing a black sweatshirt dress and sexy red heeled sandals. While her wardrobe styling and setting were on point, it was her considerably lighter skin tone that caught the public eye.
The conversation immediately turned to the issue of skin bleaching and self-love for some, including celebrity manager Wack 100, whose clients include The Game, Ray J, and Blueface. The industry veteran posted a side-by-side image of Williams, comparing her natural skin tone with the more recent photo, accompanied by a lengthy caption about Black people needing to love each other, and our physical features, better “so maybe we won’t have another one of our public figures trapped in the twilight zone.”
“To each his own but I don’t wanna believe this – And if this picture is authentic I wanna say WE AS A RACE have to look at ourselves,” he wrote. “NO EXCUSES but Ima speak on it. WE are the first ones to make jokes about a BIG NOSE or LIPS or Kinky hair or how BLACK one is. This makes a person say well if this is wrong that over there is right! BEAUTY IS OUR BEAUTY…”
He continued, ” FOR THE RECORD I LOVE US AND WHAT MAKES US US – let’s not bash but learn so maybe we won’t have another one of our public figures trapped in the twilight zone — #HumbllySubmitted”
Many fans weren’t so easily convinced that the record-breaking athlete, who has never shied away from taking pride in her Blackness, has resorted to skin-lightening measures, however. They flocked to Williams’ defense pointing out that the image was simply the result of a subpar makeup team, and that the rest of Williams’ social media proves that she’s still flaunting her beautiful dark skin.
“Maybe she had a bad makeup artist”
“It’s just the makeup!! It happens 🤷🏾♀️🤷🏾♀️People have bad makeup days! Dayum, leave her alone”
“If y’all go to her page y’all will be she is still darkskinned. Also, pic on the left is during summer. Right pic is terrible lighting and makeup. The pic with her husband, if it’s still there, shows better representation. We have to do better with this y’all. Smh she is not bleaching”
“She posted a picture a few days before this one and she looked like her normal self. I think it’s just the lighting, bad makeup, and the unflattering wig. She didn’t bleach because the rest of her body is isn’t normal color.”
Another image of Williams taken the same day with her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, also appears to prove that a combination of lighting and makeup contributed to the skin tone debacle.