Serena Williams

Why Serena Williams Says Meghan Markle and Other Black Women Under Racial Attack Will No Longer Stay Silent

Williams, a close friend who attended Harry and Meghan’s wedding and someone who has also had her battles with racial bias and the tabloid press over the years, said she identified with her friend's hardships.

This story originally appeared on LX.com

Explosive charges of racism, alarming revelations of suicidal thoughts, and yes, a gender reveal, were just some of the shocking surprises during Oprah Winfrey's bombshell interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Sunday night. As the world awaits official reaction from Buckingham Palace, a host of celebrities, most notably Meghan's close friend, tennis icon Serena Williams, have voiced their public support for the beleaguered Duchess of Sussex.

Williams and Meghan have been friends for years, with Williams attending her royal wedding in 2018, and Markle supporting Williams in the crowd at the U.S. Open and Wimbledon.

"Meghan Markle, my selfless friend, lives her life - and leads by example - with empathy and compassion. She teaches me every day what it means to be truly noble. Her words illustrate the pain and cruelty she's experienced," Williams wrote.

Meghan Markle, Serena Williams and Hannah Davis participate in the DirecTV Beach Bowl at Pier 40 on February 1, 2014 in New York City.

Due in part to the constant tabloid media barrage, Meghan told Winfrey that at one point, “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. And that was very clear and real and frightening.” One of the more shocking revelations was when Meghan told Winfrey there were ”concerns and conversations about how dark his [her then-unborn child's] skin might be when he’s born.”

Williams is someone who has had her own public battles with racial bias and the tabloid press over the years. In a 2016 interview with The Undefeated Williams touched on her own tumultuous history with the press saying "I kind of put myself in a bubble. I feel like I definitely was scrutinized because I was confident — I was black and I was confident." Williams said those struggles help her identify with Meghan's hardships.

"I know first hand the sexism and racism institutions and the media use to vilify women and people of color to minimize us, break us down and demonize us. We must recognize our obligation to decry malicious, unfounded gossip and tabloid journalism. The mental health consequences of systematic oppression and victimization are devastating, isolating and all too often lethal," Williams wrote. "I want Meghan's daughter and your daughter to live in a society that is driven by respect."

A number of other celebrities also voiced support for Meghan on social media including Gabrielle Union, Sarah Silverman, Maria Shriver, and Jada Pinkett Smith.

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