Serena Williams welcomed a very special guest to the latest edition of her live Instagram show, Serena Saturdays: her husband, Alexis Ohanian.
Last week Ohanian announced he had resigned from his seat on the board of Reddit, the company he cofounded. “I cofounded Reddit 15 years ago to help people find community and a sense of belonging,” he said in a Twitter thread. “It is long overdue to do the right thing. I’m doing this for me, for my family, and for my country.” Ohanian said he asked that his seat be filled by a Black candidate and said that his future earnings from Reddit stock would be used as resources to combat racial hate.
He further explained his decision during his conversation with Williams on Instagram. “This was not an easy decision at all,” he said. “I thought about what I could do beyond a social media post, beyond a donation. We need diversity at the highest levels of business now more than ever. Once I realized why I needed to do it, it became very easy.” Williams also shut down any rumors that she asked her husband to make this big decision. “A lot of people might think I told you to do something, or I forced you…,” she said. “He doesn’t listen to me, ever.”
The couple’s daughter, Olympia, was also a major factor in his choice to step down. “I wanted to put as much weight behind the gesture as I could because I felt I owed it to you and I owed it to her,” he said. “One of the things that really broke me at some point in the last week, I was looking at Olympia, she’s two and a half now, and she is such a pure, just blank, canvas. She only knows love. There is not an ounce of hate in her body. That’s the crushing thing. At some point Olympia is going to have to have a talk with you, a talk with us, but especially a talk with you, about how she’s going to have to work that much harder, how she’s going to have to deal with this much more; that pisses me off.
"I’m sitting here like, if I’m this pissed off just now, how have you been able to endure your entire life?” he asked Williams. “How have generations of Black Americans been able to endure your entire life? Because if I’m just getting this mad right now, I wouldn’t be able to function.”
“It’s hard. It is definitely not easy,” Williams answered. “It’s something that, unfortunately, has become normal for us.”
Ohanian’s first major donation was to former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp, whose mission is “to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization, and the creation of new systems that elevate the next generation of change leaders.”
Watch Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian’s full conversation in the video, below:
Editor’s note: Advance Publications, parent company of Glamour publisher Condé Nast, is a major shareholder in Reddit.
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