Serena Williams is a famous celebrity athlete, having risen to the top of the tennis world with dozens of titles, endorsements and millions of dollars in prize money to her name. Though Williams grew up in the United States, many often wonder about the tennis pro’s heritage and whether or not Serena Williams is Jamaican.
Serena Williams is not Jamaican. Though the tennis titan has never revealed her actual heritage, she has hinted at her ethnic roots being in Africa. Despite not being Jamaican, Williams has been spotted in the Caribbean country numerous times.
Read more about Serena Williams career, why she’s often spotted in Jamaica, and the small hint she’s given as to her heritage.
Serena Williams was born in Saginaw, Michigan, but spent her childhood in Compton, California, where she started playing tennis when she was 3-years old. Several years later, the family relocated to Florida so both Serena and her older sister, Venus, could train with the legendary Rick Macci at his tennis camp.
Serena Williams’ pro career began in 1995, shortly after Williams’ fourteenth birthday. By the time a new decade had begun, Williams had won the US Open, and the 2002-2003 season, Williams would accomplish what is now referred to as the “Serena Slam,” winning all four major major tournaments: the Australian Open, the French Open, the U.S. Open, and Wimbledon.
It was the start to an illustrious career, and Serena Williams would go on to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time, having won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, racking up sponsorships and prize money, along with being one of the highest-paid athletes in the world.
Despite all of her fame and fortune, Serena Williams is well known for giving back, and not just by donating money to various causes. Williams is not afraid to get her hands dirty and has partnered with multiple charities and non-profit organizations to help build schools in Africa and Jamaica.
Jamaica is a Caribbean island nation, known for its gorgeous beaches, Blue Mountain Coffee, and of course, being the birthplace of reggae. Despite it being one of the top travel destinations in the world, and it’s economy being fueled by tourism, Jamaica is considered one of the “richest poor nations” in the world, with widespread corruption in the government and poverty-stricken areas lacking in education.
Given that children in many of the poverty-stricken areas of Jamaica do not have access to an education, non-profit organizations like Helping Hands Jamaica are dedicated to “improve the lives of the next generation of Jamaicans and their communities by creating a world-class education system through investment in infrastructure, resource materials and expertise.”
Serena Williams has partnered with Helping Hands Jamaica numerous times, helping to build schools in underdeveloped areas, most recently the Salt Marsh Primary School in Trelawny Parish. Williams traveled to Jamaica and was not afraid to get her hands dirty, with the tennis star taking to Instagram to share a snap of helping to build the frame of a wall, while donning a hard hat and work gloves.
Not only that, but Williams also took time to talk to students and pose for pictures once construction had been completed.
You can watch Serena Williams in action helping to build a school in Jamaica in the YouTube video below.
Charity, however, is not the only reason Serena Williams visits Jamaica. Williams, her friends and family have been spotted there multiple times for vacations as well, often staying in a $20,000 per week beachfront villa in Ochos Rios, as well as visiting Port Antonio. The famed athlete is used to jet setting around the world and Jamaica appears to be a favorite spot for her and her team.
Despite Williams’ close ties both personally and professionally to Jamaica, she has no known heritage from the Caribbean island. In fact, Williams has alluded to her roots being in Africa, when she mentioned part of her reason for learning French was because many people in Africa speak French outside their native languages.
Williams has also helped build schools in Africa, continuing to be charitable globally. No matter where else her non-profit relationships might take her, it’s clear that Jamaica is a place near and dear to her heart.