After Serena Williams' gold medal singles victory against Maria Sharapova on Saturday, she took a moment to do a celebratory dance. Through the power of Twitter, it soon became public knowledge that the dance was The Crip Walk, created in the 1970's by gang members from Compton. American media began reporting on it, with many speaking against her choice of dance moves. After her subsequent women's doubles win alongside her sister Venus, many news outlets readdressed the dance, expressing that they were relieved that she did not do it again.
Most of the news outlets reporting that Serena's victory dance was the gang affiliated Crip Walk failed to provide basic facts that would have alleviated concerns over the dance being gang related. It is hard to determine if this is a race issue or just another case of generational gaps causing confusion among well-meaning Olympics' fans.
As I stated before, The Crip Walk originally had gang ties. However, it hasn't been relegated to gangs since it got nicknamed "the C-walk" and became a mainstream phenomena years ago. It was so mainstream that even Justin Timberlake did it at a 2007 show at the Staples Center.
The Crip Walk has no gang affiliation when it is done solely as a dance, mostly because Crips use the dance to spell out the name of their set with their feet. Serena only did the dance for a few seconds, which means she didn't even have time to spell out "USA."
Further, her dance could also have fallen under the category of The Clown Walk or The Crown Walk, both of which are evolutions of The Crip Walk but without any gang ties.
I think the bigger issue here is the fact that America seems to have a problem with African Americans who are in esteemed positions embracing any aspect of urban culture. The reality of the situation is Serena Williams won a gold medal for her country, and the neighborhoods in which she learned this dance move are a part of that country. Personally, I have a hard time understanding why any die-hard Olympics fan in America would be more concerned about her dance than they are about the gold medal she won for our country.