Watch: Serena Williams narrates powerful Nike ad celebrating ‘crazy’ women in sport
25th Feb 2019
Sports brand Nike has released a new commercial for its ‘Just Do It’ campaign that focuses on discrimination against women in sport.
Narrated by tennis great Serena Williams, the ad features a range of women who have broken barriers in sport; including gymnast Simone Biles, the US women’s soccer team, and track and field star Caster Semenya.
The ad also places a focus on Katherine Switzer who was the first woman to ever run the Boston Marathon as a numbered entrant. During the race, the marathon officials attempted to remove her from the course but she prevailed and completed the race.
“If we get angry, we’re hysterical”
In the ad which debuted during last nights Oscars, Williams says: “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.”
Related: On Serena Williams and how we police black women’s emotions
Footage of some of the greatest female sports stars is then shown while Williams continues: “But a woman winning a marathon was crazy. A woman boxing was crazy. A woman dunking, crazy. Coaching an NBA team, crazy. A woman competing in a hijab, crazy.”
The ad finishes with Williams reflecting on her own experience, “Or winning 23 Grand Slams, having a baby and then coming back for more. Crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy and crazy. So if they want to call you crazy, fine. Show them what crazy can do.”
It was fitting for the ad to have Williams as narrator, as she herself has been the subject of much gendered and racial criticism. In September of last year, she was penalised on the tennis court for disputing with an umpire during the US Open final. Williams heavily disagreed with the decision saying that many male players had gotten away with much worse in the past.
Since its release last night, the ad has garnered over nine million views on Instagram alone; and the response across social media channels has been particularly positive.
Fine. Show them what crazy can do.
— patricia (@pa_tricianoelle) February 25, 2019
Unlocking the limitless potential in girls is anything but crazy. ? @Nike. #MoreRoleModels https://twitter.com/nike/status/1099723184369152001
— Barbie (@Barbie) February 25, 2019
i am crying hard after watching the new nike ad like THAT is marketing
— shelbs (@shelbyadams22) February 25, 2019
— ?????? (@Achewchena) February 25, 2019
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