Serena received the NAACP’s Jackie Robinson Sports Award at tonight’s ceremony, as the organization honors her achievements in sports, business, and philanthropy. For the ceremony at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Los Angeles, Williams and her stylist Kesha McLeod evoked the athlete’s legacy with a custom velvet gown created by Brandon Blackwood.
“We really wanted Serena to feel sexy, confident, and just like powerful,” Blackwood tells BAZAAR.com. “She’s the world’s greatest athlete and she deserves a dress that compliments that. She’s a powerhouse in herself and we just wanted to do something that was equally powerful.”
She previously spoke to BAZAAR.com about her post-retirement plans, as she shifts her focus from tennis to the business side of her career, including her fashion brand S by Serena, lifestyle collection Will Perform, fine jewelry line Serena Williams Jewelry, and capitalist firm Serena Ventures.
“All I have done is work for literally my whole life, and I just started exploring this freedom,” she said. “When people retire from tennis, everyone always says they’re free. So I guess I’m free now.”