Serena Williams Narrates Nike's 'Dream Crazier' Which Celebrates Trailblazing Women
Serena Williams made not one but two appearances at the Oscars on Sunday. The tennis champion not only presented the A Star Is Born performance during the ceremony - she also featured in the new Nike 'Dream Crazier' ad that featured as well as the tennis ace gymnast Simone Biles, fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, the US women's national soccer team, and other trailblazing female athletes.
The advert seeks to shine a spotlight on the negative words that have historically been used to describe women when they fail to conform. And it's being celebrated as a hugely important PSA.
Her voiceover begins: "If we show emotion, we're called dramatic. If we want to play against men, we're nuts. And if we dream of equal opportunity, we're delusional.
"When we stand for something, we're unhinged. When we're too good, there's something wrong with us. And if we get angry, we're hysterical, irrational, or just being crazy."
Williams, who in the past has been the subject of gendered and racist criticism, was the obvious choice for this female-power focused ad.
In September, Serena was punished for snapping at an umpire during a match - something that male tennis players regularly get away with.
A month before, president of the French Tennis Federation banned catsuits from the tennis court after Williams wore one during a match, saying her ensemble "went too far" and implying that she disrespected "the game and the place."
Serena Williams is serving looks today. Her outfit for the Vanity Fair post #Oscars party. pic.twitter.com/4q9cfegase
- Nikhila (@kokudum) February 25, 2019
But this isn't the first time Serena has starred in an empowering ad. She appeared in a Super Bowl ad earlier this month for Bumble focussing on empowerment and featuring archived pieces of footage showing her triumphs on the tennis court over the years.
Serena Williams is here and looks absolutely fierce. #Oscars pic.twitter.com/0kGBfICcUf
- Nikhila (@kokudum) February 25, 2019
In the voiceover, the 23-time Grand Slam title winner can be heard telling viewers: "The world tells you to wait; that waiting is polite and that good things will just come.
"But If I had waiting to be invited in...I never would have stood out.
"If I waited for change to happen, I never would have made a difference. So make the first move.
"Don't wait to be told your place, take it. Don't wait for people to find you. Find them. In work. In love, in life."
The Nike ad is part of a new marketing strategy for the brand: using social justice to sell trainers and workout gear.
Nike's 2018 ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback known for kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality, is another example.
The ad inspired a conservative boycott of the sportswear brand, which backfired as Nike's stock soared after the ad launched.
This latest ad, which stars Williams and other female athletes, including Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, suggests that Nike is fully embracing female empowerment - and hiring the biggest sportswoman in the world can't hurt either.
Twitter users were quick to praise the brand for their empowering message.
My daughters mesmerized by the Serena Williams Nike commercial. Please play this often. #Nike pic.twitter.com/zjS80oNpLG
- Pete Koblinski (@koblinski) February 25, 2019
One tweeted: "Showed my youngest daughter the @Nike commercial below & asked her what it meant to her & she said "It tells me it doesn't matter who thinks you're crazy because women can do anything they set their minds to."
Me watching Serena William's Nike commercial #Crazy pic.twitter.com/5GgmEH297o
- :blue_heart::flag_gt::flag_us::heart: (@Achewchena) February 25, 2019
Featured Image Credit: Nike