Serena Williams is stepping outside the tennis court — and her comfort zone — for a very important cause. In a new video clip, the athlete goes topless to encourage women to practice self-care that could help safeguard them against breast cancer.
Standing against a dark backdrop, Williams covers her breasts as she sings the 1990 Divinyls song “I Touch Myself.”
Sharing the clip with her nearly 10 million Instagram followers, Williams wrote, “Yes, this put me out of my comfort zone, but I wanted to do it because it’s an issue that affects all women of all colors, all around the world. Early detection is key — it saves so many lives. I just hope this helps to remind women of that.”
The music video, Williams goes on to explain, is part of the I Touch Myself Project for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which kicks off Monday. The song proves especially poignant when you consider its connection to this disease — Divinyls frontwoman Chrissy Amphlett died of breast cancer in 2013 at the age of 53. Her death led to the launch of the I Touch Myself Project in 2014.
Williams’ version of the ballad is a nod to the campaign’s original video, which featured 10 iconic Australian singers: Connie Mitchell, Deborah Conway, Kate Cerebrano, Katie Noonan, Little Pattie, Megan Washington, Olivia Newton-John, Sarah Blasko, Sarah McLeod and Suze DeMarchi.
Through the video, Williams and the campaign hope to remind women of the importance of doing regular breast self-checks and, if they have any concerns, scheduling an appointment to speak with a doctor.
They also invite others to join the social media campaign by taking a photo of themselves holding their breasts (even over your clothes works!). Participants can then help raise awareness by sharing the photo, along with the hashtag #ITouchMyselfProject.
To learn more about the initiative and other ways you can help, visit the I Touch Myself Project’s website.