A lot of Black people have criticized tennis champion Serena Williams and her sister Venus Williams for marrying and dating White men, instead of sticking with Black brothers. The mother-of-one has now explained her reason for marrying Alexis Ohanian.
She said in an interview with The New York Times that she married Alexis because love “has no color”. She added that she wanted to be with someone who treated her nice and Alexis was that someone.
Serena’s private life will soon be made public with the premiere on Wednesday of a five-part series on HBO called “Being Serena”. The series tracks her pregnancy, her life-threatening postnatal problems and her comeback.
In the docuseries, Serena expressed surprise that she and Ohanian “are such a good fit.”
She said: “I’m an athlete. He’s a business guy. I’m black. He’s white. We are totally opposite. I think we just complement each other. I think we understand hard work in different ways.”
Serena Williams’ marriage to a White guy might come as a surprise to anyone who has read her father Richard Williams’s 2014 memoir, “Black and White: The Way I See It”. The book captured how much resentment he felt about the racism he faced growing up in the American South and how intent he was on preparing his tennis-playing daughters to handle being outsiders in a predominantly white sport. Racist comments that he said he heard at the tournament in Indian Wells, Calif., in 2001 were a big part of the reason Serena and Venus Williams boycotted the event for more than a decade.
Christopher Clarey, The New York Times sports columnist, asked Serena, who had dated black men and white men, what message her marriage to Ohanian sent and she replied:
Oh my God. Literally all I tell Alexis is, ‘well, you know, there’s such a difference between white people and black people.’ He always gets to hear about the injustices that happen; that wouldn’t happen if I were white. It’s interesting.
I never thought I would have married a white guy, either, so it just goes to show you that love truly has no color, and it just really goes to show me the importance of what love is. And my dad absolutely loves Alexis.
Ultimately I wanted to be with someone who treated me nice, someone who was able to laugh with me and someone who understood my life and someone that loved me.
She added, “And you know, I’m sure there’s other people out there,” she paused for effect and then laughed. “But you know, Alexis is the one I connected with, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”