“In 2001, Wheaties paid homage to a true champion and an icon by putting her on the cover of a Wheaties Box,” she wrote on Instagram Tuesday morning. “Althea Gibson was the FIRST Black Woman tennis player to be on the box. Today, I am honored to be the second.”
As noted by Newsweek, Gibson became the first Black athlete to win a Grand Slam title in 1956. At age 44, she retired and was inducted in the International Tennis Hall of Fame. She died at 76 after suffering from respiratory failure.
Wheaties took to Twitter to announce Serena’s cover, captioning it: “She’s an athlete. She’s a fashion designer. She’s a philanthropist. She’s a mother. [Serena Williams] is a Champion.”
Fans reacted across social media on how Serena’s Wheaties cereal box was “long overdue.”
“I can’t believe it took Wheaties this long to put your image on the box,” one Instagram user wrote. “Regardless, it’s great.”
“Love overdue,” @athens75 added. “Congratulations! There needs to be a third, fourth and fifth…plus.”
“I’d say this took way too long to happen,” another Instagram user commented. “The GOAT should have been on that box a long time ago.”
“Serena exemplifies all of the personal attributes that Wheaties looks for when choosing who its next champion will be,” said Tiffani Daniels, marketing manager for Wheaties, a brand of Minneapolis-based General Mills (NYSE: GIS), in a company statement. “On the court she has been named the women’s most valuable player seven times, while off the court she uses her voice to inspire and spark change to make the world a better place.”
“I have dreamt of this since I was a young woman and it’s an honor to join the ranks of some of America’s most decorated athletes,” Williams said in her IG post. “I hope my image on this iconic orange box will inspire the next generation of girls and athletes to dream big.”
In her 21-year pro tennis career, Williams has won 23 grand slam singles titles and 14 grand slam doubles titles, and four Olympic gold medals.
Her limited-edition Wheaties box will be available in the U.S. in the next several weeks.