Serena Williams on the Oscar Slap: ‘I’ve been there… It’s not the end of the world’

Serena Williams gave Gayle King an exclusive interview for CBS This Morning this week. Serena is promoting her Super Bowl commercial for Michelob Ultra, which is just a reminder that even after Serena’s retirement from tennis last year, she remains in-demand for companies and brands. This is one of Serena’s first sit-down interviews since her retirement, and she sounds fine. She has some twinges of regret, but mostly, she’s looking forward to her next projects, including growing her family. Her husband Alexis Ohanian was even included in the interview a little bit, and I’m pleased to say that he still worships her. I’m including the videos of the Michelob commercial and the CBS interview at the end of the post.

When I watched this last night, I was surprised that Gayle was the first person to ask Serena about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars last year. Will was nominated (and he won) for playing Richard Williams, Serena’s father. Serena was there that night in the auditorium when Will slapped Chris Rock. She posted a stunned reaction on her social media right after it happened, but she never condemned Will or said much of anything about what went down. Here’s what she told Gayle:

During their chat, King showed Williams a sweet video of her father coaching her as a child and then segued into “that moment at the Oscars,” asking the tennis star how she felt about the situation, without specifically mentioning the Slap.

“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,” Williams began. “But I also feel that I’ve been in a position where I’ve been under a lot of pressure and 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. So, that’s often forgotten a lot.”

[From THR]

That’s a great perspective and I wish more people had approached it like that – “I’ve been there. I’ve made a mistake. It’s not the end of the world.” The overwhelming majority of Black actors and Black celebrities downright refused to talk sh-t about Will following the slap, and I’m glad Serena isn’t throwing Will under the bus either. A queen!

There’s a lot of great stuff in this interview, like Olympia praying for a sibling, Serena calling Alexis “nerdy” and more.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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17 Responses to “Serena Williams on the Oscar Slap: ‘I’ve been there… It’s not the end of the world’”

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  1. ThatsNotOkay says:

    I love her class. I don’t want to dredge the SLAP up again. I’d rather talk about a white woman campaigning for her star to get an Oscar nom, by telling people not to vote for two Black women. That’s what’s important.

    • Kelsey says:

      OOP! Who did that?!

      • ThatsNotOkay says:

        Mary McCormack, whose husband, Michael Morris, directed To Leslie, in which Andrea Riseborough starred, and was aggressive in campaigning for her, but it looks like the actress Frances Fisher was the one who wrote “Viola, Michelle, Danielle & Cate are a lock for their outstanding work,” and thus, vote for Andrea and not them. And when you reach out to all the white women in the Academy, who then cape for the other white women, you inevitably get the women of color locked out.

      • Isabella says:

        Let’s also blame the many white men who produce the movies, pick the scripts, cast the actors, control Hollywood. I doubt very much they pulled for Viola. I would.

      • Bex says:

        Yes, let’s remind everyone how white women are just like white men, and that’s why white women should not be included in diversity discussions (since they will rally around each other to exclude people of color). Just like their white male counterparts.

  2. Ang says:

    I love her for admitting mistakes — even big or somewhat violent ones — happen, and we can learn grow and move on from them.
    People got pretty pious after The Slap. It was awful, but damn I’ve been there too. And grown. And made amends.

  3. Noki says:

    Honestly I wish all the big black A lists would boycott the Oscars this year. The fact that Will Smith can’t return to present the best actor category is a shame.

    • SophieJara says:

      Hard agree. The number of sex offenders and pedophiles who have been given awards in that room after their crimes were publicly known, never mind privately known…

  4. Glamarazzi says:

    At first I was like – “why are you asking her about that moment” — I’d forgotten what role Will played for that Oscar! Goes to show how much it overshadowed the wins there.

  5. Thelma says:

    I wouldn’t expected otherwise from Serena. It would have been hypocritical given how many times she’s seriously lost her cool under pressure while playing! Let’s move on.

  6. Anita says:

    Oh, this is a nice interview, so glad they are still going strong.

  7. Well Wisher says:

    Will Smith seem gracious with their offer of emotional support.
    At the end of the day, it is about his well being.
    Having a terrible time in the presence of a large audience, is surmountable it can be overcome.

    Now back to ignoring the Oscars.

  8. girl_ninja says:

    I appreciate how she has perspective on this matter . There was no doubt that Will was wrong but I still understood where it came from and the history of hurt behind it. The Academy and so many people showed their asses after this all went down. Compassion and perspective is important. It’s something that Chris Rock should consider in his daily life.

  9. Isabella says:

    I like Serena so much. I hope the whole interview didn’t center on Will.

  10. Valerie says:

    Can we talk about something that doesn’t get discussed very often? Serena was just baptized into the Jehovah’s Witness faith. Super weird beliefs, and very similar to Scientologist, when it come to gaslighting, shunning and treating former members cruelly. As someone who has been hurt deeply by the members, it stings a bit to hear her speak openly about forgiveness and being human, when the JW organization throws former members to the wolves. Parents will cut their own children off if they leave the faith. I hope for her daughter’s sake, she distances herself from them. She is better than that!

    • Katie says:

      Very interesting. Is that the religion she grew up in? I’ve listened to a number of podcasts with ex-JW and it’s rough.

      • Valerie says:

        I think she was raised around it, but never baptized because the religion doesn’t allow its members to pursue fame. So she waited until retirement to take the religion more seriously.
        That’s just my theory