In what must be the most spectacular, and spectacularly moving, "mash up" of all time the BBC's VT of Serena William's Wimbledon Final and her reading of Maya Angelou's "Still I Rise" talked to so much more than a triumphant sporting career. It talked to the , critical strength of the spoken word, and the power individuals have to wield it with perfection.
Watch it here (and prepare to be moved): http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/36754759
Set against a the bizarre backdrop of rioting in Dallas, "Trumphiant" rallies, bombs in Iraq and a Britain reeling and realigning post-Brexit, the heightened impact of of Serena's reading of Maya's phenomenal poem was breathtaking. A powerful serve into the ace game that became her record breaking 22nd Grand Slam win.
The combination of Maya's eloquence and Serena's focused reading, is a reminder of the good words can do, of their ability to tendril through our ears, rest into our thoughts, stop us sharp, to shape how we think.
In a world (and a profession) where words are valued by number, where speed is of the essence, where soundbites and hashtags thrive and we are limited to 140 character understanding, the long, slow drawl of "Still I Rise", the overt political statements, the slam of each syllable gives a rare moment of pause and, in pausing, we hear more.
So I call on us all to harness the power of words, write elegantly when ever we can, to use the strength we all have, and remember that words are not just for now, they can be forever.
And here are some words to remind you why:
Still I Rise (1978)
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard‘
Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
nto a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
Wimbledon 2016: Serena Williams recites Maya Angelou poem before final Wimbledon 2016: Serena Williams recites inspirational Maya Angelou poem ahead of final Serena Williams recites her favourite poem 'I Rise' by Maya Angelou before her Wimbledon final with Angelique Kerber. Williams is looking to equal Steffi Graf's open era record of 22 Grand Slam singles titles by beating Graf's fellow German on Centre Court.