Black Twitter defends Venus, Serena Williams after critics question ‘King Richard’

'King Richard' has quickly become one of the biggest films of the year, earning rave reviews for critics and Oscar buzz for Will Smith

Loading the player...

After a puzzling hot take circulated the internet, Black Twitter is defending both Venus and Serena Williams regarding the film King Richard and the choice to center their father in this story.

King Richard is one of the biggest films of the year, with Will Smith starring as Richard Williams, Venus and Serena’s father and tennis coach, theGrio previously reported. The film follows the early days of the girls’ career, specifically Venus’ first foray into playing professionally.

While the film has received rave reviews and is even getting Oscar buzz, some people took to social media with different opinions, suggesting that centering the film around their father took away from the fact that Venus and Serena broke barriers as Black women in the sport.

King Richard
Will Smith, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, Jon Bernthal, Tim White, Trevor White, Zach Baylin, Isha Price and Jon Mone attend the UK premiere of “King Richard” at Curzon Cinema Mayfair on November 17, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Warner Bros.)

In a now-viral tweet over the weekend, best-selling author Dr. Jessica Taylor wrote to her followers, “Did they seriously make a film called ‘King Richard’ about the success of Serena and Venus Williams – but it’s about their dad, Richard?” While probably meant well, the tweet eventually picked up steam, earning over 4,000 quote tweets.

For some Twitter users, they immediately questioned the tweet, clarifying that both Venus and Serena are executive producers on the film. One person, who questioned the tweet, was Bernice King, who wrote, “Aren’t Venus and Serena the Executive Producers of #KingRichard? Doesn’t respecting their choice also honor their understanding of their path and acknowledge their power as women? It’s a powerful story. And, holistically, it’s much more important than the title indicates.”

Some users began calling out Taylor, as she is a white person, for not understanding the power of showing positive portrayals of Black fatherhood in Hollywood. Emmanuel Acho wrote, “1: Stop looking for reasons to be mad. 2: Serena & Venus are producers & their thoughts matter most. 3: There’s already a stigma of absent black fathers, yet you’re upset about the presence of one because… Twitter.”

King Richard
Saniyya Sidney, Will Smith and Demi Singleton attend the UK premiere of “King Richard” at Curzon Cinema Mayfair on November 17, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Warner Bros.)

Venus and Serena were recently on Red Table Talk with Smith, where they revealed they did not even sign on to executive produce until they had seen the final version of the film and ensured it was an authentic take on their upbringing, theGrio previously reported.

“For me, I wanted to honor the two of you and to honor your family in a way that will resonate with your heart forever,” Smith shared with them.

Have you subscribed to the Grio podcasts, ‘Dear Culture’ or Acting Up? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!

Loading the player...