Serena Williams will appear in an ad during this year’s Super Bowl, with the all-time tennis great set to deliver a message calling on women to “make the first move — in life, in love, in business.”
The ad for online dating app Bumble, titled “The Ball is in her Court,” is directed by award-winning filmmaker A.V. Rockwell — a young and upcoming director who is known for her unflinching takes on the intersectionality of racism and poverty for poor black Americans. Last year, just four Super Bowl ads were directed by women — all of whom were white. By comparison, 42 men also directed ads during the marquis sports event, which is considered by many to be the most important advertising opportunity of the year.
“We’re living in a world and society where people are starting to see differently and starting to understand that we are just as strong and just as smart and just as savvy and just as businesslike as any other male in this world,” says Williams in the upcoming ad.
Williams, who now serves as Bumble’s global ambassador, has been characterized by the company as “the ultimate mover.” According to Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herde, dating apps have a lot to prove at a time when “the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have put sexual harassment and gender discrimination at the center of the cultural conversation.” Featuring socially-conscious and active women like Williams and Rockwell, she noted, was a means of demonstrating the company’s sincerity.
“I’m more dedicated than ever to helping advance gender equality — and putting an end to the misogyny and toxic masculinity that still plague society,” said Herde. “We don’t tolerate hate speech or bad behavior of any sort; Bumble is a platform rooted in kindness and respect.”
Williams has long been outspoken about the racial and gendered bias she has endured both on and off the court.
“I’ve never been the right kind of woman,” she said in ad that aired for Nike during the Academy Awards last year. “Oversized and overconfident. Too mean if I don’t smile. Too black for my tennis whites. Too motivated for motherhood. But I am proving, time and time again, there’s no wrong way to be a woman.”
During the Australian Open this week, she took to Twitter to send a similar statement of empowerment.
“Equality isn’t a game,” she wrote. “But achieving it will be our greatest victory. That’s why we keep playing until we all win.”
Watch a sneak peak at Serena’s Superbowl Ad below.
Read the full story at The Washington Post.