Serena, Tiger And The Color Of Love
During an insightful interview that fused two components of Serena Williams’ life — love and athletics — the tennis superstar stated: “It’s interesting. I never thought I would have married a white guy … so it just goes to show you that love truly has no color, and it just really goes to show me the importance of what love is.” Serena started dating tech industry entrepreneur/venture capitalist Alexis Ohanian in 2015; they were engaged in December 2016 and married in November 2017. Ohanian, son of a German mother and Armenian father, is the co-founder of Reddit, the social media site. Williams was the subject of an eye-opening New York Times article focusing on her restart this year on the pro tennis tour after the birth of her now-10-month-old daughter, Olympia, and her HBO docu-series, “Being Serena.” The five-part series tracked her pregnancy, her life-threatening postnatal problems and her comeback. Williams’ interracial love match largely has been readily accepted by the black community. She doesn’t appear to have been chastised or ostracized. Sixteen years ago, Tiger Woods probably wished he could say the same. When word spread in 2002 that Tiger was dating Swedish beauty/nanny Elin Nordegren, Woods was lambasted across black-oriented websites. One reader posted: “I like and admire the golfing genius of Tiger Woods. But I sincerely hope he doesn’t wait until his so-called white friends cut his legs out from under him and they will when the chance comes. … He will then want to identify with his brothers and sisters and come back to the fold.” Why the double-standards? Perhaps the issue is authenticity. Is it because Serena, who turns 37 in September, grew up in a hardscrabble environment, straight outta Compton, California, literally. Perhaps it’s because Serena still shows off her powerful serve in a previously white-dominated sport. Or because Serena fits this popular ethnocentric expression: “unapologetically black.” Tiger doesn’t publicly acknowledge himself as a black guy in a straightforward way, preferring to speak instead about hybrid ethnicity; remember, 21 years ago, after dominating the Masters, he used the self-described racial term “Cablinasian” on Oprah Winfrey’s show, much to the ire of black critics nationwide. We’ve notice that, at least outwardly, all of Tiger’s love interests have been white, with tall blondes being the usual M.O. Serena had dated black and white guys before marrying the 35-year-old Ohanian, who grew up in Maryland. Black women celebrities involved in romantic relationships with rich, white guys appears to be en vogue. Serena’s older sister, Venus, 38, is dating Nicholas Hammond, a 26-year-old financier. Hammond also is an heir to the “TV Guide” fortune; his mother’s grandmother was a sister of the late Walter Annenberg, the media mogul/philanthropist. Anyone who watches PBS has heard of the Annenberg Foundation. And, according to the New York Daily News, Hammond’s family has at least two $20-million mansions — in Palm Beach, Fla., and Long Island’s Hamptons. Serena, in the Times story, spoke of the sociological effect of her marriage: “Literally, all I tell Alexis is, ‘Well, you know, there’s such a difference between white people and black people.’ He always gets to hear about the injustices that happen; that wouldn’t happen if I were white.” One of the more revealing elements of the New York Times article was the reaction of Serena’s overbearing father, Richard, who for years has been extremely controversial on racial matters. However, in this instance, Serena explained: “And my dad absolutely loves Alexis.” And it appears Barack Obama’s eldest daughter, Malia, is following in the footsteps of the Williams sisters. Her boyfriend is purported to be Rory Farquharson, a white guy who hails from the United Kingdom and is her classmate at Harvard University. We have seen TMZ photos/video of them kissing at Harvard football games and paparazzi images of them shopping in New York. According to British media, Farquharson’s father is Charles Farquharson, the chief executive of Insight Investment Management Limited, based in London. His mother is Catherine Farquharson, a certified accountant. Malia Obama is no longer a youngster being sheltered in the White House; she’s a young woman, 20, out in the world now. Because her father was revered by millions of black voters, Malia likely is entrenched in sort of a love-interest “safe space.” Like the Williams Sisters, an eternal space, for sure.