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Meghan and Harry’s Oprah interview: Serena Williams shares her reaction in powerful statement

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Lauren Geall
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Serena Williams

In a statement posted on Twitter, the couple’s close friend Serena Williams has praised Meghan Markle’s “empathy and compassion” and called on her followers to “recognise” the obligation they have to tackle tabloid culture.     

Less than 24 hours since Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s interview with Oprah first aired in the US, the contents of that two-hour conversation have become all anyone is talking about.

From the revelation that members of the royal family were allegedly worried about the colour of Archie’s skin to the impact the tabloid “monster machine” had on Meghan’s mental health, the two-hour conversation painted a picture of the reality the couple faced during their time in the UK.

Of course, all of these revelations have led to plenty of reactions online and in the media – some of which have only gone further to prove the points made by the couple during the interview. But among the division, there were some truly powerful responses that we should all pay attention to – including that posted by Meghan’s close friend, tennis player Serena Williams

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Taking to Twitter in the aftermath of the interview, Williams posted a powerful statement praising Meghan for sharing her story and calling on her followers to recognise the sexism and racism the media and other institutions use to “vilify women and people of colour”.

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

“I know firsthand the sexism and racism institutions and the media use to vilify women and people of colour to minimize us, to break us down and demonize us. We must recognise our obligation to decry malicious, unfounded gossip and tabloid journalism. The mental health consequences of systemic oppression and victimisation are devastating, isolating and all too often lethal.” 

Concluding her statement, Williams expressed her hope for a world where people respect each other.

“I want Meghan’s daughter, my daughter and your daughter to live in a society that is driven by respect,” she continued. “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.”

Of course, Serena Williams wasn’t the only famous person to show their support for Meghan in the aftermath of the interview. Poet and activist Amanda Gorman also took to Twitter to show her support, saying the royal family “missed out” on Meghan’s light.  

“Meghan is living the life Diana should have, if only those around her had been as brave as she was,” Gorman wrote. “Meghan isn’t living a life without pain, but a life without a prison.

“This isn’t Meghan’s princess ‘happy’ ending. But sometimes change, the decisions that bring us the most hurt, aren’t about happiness, but healing.”

She continued: “Unclear if this will change the royal family, but Meghan’s strength will certainly redefine family everywhere. Think of the women who will be inspired to stand up for their lives, the partners who will be kinder and more courageous than the kin they were born into.” 

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Although the powerful words of women like Williams and Gorman cannot undo the pain and trauma Meghan has experienced at the hands of the tabloid media and the royal institution, it’s clear that her experience has sparked an important conversation.

For too long, women in the spotlight – especially women of colour – have been vilified, undermined and abused by countless organisations, and although this moment in time will sadly not mark the end of this kind of behaviour, we can only hope that Meghan’s story and the reactions it inspires will begin to bring about real change.  

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