The tennis legend with 23 Grand Slam titles to her name, Serena Williams, made history when she turned professional a month after turning 14. Not only was she one of the youngest tennis players in the world but broke down barriers of race and sex in a male-dominated sport from the moment she stepped onto the court. Alongside Venus Williams, the two sisters reigned supreme and were tennis royalty until Serena Williams announced her retirement in 2022.
In the year post-retirement, the athlete had refrained from publicly mentioning or commenting upon the events of the 2022 Oscars involving Will Smith and Chris Rock. But 11 months later, the Williams sister opens up in a segment of CBS Mornings to finally address the issue which has tarnished the evening devoted to the legacy of her family.
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Serena Williams Publicly Comments on the Oscars Slap
Almost a year has passed since the incidents of the 94th Academy Awards. As 2023 offers a new path of opportunities and reaffirmations, Serena Williams, too, finds this the right time to finally and publicly address the events of the night.
“I thought it was such an incredible film, and I feel that there was an incredible film after that with Questlove that kind of was overshadowed. But I also feel that I’ve been in a position where I’ve been under a lot of pressure and I’ve made a tremendous amount of mistakes, and I’m the kind of person that’s like, ‘I’ve been there. I’ve made a mistake. It’s not the end of the world.’ We’re all imperfect, and we’re all human and let’s just be kind to each other. That’s often forgotten a lot.”
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Serena Williams’s comments come in light of her recent interview at CBS Mornings with Gayle King. The film in question, King Richard, brought out in equal parts the story of the two sisters’ rise to destiny and stardom and also reflected on the relentless passion and drive of their coach and father, Richard Williams behind making the dream come true.
The Ripple Effect of Will Smith’s Oscars Slapgate
2022 marked a significant shift in Serena Williams’ life and not merely because of what she termed as ending her career on her own terms. The biopic on her life, spanning the formative years of the Williams sisters, and the driving force that brought their talents to the forefront of global attention, titled King Richard after their father also happened to win the Oscars at the 94th Academy Awards.
It was Will Smith’s first Academy Award but what he took home that night was much heavier than the added weight of the golden statue stating Best Actor on the plaque. The Oscars Slapgate, as it has been unilaterally dubbed since the night of March 27th, 2022, tarnished not only Will Smith’s legacy but managed to drag Serena Williams’ name into the mess and under the spotlight by association when the Hollywood veteran stood up on stage to accept the award a mere half an hour after his public assault on the host and comedian, Chris Rock.
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As for the film’s namesake, Richard Williams told NBC News, “We don’t know all the details of what happened. But we don’t condone anyone hitting anyone else unless it’s in self-defense.” Serena Williams, who was present that night at the Oscars, posted a video later claiming that she was so taken aback and shocked at Will Smith’s actions that she was left gaping and remembered thinking to herself, “I gotta put that drink down.”
Will Smith apologized to the Williams family publicly saying he would “deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us.”
To Chris Rock, Smith has issued numerous apologies, but beyond refraining the on-site officers from arresting the actor on charges of assault on the Academy Award stage that night, there has been no active involvement from Chris Rock toward Will Smith.
Source: CBS Mornings