Serena Williams was one of the many millions tuning in to watch Oprah’s interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, on Sunday evening.
In the bombshell conversation, Markle revealed she was suffering from suicidal ideation while pregnant with her first child, Archie Harrison, as well as addressing the racist way those in “The Firm” treated her unborn child, such as conversations which expressed “concerns […] about how dark his skin might be.”
Following the two-hour special, Williams took to Twitter to post a tribute to her friend, calling on people to denounce tabloids and for society to address systemic racism at its core.
“Meghan Markle, my selfless friend, lives her life — and leads by example— with empathy and compassion,” the 39-year-old tennis champion wrote just before midnight on Monday evening. “She teaches me every day what it means to be truly noble. Her words illustrate the pain and cruelty she’s experienced.”
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) March 8, 2021
“I know first hand the sexism and racism institutions and the media use to vilify women and people of colour to minimise us, to break us down and demonise us,” Williams continued.
Saying that we have an “obligation to decry malicious, unfounded gossip,” Williams insisted, “The mental health and consequences of systemic oppression and victimisation are devastating, isolating and all too often lethal.”
She continued, “I want Meghan’s daughter, my daughter and your daughter to live in a society that is driven by respect. Keep in your memory the fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Markle and Williams became friends after first meeting at the 2010 Super Bowl in Miami. Williams flew to the UK to attend Markle and Prince Harry’s 2018 wedding and also helped throw her friend’s high-profile New York baby shower.