After defeating Maria Sharapova to win Olympic gold, Serena Williams celebrated with a dance -- specifically, a Crip Walk, a dance move popularized by the Los Angeles gang of the same name. Whether it was a spontaneous outburst of emotion or a planned homage to her Compton, Calif. roots, it caught everyone by surprise, especially since it occurred in the stodgy confines of Wimbledon's All England Club.
Viewers familiar with the dance move erupted with glee on Twitter, while reporters on the scene -- perhaps unaware of the dance's origin -- were apparently equally amused.
But when asked about the dance, Williams suddenly grew self-conscious. From Reid Forgrave of FOX Sports:
"It was just me. I love to dance," she told a swarm of reporters afterward - every single one of them white. "I didn't know what else to do. I was so happy, and next thing I know I started dancing and moving. I didn't plan it. It just happened."
She was pleading ignorance. She knew that even associating the word "Crip" with a gold-medal performance could be toxic to her image, even if the dance itself is now distanced from those gang roots. A reporter asked what the dance was called. "The Serena?" the reporter suggested. "The Wimbledon?"
Serena just stared at the ground, embarrassed.
"Actually, there is a name. But I don't know if I - it's inappropriate," she dodged. "It's just a dance we do in California."
But should Williams be embarrassed? Despite its unsavory origins, the dance move now belongs to pop culture. Refusing to acknowledge such context is as asinine as it is offensive.