What if I told you that I knew of a Black woman who expressed irritation and disgust over Viola Davis’ amazingly stylish and youthful natural hairdo for The Academy Awards? What if this same Black woman was supportive of the lawsuit that 2 Black men have against against ABC over the show, The Bachelor, but was pressed to mention that none of the women contestants have to be Black if The Bachelor in the future is Black? What if this same Black woman often mentions some darker complexioned Black women but usually only to say that look like men? What if this same Black woman said that she thinks fibroids has something to do with being slutty since Black women usually have them (and later had this lack of knowledge corrected by another Black woman—a physician)? What if this same Black woman seems to give extra applause to celebrity interracial relationships (specifically ones where the man is Black and the woman is White) such as Seal and Heidi (and seems utterly distressed over their breakup), Taye Diggs and his wife, Ice and Coco and Kanye and Kim, but rarely applauds couples of two Black people? What if she thinks the show Basketball Wives is toxic and terrible but the equally (if not more) outrageous and violent show Mob Wives is wonderfully entertaining? What if she congratulated White women celebrities on their pregnancies but referred to some Black women stars’ pregnancies as staged? Finally, what if this same Black woman said that other Black women (yes specifically Black women) are jealous of her plastic surgery and wigs…body parts and accessories that other people can access and rarely express actual jealousy over? What if she said these things and shared these sentiments for an audience of millions?
What would you think of this woman? Do you think I made her up? I didn’t. A Black woman has actually expressed all of these anti-Black woman sentiments to a large audience.
This woman is Wendy Williams.
Because of her celebrity status and the generally acceptable negativity and hatred towards Black women in the social media and media spheres, some people don’t think that the first paragraph represents a person that is hateful. Worse, some agree with the sentiments above regardless of the fame of the person who said it.
I watched her show for a couple of months just to see what the big deal was. I never listened to her radio show back in the day or really paid her celebrity status much mind in my teens or twenties (I am 32 now). I’ve always heard a mixture of opinions about the things that she says, so I wanted to see what this was all about for myself. After a several weeks (several months ago), I had enough.
Certainly she is not the only celebrity with anti-Black woman views. A blog post and video that I saw earlier this year revealed that many Black male celebrities have the same hatred (and shared that hatred via Twitter, which the blog and video showed proof of) for Black women that Wendy has . Plenty of music, film and comedy artists have these same thoughts as well. Certainly they are not flukes in a separate societal bubble. Intraracial Black hatred and colourism are products of a White supremacist society. These celebrities are not arbitrarily deciding to hate Black women. There is context and reason why this occurs. Again, this form of hatred seems generally acceptable in social media, media…and society at large.
However, something seems really potent about Wendy’s hatred. Every single “hot topics” segment of her show (that I saw) included bashing or marginalizing of a Black woman or Black women in general. She has to do this daily? Monday through Friday? Is it required? Will her show fail if she doesn’t? She especially seemed to gets laughs during these moments.
I don’t care about her fame. I don’t care about her “accomplishments.” Fame or not, my opinion of another woman is shaped by her expressed beliefs, not her status or income. I don’t wish her harm, but why should I now go out of my way to defend her the way her Stans do, or pretend that her hurtful ideas of who we are doesn’t bother me at all? Watching the White people in her audience laugh at the cruel things she says about Black women is not a pleasant experience. And, since her show does not educate, at least it could entertain. It doesn’t entertain me, however.
Some will argue that support of Black women means blankly supporting Black women, including the ones that don’t also support Black women. I disagree.
Two of my Favorited tweets are from a (male) feminist and they perfectly articulate why I cannot support this:
I can’t support ideologies that don’t support me. The only thing left to do is resist, and dazzle while doing so.— Educator (@Anti_Intellect) April 23, 2012
Your culture is worth fighting for and against.— Educator (@Anti_Intellect) January 8, 2012
I really don’t expect any type of evolution in her beliefs about who we are as Black women to occur, so I see no reason to Stan for or even support someone who despises who we are as Black women, and by proxy, herself. Maybe I will be proven wrong and maybe she will change. At the moment, however, I am not holding my breath. I am simply changing the TV channel.