The movie King Richard is currently at theaters and on certain streaming services. It chronicles the journey of Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena Williams, as he guides, trains and basically indoctrinates them into becoming the pre-eminent tennis champions they are today.
As with most stories based on real life, there are those who are not satisfied with the finished product. Venus and Serena Williams have signed on to it as executive producers. However, Richard Williams had a family of five children (six if you count his first wife’s daughter from a previous relationship) prior to meeting and marrying Venus and Serena’s mom. Sabrina, the eldest daughter from Richard’s first marriage, has been making headline news as she disparages the movie for not portraying her father, Richard Williams, as having abandoned his first family and pretty much ignoring the children he had from that marriage.
There is no way I would ever deny or negate the pained emotions of an abandoned child. Her feelings are her feelings, and that’s just how it is. So I have no problem with whatever Sabrina Williams wants to say. And while the accusations she makes against her father are horrific, it still does not negate what he was able to accomplish with her sisters, Venus and Serena. But his personal luster has definitely been tarnished by what she said. And there have been news reports that state Richard’s autobiography, written several years ago, basically overlooked the first set of children, too, with the exception of mentioning one of the sons. And it does leave one to wonder why he took care of one set of kids while ignoring the others.
According to different news sources, Richard currently has a number of health issues. We don’t really know the true state of his well-being, so the media can’t pry and ask him to comment on his eldest daughter’s accusations. Nor is it Venus or Serena’s obligation to respond. However, the underlying hurt articulated by Sabrina illustrates some of the major problems that exist in the Black community to this day. Children abandoned by parents who made them and didn’t take seriously their obligations to rear them. Siblings who have different fathers but the same mothers tend to be closer with one another because they are raised together, as opposed to siblings who have different mothers but the same father. The onus is always on the father to bring all his children together.
I still plan on seeing the movie. I am sure they’re going to be a lot of positive aspects that I can take away from it. But even without seeing the movie, the reality of the importance of fathers is not or should not ever be negated.
A father can turn his daughter into a tennis champion, or turn her into a wounded, hurt individual.
Fathers, please do better so that your children can be better!