Posts Tagged ‘Serena Williams’

Why Venus and Serena will not Support a Movie Disrespecting their Father

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Venus and Serena Williams have chosen to withdraw their support for a movie that chronicles their rise from Compton to their current super stardom as tennis and fashion “it girls”.

As is characteristic of the Williams sisters, they have not been vocal about the documentary nor their reasons for not supporting it. It is being reported that Venus , specifically, is the one who saw the movie and did not approve of how it depicted their father, Richard Williams. Venus is said to have requested that the movie makers make some changes to the movie because it suggested that their father was too controlling and even suggested that he was a womanizer because he allegedly has other children that he had out of wedlock. Even after the changes, the sisters have still chosen not to support the movie.

What I respect about the Williams sisters is that they are standing by their father even though that could mean a dent in their pockets. We can not know for certain how much of what the movie is suggesting about their father is true, but I reckon that even if it were all true, the sisters would still refuse to support it.

The lesson that I am drawing from the sisters is that a man does not have to be perfect for you to love him, respect him and be loyal to him. In fact, if that were the case, none of us women would be able to love any man!

I was born and raised in Botswana and am now married to someone who was born and raised in the U.S. so I have had the privilege of observing how our two cultures agree and how they differ. What I love about the stance that Venus and Serena took is that it reminds me of what I grew up experiencing and what in my observation is slowly slipping away in the culture that I have now become a part of, American culture.

A strong family unit is sustained buy BOTH a strong man and a strong woman. It saddens me to continue to see Black men and Black women throw mud in each other’s faces instead of recognizing each other’s short comings and stepping up to support and encourage each other where the other falls short.

I am not saying that we should be entirely accommodating of each other’s bad behavior, in fact, I believe that we should all hold each other accountable. That being said, I believe that we can hold each other accountable away from the public eye. In Tswana (from Botswana) culture, it is common for a woman to disagree with her husband and even at times give him a “tongue lashing” but as wives, we are advised to do so away from the public eye, preferable behind closed doors and preferably behind the bedroom door.

Too often I hear women complain about how “sorry” some men are and they list all the things that they have failed to do. While all that may be true, what good does it do him, or anyone, for that information to be taken and splashed across the tabloids? What good would it do if a movie was made and the movie showed a man’s shortcomings? Yes, there may be a few dollars to be made, maybe even a lot of dollars, but is it really worth it? I say: no.

I can’t be certain what part Oracene Price, Venus and Serena’s mother, played in their decision but I reckon she has a similar feeling about the situation. I reckon she raised her daughters to love and respect their father, even though her relationship with him took a different turn that what I imagine they had originally intended.

I am a woman so I can directly say this to my sisters: If you ever wonder why “brothers won’t commit”, consider that maybe they have lost confidence in marriage because women like Venus and Serena are so rare nowadays. Maybe they don’t believe that they can find a woman who will see all their shortcomings and rather than use them to attack and bring them down, that woman will be a supporter and encourager.

For all we know, every piece of dirty laundry the movie wants to air about Richard Williams could be true.We do also have to consider, though, that maybe it is not. What we do all know is that Richard Williams has invested a tremendous amount of blood, sweat and tears into his daughters. Yes, they are talented and skilled but I don’t believe that they would have achieved international tennis stardom had it not been for his investment in their lives. That, I believe is what Venus and Serena choose to focus on and celebrate.

Should we hold our men accountable and tell the truth? Absolutely, but a movie premier is certainly not the time and place to do so and I applaud Venus and Serena for recognizing that and standing on that principle.


Nomalanga helps Black Women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , Assistant Professor of Professional Studies and the reigning Mrs Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s blog at successfulblackwoman.com

Originally Posted at YourBlackBloggers

Nomalanga: Gabby and Serena, You Are Not Your Hair

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

There has been so much talk about Gabby Douglas, the Olympics super star who has won Gold more than once at the tender age of 16. Unfortunately, while most of us celebrate and applaud her, there have inevitably been a few who have attempted to cast a dark cloud over Gabby’s bright shining star by talking negatively about her hair.

Serena Williams, who has had her share of criticism about her hair, spoke up for Gabby saying that talking about the teenage super star’s hair was “ridiculous”.

It seems obvious to most of us that the skills and talent that both Douglas and Williams bring to the bar and the court, respectively, have nothing to do with their hair, but yet we have seen more headlines, in the past week, about Douglas’ hair than we have seen about her skills and talent.

So, why the obsession with her hair? Well, I’ll be honest; when the Williams sisters first became tennis stars, I did notice that their hair was a little “unkempt”, if you will, but it was usually a passing thought. My primary focus, if I said anything about them, was usually an expression of extreme admiration for their superior tennis skills and the grace and dignity with which they carried themselves. The difference, I believe, between me and those that talk about Serena or Gabby’s hair is that I am able to shift my focus to what matters and dismiss what doesn’t and they apparently are not able to.

After years of watching them, I became vocal about how I loved that the Williams sisters were purposefully “different”. They would wear outfits and jewelery on the court that many uptight and narrow minded tennis enthusiast frowned upon and even ridiculed under their collective breath. No one can forget the tight, black Puma one-piece Serena wore years ago that stirred up the tennis world. I was one of the people who applauded Serena for daring to be bold and audacious and I still stand by her in her choice of outfits and even her sometimes bold jewelery choices.

Serena basically says, without saying it, “I’m ME-deal with it!” I love that about her.

Gabby on the other hand, is still young and may not have found her own unique voice but I hope that with time, she will learn to say “NO” when they ask her to try and style her hair in a hair style that was clearly agreed as the “official” hair style for gymnasts when there were few or no black women on the gymnastics team or in gymnastics overall.

As black women, we are only “our hair” to the extent that we agree we are. I’m not saying that we should all be walking around with various degrees of curly hair Afros, in an effort to show the world that we love ourselves. We don’t have anything to prove with our hair. Personally, as a Black woman, I love rocking all kinds of styles from the more natural ones to the super straight wigs and weaves; like I said, we have nothing to prove with our hair.

I wish people would not focus on our hair, but they do and that may never change. Our success as individuals comes from not letting that misdirected focus take over our emotions and actions. To Gabby and Serena, I say: YOU ARE NOT YOUR HAIR. None of us are.

Nomalanga helps Black Women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , Assistant Professor of Professional Studies and the reigning Mrs Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s blog at successfulblackwoman.com

Originally posted at Your Black World.