No disrespect, but have several seats Wendy Williams.
Wendy Williams, former radio personality and current daytime TV talk show host, got herself into a bit of hot water after straying from her normal gossip talk and venturing into the “land of things she knows nothing about.”
While discussing the petition that was floating around to have Jesse Williams fired from Grey’s Anatomy (eyeroll) because of his BET speech, Wendy explained that show creator Shonda Rhimes shut that down and is paying no mind to the claims of Jesse being racist. After saying that Jesse’s speech was “on the one hand poignant,” Wendy went on to say, “On the other hand, I would be really offended if there was a school that was known as a historically White college. We have historically Black colleges. What if there was the National Organization for White People, only? There’s the NAACP.” Her audience, or as she likes to refer to them as her co-hosts, were dead silent, to which she remarked, “Everybody’s qui-et…you’re leaving me out here to hang to dry by myself…” There were giggles in the audience but they were most certainly directed at her, not with her.
You know who wasn’t laughing? Chevrolet. Apparently her misguided words lost the sponsorship deal that The Wendy Williams Show and Chevrolet, in conjunction with Carat Media and Ace Media Corp., struck April 2016. “The brand is continuously evaluating its media and sponsorship opportunities and we make periodic adjustments to ensure alignment with our overall marketing and communications goals,” a spokesman for Chevy said via email. It’s important to note that Andrea Holmes Thompkins, who is President and CEO of ACE Media Corp and was key in facilitating the deal, is a Howard University graduate.
Here’s where Roland Martin, host of “NewsOne Now” comes in. He spent 3 minutes and 38 seconds of his program reading Wendy but also encouraging her to read. “When folks say ‘Why do we need the NAACP?’ I’ll lay it out to you like this here: The first slave came to America 1619, the Emancipation Proclamation signed in 1863, the 13th Amendment ratified in 1865, reconstruction goes to 1877 then there’s this great compromise where Rutherford B. Hayes becomes president, they pull the troops out of the south Jim Crow starts. Now you go all the way through the 20th century, 1960s, Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, Fair Housing Rights Act. If you had to place a marker on when Black folks were technically fully free Americans, it’s 1970. That’s only 46 years. I’m 47!”
Wendy has been known to get names, dates, and cultural references wrong here and there on her program, but to frame HBCUs and the NAACP in such a misguided way was cringe-worthy on another level considering her father and brother attended HBCUs. “My father graduated from Lincoln, which is a Black college. My brother graduated from Virginia State,” Wendy said as she attempted to set the record straight. “But my thought in my mind and what I said to you is how [I would] feel if I were applying to colleges that were historically White and that was part of the marquee of selling me to apply to the school.” **Palms forehead**
Now this could have easily ended with social media dragging her from here to kingdom come and it becoming an off-topic bullying fest…oh wait…that happened (**eyeroll**…do better people). Luckily, the teachable moment was recognized by some and Roland was invited to appear as a guest on her show so they could really hash it out.
Wendy started out their segment with a public apology, “First, I want to apologize to everyone that I might have offended regarding my remarks. I was wrong.” Roland then proceeded to educate her on the purpose of both HBCUs and the necessity of the NAACP saying things like, “When it comes to our colleges, we couldn’t go to those schools. As a matter of fact, we couldn’t read during slavery. You could be killed if you were found to be reading. So, that’s why it is so critically important… Our institutions are allowing us to survive in America even though we built this country.” Wendy sipped on her humble tea and snacked on her humble pie for a good 10 minutes while she and Roland spoke in more depth about what’s really going on with African Americans. It was an expensive and embarrassing lesson for Wendy to learn but well worth it.