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The Williams Sisters are not Gangsters

By Alex A. Alonso
February 6, 2002

serenasisLos Angeles – In a milk ad last year the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena posed showing their white milk mustaches. The ad reads “What’s the best way to toast my sister’s victory? With milk. It has 9 essential nutrients active bodies need. For best results, of course, serve in a silver cup.” The photograph as caused several readers to accuse the Williams sisters, specifically Venus, for being gang affiliated. I received dozens of email asking me what gang sign is Venus throwing up? Is she a Crip? Why is she flashing a “C” with her hand?

Yes, Venus is flashing a “C”, but does that mean she is affiliated with a gang or the Crips? Absolutely not. Many people throw hand signs; in sports, entertainment, hip-hop, and fashion and most of the time these signs and gestures are not gang affiliated. In baseball it is common practice to used hand signs to communicate. The manager of a team will signal to a coach, to signal to a player to execute a specific play. Most fraternities and sororities have hand signs to represent their social organizations and to communicate to other their affiliation. Shaq O’Neal of the Los Angeles Lakers will often flash a sign after a monster dunk, and no, he is not a gang member. He is an Omega, a Q Dog, a member of a Black fraternity. Middlewight champion Bernard Hopkins will use his arms in the shape of an “X” to indicate that he is the executioner of he ring. That does not associate him as a gang member or affiliate of a Hispanic gang in Los Angeles that uses a similar sign.

Flipping through the pages of any hip hop or R&B magazine you will see entertainers throwing up various signs, most of which have nothing to do with being in a gang. The most misunderstood hand sign is the “W” that many west coast rappers throw, including WC, Ice Cube, Mac 10, Tupac (1971-1996), Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog, artists that are known for their gangster lyrics and for popularizing the West Coast form of gangster rap. What many do not realize is that those rappers are not actually Los Angeles gang members as I and most urban youth understand what a gang member is. With the exception of Snoop Dog, who has strong ties to a Crip gang in Long Beach, California, most “LA gangster rappers” are not actual gang members. Many LA gangster rappers have ties to gang members from their communities and may even surround themselves around actual gang members, but most are not gang members or nor do they claim to be in a gang. Tupac was never in a gang, IceCube has no gang affiliation and WC in a recent interview on BET claimed that he was not a gang member, they just take on these traits to create an image, to self promote and sell records. So what does the “W” mean?

Most students of hip-hop already know that the “W” stands for WestSide, or WestCoast, the region where most of this style of rap emerged from. The “W” does not denote any specific gang, but it became popular around 1992 when west coast rappers dominated the rap scene and overall record sales. Beginning with Dr. Dre’s album The Chronic, the west coast domination over New York based rappers created a sharp divide between the two coasts, and the throwing the “W” was to reaffirm that west coast rappers had a following just as significant as the east did and that they were here to stay. Because guys like TuPac and IceCube, famous for their gangster lyrics, were flashing the “W” most people associated that “W” as gang affiliated. But several people from California, actors, singers, athletes, artists including rappers will throw the “W” meaning they are representing California, not a gang, and the “C” that Venus Williams is throwing in that milk ad is representing her home town of Compton.

alexalonso Posted by on Feb 6 2002. Filed under Features, Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

12 Comments for “The Williams Sisters are not Gangsters”

  1. alexalonso
    Eugene Angton

    I believe Ms Williams was throwing a GANG sign and I believe you know that she was doing so. I do not believe she is a gang member or AT LEAST NOT ACTIVE. we SHOULD BE TEACHING OUR YOUTH THAT THEY SHOULD NOT ATTEMPT TO IDENTIFY WITH ORGANIZATIONS THEY DO NOT BELONG TO.

    I DO BELIEVE I VIEWED A INTERVIEW OF ice tea IN WHICH HE DID IDENTIFY HIMSELF AS A GANG MEMBER FOR LIFE. Compton IS A N AREA HIGHLY ASSOCIATED WITH GANGS BOTH BLOODS AND CRIPS…..I DO NOT SEE YOU AS A GANG EXPERT AT ALL,

  2. jASON

    BULLSHIT! THESE GIRLS ARE AFFILIATED. HELL, THEIR YOUNGER SISTER WAS KILLED BY GANG BANGERS!

  3. watitis

    so if a gangster robs and kills some innocent civilian they become gang members??

    you are a stupid idiot

  4. axl6

    maybe just maybe, she’s just holding her sisters waist.
    this gesture is more than likely overlooked.
    unnecessary article.

  5. J Hkood

    Fucc That WC Is Gang. He Dub C From The Crip Gang.

  6. Fucc That WC Is In A Gang. He Dub C. From The Crip Gang. They Got Videos Of Him Doing The C Walk.

  7. It’s in genes. You cannot change one’s genes.

  8. marty

    Baseball signs and gang signs are the same? How stupid. Are the Crips in the American or National league?

  9. Title…

    Hola! I just wanted to send a fast note to say decent blog…it takes a little longer to load than others though!…

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