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Tennis legend Serena Williams drew a star-studded crowd to her US Open first-round match — and possibly last professional tournament – on Sunday night, from former President Bill Clinton and actress Queen Latifah to tennis star Coco Gauff and Fashion Editor Anna Wintour.
So it wouldn’t have been much of a challenge to spot her friend Beyoncé — who was narrating a new Gatorade commercial honoring the legacy of Williams – also in the stands. In fact, some watching at home thought they did.
“#Beyonce at the #USOpen,” tweeted the account @Chonialongside a video of a black woman wearing hoop earrings and a face mask reacting with the crowd.
Only Queen Bey wasn’t. As fans pointed out — and the original poster was quick to point out — the video actually featured Laverne Cox, the actress, Emmy-winning producer, and LGTBQ advocate.
Cox seemed amused by the mix-up and the ensuing reaction, and even reposted the video on her Instagram account.
Cases of misidentification are often not funny. you mostly Plague People of Color in the workplace and in the media, including some recent high-profile cases – one of which involved Williams himself.
The New York Times mistakenly featured a photo of her sister Venus alongside a story about her venture firm, which raised $111 million earlier this year, Ask Williams to share that she is working to support founders who would be overlooked by biased systems “because even I’m being overlooked”.
This particular bug was better received. Cox didn’t just seem to take it lightly, but as a compliment.
Remarkably, Cox has made no secret of her admiration for the pop star. In fact, she had done so just hours before shared a video of herself Preparing for the US Open with a Beyoncé song playing in the background. She has also impersonated Beyoncé in the past — albeit more intentionally — in a memorable lip sync battle performance.
“Everyone knows I live for Beyoncé,” she said said Entertainment Tonight in 2020. “I try not to worship any gods on earth or goddesses, but I do worship Beyoncé.”
Many fans shared this appreciation online and tweeted about how flattered Cox must be. Some even said they saw the resemblance too.
Choni who shared the video first, later wrote that they were beginning to think the mix-up might be “actually fine” but would give 24 hours to see it. So far that seems to be the case.
Sports and culture writer David Dennis Jr. was one of the people who seemed to think so. He named Cox the second-biggest winner of the night (after Williams, of course, who beat Danka Kovinic 6-3, 6-3).
“Laverne Cox…was mistaken for Beyoncé all night” he tweeted. “It’s a career highlight for literally everyone.”
“Absolutely!” Cox agreed.