Amid the release of the King Richard biopic, critics on social media are accusing the family film of being sexist.
Will Smith produced and starred in the film that tells the story of Richard Williams’ vision and effort to turn his daughters, Venus and Serena, into the world’s #1 tennis champions. Through struggling to train in the troubled community of Compton, Los Angeles to securing free training from the likes of Rick Macci, the Williams sisters were able to make their father’s dream come true and became the tennis legends they’re regarded as today.
But, when looking at how the film focuses on Richard being the visionary and main decision-maker in his daughter’s tennis career, the biopic has been receiving mixed reviews from viewers who think a man is taking the credit for a woman’s work. The criticism started after Twitter user Dr. Jess Taylor sparked a debate about Richard being at the forefront of the film about Venus and Serena’s success in professional sports.
“Did they seriously make a film called ‘King Richard’ about the success of Serena and Venus Williams – but it’s about their dad, Richard?” Taylor asked.
Did they seriously make a film called ‘King Richard’ about the success of Serena and Venus Williams – but it’s about their dad, Richard?
— Dr. Jessica Taylor (@DrJessTaylor) November 20, 2021
After the white critic spoke her peace, she followed it up acknowledging that she interjected her white feminist opinion into a story about a Black family’s struggle to find acceptance in a predominantly white sport.
“I get this has annoyed people but I genuinely didn’t expect a film about two of the most powerful, successful and amazing black female athletes to be named after a man, or centre a man,” Taylor added. “I would have loved this film to be all about them, and not a man. That’s it really.”
Her tweets garnered a lot of mixed responses with many in the Black community taking issue with Jess making it about sex and overlooking the issues of racism and classicism that were tackled in the film.
“Venus and Serena were literally executive producers. Whew,” one person said in response. “It’s nothing quite like non-Black people telling Black people, especially women, how to tell their own stories about their own lives.”
When another white Twitter user defended Taylor saying “it’s not about race,” someone else reminded both of them that Serena and Venus directed the film and didn’t mind having their father at the forefront of their family biopic.
“Discovering that the Williams sisters produced the film gives you ALL the permission to stfu about it,” they tweeted.
“You didn’t want to see them,” someone else tweeted in response to Taylor. “You wanted to see yourself. This is the story they’ve told. And you’ve rejected it, because your own values were not represented. You don’t value black women for themselves. You covet them as a vehicle for your own white redemption.”
Another Black Twitter user summed it up by telling Taylor and others in the white community bothered by the King Richard film to mind the business that pays them.
Do Black people to favor, mind your business. pic.twitter.com/vBIkYrQMMt
— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) November 21, 2021