FLASHBACK: Venus was last on court at the ASB Classic in Auckland earlier this year.


Venus Williams is giving read, white, and blue energy in a stunning Paper Magazine spread in support of her forthcoming Nina Simone Childhood Home Benefit Auction.

The seven-time Grand Slam champion partnered with artist Adam Pendleton to raise money to restore late singer Nina Simone’s childhood home in Tryon, North Carolina with help from fellow artists like Cecily Brown, Julie Mehretu, Rashid Johnson and Ellen Gallagher.

“Her legacy really has to be solidified, and made permanent and everlasting,” Venus said in sprawling interview with Paper. “Also, she deserves a site with those same qualities. There isn’t enough preservation of the legacies of people with brown skin, so this is very exciting to be a part of.”

Williams has a proud history of fighting for equality and representation, leading the charge towards Wimbledon’s equal prize money initiative in 2007, but the former world No. 1 never misses an opportunity to credit the trailblazers who came before her.


“There would be no me without women like Nina,” said Williams, who was last on court at the ASB Classic in Auckland earlier this year. “She broke so many barriers; she opened so many doors and sacrificed so much. There were so many other artists at that time who weren't willing to make those sacrifices. You could tell that the truth meant a lot to her, so much so that she was willing to sacrifice her position in the world and her success for what really mattered. I literally am doing what I do because of her and because of people like her.

“My hope is that her legacy will influence the next generations to come,” she added. “It’s so important for people to know about her. This restoration gives that opportunity and creates pathways to share insights, not only into her life, but also the realities of African American people growing up in this time.”

Click here to learn more about the auction, which is set to begin on May 12.