Not sure if this has been posted, but it's an interesting perspective
Early 20 years ago, an unknown father stood on a crumbling tennis court in Compton, Calif., and told his little daughter Venus that she was going to be one of the best tennis players in the world. This was a bold prediction, for the father who was a neighborhood tennis coach and he knew that the odds of this happening were astronomical. After all, no Black person had dominated the game of tennis since Arthur Ashe won Wimbledon in 1975, and no Black woman had won a major tournament since Althea Gibson won the U.S. championships and Wimbledon in 1957 and 1958.But as it turned out, the father (aka Richard Williams) knew best.”
The foregoing text was lifted from Kelvin Chappell’s article that appeared in the June, 2000 edition of Ebony Magazine and has been paraphrased in articles that appeared in at least two editions of African American News & Issues. Ironically, or perhaps several magazines, including Sports Illustrated chose June (the month that Father’s Day is observed), to grudgingly give Richard his props. But, a lot of things can change for better, or worse in three years. It definitely has gotten better for Serena who is being called the greatest female athlete who ever lived and, in her own words is, “Having a ball,” and is enjoying ever moment of being the number one female tennis player in the entire known, civilized universe.
Nevertheless, the bitter often comes with the sweet, insofar as the clannish Williams family, that took on the whole sports world and won, is no longer a close-knit family. In fact, it isn’t even a complete family any longer, now that Oracene Price no longer answers to Mrs. Richard Williams. As proud as we were of the Williams clan, insofar as he had become a good role model for African American fathers, who know what’s best for his children—no matter how rich and talented they become—and buck all odds to make sure that whatever happens in their lives and/or careers will be in their best interest. What better example of a dedicated Black father can you find than Richard Williams, who pulled up by his own bootstraps, to raise his five daughters to be fine young ladies?
Moreover, he recognized the talent in two of his girls at a very early age and began to prepare for them to become the best tennis players in the known civilized universe, but more importantly he did it his way. He refused to pimp his girls, after the tennis moguls started seeing dollar signs rather than two sensitive girls who surely would have had their spirits severely wounded, if Richard had made a deal with the devil and allowed them to turn pro before they was able to handle the slings and arrows that a racist society spiritual slay our best and brightest with. Unfortunately, Richard was so busy watching the obvious enemy, he neglected to keep a discerning eye on his woman, who ideally had his back.
Sure Serena is the best tennis player in the world, as we speak and no matter what the ratings project, her big sister, Venus, is a close second. Nevertheless, their world has been turned upside down and the Williams family is no longer a family. Orascene, who graced the cover of Ebony’s May 2003 Mother’s Day edition, was quoted as saying that she is a newborn, searching for a higher meaning, the true purpose of the historical story she has so masterfully mothered. The quote preceded the one that revealed, “Richard Williams, the son of a Louisiana sharecropper, is the architect of the Williams tennis dynasty. He learned to play the country club sport by reading books and watching videos. Williams no longer travels full-time with his daughters.”
Price, who had been happy to remain in the background was often panned by TV camera’s as she sit in the stands—cheering her daughters on—while Richard was rapidly becoming a pariah in the mainstream media. Oracene, who married Richard in 1980, ended their 23-year union (that produced five daughters) in 2002, citing irreconcilable differences. “I was very honest with our children that a reconciliation would not happen. They’ve accepted our divorce and love us, as we both love them. Richard and I will continued to work together for the good of our girls, and I truly wish him well.” Woebeit, we don’t know what happened behind closed doors, the divorce came as no surprise here.
Prophetically a Bud’s Eyeview predicted that Richard’s marriage was in trouble when Oracene suddenly emerged in the grandstand with a blond wig on. Richard, like most fathers disdained the “Hoochie Momma” image that so many African American sisters adhere to, therefore it was obvious that Oracene was leading a rebellion against his Black and Proud philosophy. Shortly after an article revealed that Oracene had called 911 during a domestic disturbance, which is a fact that validated our prophecy. Cutting to the chase, Oracene appears in the May 2003 edition of Ebony, replete with her blond wig and a diamond nose ring. Meanwhile, mainstream America seems much more affable toward Serena, who projects the ghetto image—showing their beauty, highlighted by their booty, than they were toward an almost regal Venus, who looks like an aloof, African princess.
For sure, Richard isn’t well pleased with his women reverting back to their ghetto roots, but since he is on the outside looking in, they no longer has to agree that their father know’s best. Without a doubt the divorce has greatly affected Venus, who has been overshadowed by her younger sister by a divisive media that insists that she is jealous over her little sister’s success, although we recall her saying years ago that Serena would probably get better than her, because she wanted it more and had the “killer instinct” that she lacked. Hey, that’s how Richard planned it and has said many times that his youngest daughter would, indeed, emerge as the super star, “Because she is meaner.”
Nevertheless, Richard obviously know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em, therefore he has quietly stepped back and is watching his daughter’s backs from a distance. Just as Richard wouldn’t put his daughter on the WTA tour until he felt that they were spiritual strong enough to withstand the slings and arrows of a racist society that surely would’ve wounded their spirits, he is very wary of greedy people who will exploit them in any way they can now. And whose to argue with a proud, Black father’s insight. He knew what was best for his daughters, before they became super stars and he still knows what’s best for their image now that they’re on top of the tennis world. Thus, we wish Richard and all the strong, Black men like him a Happy Father’s Day.