Sonne Riley Pens Ode to Serena Williams: ‘Momma Told Me Not to Quit Like Serena’

Sonne Riley records "Serena" poem for ESPN.
Sonne Riley records "Serena" poem for ESPN.

Baltimore singer/songwriter Sonne Riley, who recently released the heartfelt ballad about suicide “Want Love,” is back with another moving reflection. This time he uses Serena Williams’ loss during the U.S. Open semifinals last week that dethroned her from the No. 1 spot to pen a poem about persevering.

In the writing posted on ESPN, Riley, 19, draws parallels to Serena’s rise as a tennis legend to his fight to overcome hardships including being in foster care. He writes that his mother and aunt raised him to endure “like Serena.”

Here’s an excerpt: “Aunty taught me how to conquer like Serena/ Momma taught me to beat my match like Serena/ And if this match I don’t win/ This game ain’t over I’m coming back again.”

Watch Sonne record the poem:

“Serena” lyrics:

For Serena Williams 

9/11 1999 serena won her first one/

9/11 1999 me n mom got evicted again/

well here comes aunty in her station wagon/

in the driver seat where father should have been/

she said you don’t have much/

but you’ll always have us/

wen theres nothin else/

 

not much i can comprehend/

cept mom n aunty love got no end/

shall i find peril later down in life/

i remember their every sacrifice/

n all the strength it took/

to fight everytime the devil wagered war

aunty taught me how to conquer like serena/

momma taught me to beat my match like serena/

n if this match i don’t win/

this game aint over I’m coming back again/

aunty taught me to be strong like serena/

momma taught me not to quit like serena/

n if this match i don’t win/

this game aint over I’m coming back again/

might not had a daddy/

might not had a home/

still i was never alone

had 2 black queens fight for me strong/

like serena williams

 

momma had her flaws of course/

but even the best nets rip on the best tennis courts/

even best the players sometimes fall short/

that don’t mean that its over that your done for/

aunty spent her nights wit a bible under a lamp/

praying god pass a blessing by a back hand/

that one day she might see me again/

when they took me away/

i can see their hurt inside/

no matter how strong those woman were/

they couldn’t stand losing one of theirs/

but even without em i survived/

all cuz the lessons i learned on 9/11 1999

aunty taught me how to conquer like serena/

momma taught me to beat my match like serena/

n if this match i don’t win/

this game aint over I’m coming back again/

aunty taught me to be strong like serena/

momma taught me not to quit like serena/

n if this match i don’t win/

this game aint over I’m coming back again/

might not had a daddy/

might not had a home/

still i was never alone

had 2 black queens fight for me strong/

like serena williams

About Billy J 44 Articles
Billy Johnson, Jr., a former senior editor for Yahoo Music for 17 years, has been covering hip-hop, R&B and pop music since 1991 and has interviewed the likes of Beyoncé, Janet Jackson, Quincy Jones, Kanye West, Eminem and Mary J. Blige. His work has additionally been featured in Vibe, Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, The Source, Upscale and more. Billy has appeared as a music expert on CNN.com, Tavis Smiley, E!, The Insider, BET, VH-1, ABC, FOX, AXS-TV, TV Guide, NPR, KNX, KFI, WCAP, WBZ, among others.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*