SERENA and Venus Williams are expected to snub the memory of their late nephew this weekend – but his mum won’t shed a tear over it.
Sabrina Williams is her oldest half-sister from Papa Richard’s first marriage. He left Sabrina’s mother when she was only eight years old, saying he would buy her a bike, and never returned.
Richard’s career as tennis coach to his famous daughters was immortalized in the film King Richard, which won an Academy Award for Best Actor for Will Smith.
Smith will appear on Netflix show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman on Friday.
The episode was filmed two months before Smith infamously slapped host Chris Rock in the face at the Academy Awards in March.
But Sabrina, 57, never had the attention the Williams sisters had from their father, she only saw him a couple of times into their adult years, and he hasn’t even seen his two grandchildren, the late Alphonse and Elijah.
In February, depressed Alphonse, who was struggling with mental health issues, took his own life at the age of 21 by overdosing.
The memorial service will be held this Saturday, May 21, in his hometown of Las Vegas.
But there was no confirmation from Richard or Serena, no card, no phone call, nothing. Sabrina had expected nothing less.
She says, “Even my close friends have said, ‘Have you heard about the sisters?’
“I’ve heard from my other blood relatives, but I haven’t heard from them or my father, and they’re like, ‘Well, how do you feel about them?’
“I do not care. You are dead to me. You are not stupid, you saw on the news that Alphonse is not here.
“We haven’t spoken to each other for a long time, but I would at least appreciate it if I were her, send a card.
“Now when people ask, I actually laugh, it makes me laugh because I’m like, ‘Okay, I’ll move on’.”
Sabrina, a hospice chaplain and committed mental health activist, wants the service to not only celebrate Alphonse’s life but also highlight the need for people to be there for one another.
Her own childhood was tough growing up in poverty in Los Angeles County with five other siblings after Richard left. She doesn’t want anyone to suffer in silence.
She expects over 120 people to attend the service at Spring Valley Baptist Church, where a 20-strong choir will sing and Sabrina and her ex-husband will deliver eulogies.
People will be dressed in characters from Alphonse’s favorite Marvel and Batman films, while Sabrina will wear a Catwoman t-shirt. She hands out self-care bags filled with inspirational cards and sweets, even organic lollipops for vegans.
After the service, people will enjoy fried chicken and Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman cupcakes, with Sabrina and Elijah, 23, taking the leftovers to the homeless.
“My husband is going to speak about my son and her life and I heard the speech today, it’s beautiful. But I want to talk about the real elephant in the room. Mental health. Suicide. Did you know that suicide can be prevented? says Sabrina.
“And today there’s probably someone sitting in this room feeling lost or lonely. Even if you don’t know this person very well, talk to them. Because people need people. people don’t want to die. They only need one person to hear them. Just one.
“Don’t be afraid to ask a question. Covid times have caused people to struggle with loneliness. If you don’t use this gift bag, maybe you can give it to that person to encourage them.
“Some people call it a funeral, but I want to celebrate his life, so I call it a memorial.”
Alphonse was cremated a few weeks earlier and now his ashes sit in Sabrina’s lounge in an engraved Batman locker, where she says “he’d just want to be”.
All donations go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, where Sabrina has set up a fundraising page.
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https://www.the-sun.com/entertainment/5387462/serena-venus-williams-wont-attend-nephews-funeral/ Serena and Venus Williams WILL NOT attend their nephew’s funeral as the half-sister slams stars and King Richard for missing contact