The clip shows a 14-year-old Venus being interviewed about facing an up and coming opponent, and the reporter seemed baffled as to why she was so confident. But before he could finish, her father Richard Williams stepped in and stopped him cold.
“I know I can beat her,” said Venus.
“You know you can beat her?” asked the reporter. “Very confident.”
“I’m very confident,” Venus replied and the reporter continued.
“You say it so easily,” he stated. “Why?”
“Cause I believe it,” answered the young prodigy.
That’s when Richard jumped in and seemed to accuse the reporter of trying to shake his daughter’s confidence.
“She said it with so much confidence the first time, but you keep going on and on,” said Richard. “You’ve got to understand that you’re dealing with an image of a 14-year-old child. And this child is gonna be out there playing when your old ass and me gonna be in the grave.”
“When she say something, we done told you what’s happening,” he added. “You’re dealing with a little Black kid and let her be a kid. She done answered it with a lot of confidence. Leave that alone.”
Throughout Venus and her sister Serena’s career, their father has been accused of not only being too tough on them but also being difficult with the media. Others, however, said he was just shielding his girls, so others wouldn’t harm their confidence or focus, which Union seems to agree with.
“The goal was to get @Venuseswilliams to doubt herself,” she wrote. “To not be so confident. To break her. Do not let them break you. And do not let them break our children. Confidence rooted in excellence and by birth right. We were born worthy. Never forget that.”
The goal was to get @Venuseswilliams to doubt herself. To not be so confident. To break her. DO NOT LET THEM BREAK YOU. And do not let them break our children! Confidence rooted in excellence & by birth right. We were born worthy. Never forget that. https://t.co/fC8Kj20Ggn
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) August 29, 2018
Afterwards a lot of people agreed with Union and shared their thoughts on her page.
“Just thinking back to how they tried to paint him as a bad, interfering parent,” one person wrote. “No, Richard Williams knew he had champions and raised them to be the confident, articulate winners they are.”
“He said ‘Black child,’” tweeted someone else. “He wasn’t being naive that the world would try and break his beautiful Black dark children. His honesty and protection and concern over what they were up against is why they are so confident.”
But others disagreed and said the reporter wasn’t trying to rob Venus of her confidence.
“I put myself in the reporter’s chair and can’t say he did anything wrong,” tweeted Aaron Charlow. “A natural follow question would be ‘Why are you so confident’ or ‘Where does that confidence come from?’ I just see it as a journalist doing his job and father/coach doing his. I don’t see any malice in this.”
You can see some other responses to the video and Union’s tweet below.
This is one of my favorite videos, ever. The reporter was so sure that Venus was wrong to be that sure of herself, and I’m glad Richard let him know the deal.
— Tasha J. (@theglossier) August 29, 2018
Her whole body language when she knew daddy got this. Not a care in the world. She’s encouraged, she’s protected. #unbothered
— Ice (@I_said_Uhh) August 29, 2018
I LOVE THIIIISSS! It made me weep, every child should have such a fierce protector!😍
— Christine Pittman (@trubluone) August 29, 2018