Opinion: The best lesson from the film "King Richard" and the lives of Venus and Serena Williams

Roxana Anton

One of the reasons I loved "King Richard", and hope it will receive every possible Oscar, is the fact that it raises the question "do we have the right to live, think, create, or simply - be, on this planet?"

Regardless of skin color, culture, citizenship, religion, etc.

Just the way we are.

Or do we have to pay with extreme hard work and humiliations every single second of this - unrequested - life?

The film clearly shows, straight from the start, how much the Williams family struggled to be how they were. Even to have a dream.

It took great courage and everyday self-sacrifice (Richard was beaten with cruelty and almost killed) to stay away from the gangs of their ghetto, to protect the daughters from drugs, crime, etc.

The fact that Richard rose tennis champions was not only an ambition: it was a necessity to save the lives of them all, to save them from the street.

They had no other choice.

Could the Williams just be how they were: nice, normal people, living a family life, or whatever life they wanted?

It seems that they couldn't.

And this is the situation for many - probably for each of us, even today.

We cannot just be ourselves, in this world. We are forced to become what we are not, in some cases - what we don't want to.

Only for survival purposes.

Which, in my opinion, is crazy.

Serena and Venus couldn't be simple girls, have fun and enjoy life. No.

They had to work extremely hard, to become "the champions". An etiquette that they hadn't even decided.

If Serena, Venus, and the rest of the Williams family had stayed themselves, they would have been beaten, starved, ended up on the street. They would have been at the mercy of "the jungle".

So, they had to become "a prestigious etiquette", only to be respected - which should be a normal right for every being in this universe.

Well, Venus, Serena, and the other Williams family weren't given this right. They had to work harder than anyone, to get it.

And the same goes for many other categories of people, such as, for instance, "the migrants" or the "foreigners".

Societies rarely integrate them.

Yes, they give them the right to work and to have some freedoms, and if they are lucky, maybe society will not aggress them too much.

Are they unlucky enough to have a "different" skin tone, face, eyes, mental, physical abilities, culture, clothes, or anything else? Society immediately bans them as "weird", condemns them to loneliness and depression.

Even to death, with horrible cruelty - see the Nazi Lagers during the Second World War.

Are you any "different"?

If you are lucky enough not to suffer physical abuse, you will be for sure a target for psychological abuse.

Another good film that talks about this is "Joker". The main character suffered so much abuse that he became an abuser himself. Could that teach us anything?

Society abuses you so much that, if you are not careful to preserve mental health, with every possible means, it drives you crazy - or turns you into a criminal.

For me, as I said, one of the main problems that "King Richard" rises is: are we allowed to simply be, in this world?

Could society allow us, please, to have whatever skin color, face, hair color, nails color, body shape, clothes, cars, houses, jobs ... we want or feel (or afford) having?

Could society let us be ourselves? Please?

As long as we try our best to not harm anyone (another endless discussion).

I don't know if we asked to be here.

But since we are anyways...

I think that there is a purpose and that we deserve to be here.

I think every atom of everything is allowed to be here. Animals. Birds. Plants. Fish.

Also, I think we should all feel integrated. "A few rights" for "some people" is simply not enough.


Looking at Serena Williams's "behind the scenes" of her smiling grateful and relaxed, you can still see it on her face.

The exhausting effort she had to put in. How much "fame, fortune, love, and respect" cost her.

In a society that still judges her for her appearance ("she looks so different", "she looks like a man"), it still takes a lot of toughness behind those relaxed, confident poses.

It's the same for every woman out there, who dares to simply be.

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