If you’re expecting Real Housewives of New York newbie Eboni K. Williams to educate Trump-supporting Ramona Singer on Black Lives Matter then you’re in for a rude awakening.
Eboni, who will be the first Black cast member on RHONY in its 13 seasons, said she has no intention of trying to teach Ramona, or any of the cast members, about social justice issues.
She told Vulture,
“It’s a fool’s errand to go into these conversations thinking you’re going to change the other person. All you should really concern yourself with is delivering clear, authentic, fact-based, emotionally authentic communication.”
“It’s really never me saying, ‘Oh, let me have this conversation with Ramona so I can get her to understand Black Lives Matter.’ That is not my fucking job. Bravo didn’t pay me for that. Nor is it even my assignment to get all of the people that watch this show to understand that. Like, I’m really not a teacher on this show.”
Eboni’s casting was announced last summer during demands for Bravo to finally diversify their casting. Prior to Eboni joining the series, RHONY had zero Black cast members and only one woman of color, Jules Wainstein, who only lasted for a single season.
While it’s great that Bravo is finally bringing on more WOC to their shows, casting only one WOC per show leaves that woman without allies and vulnerable to being ganged up on by the rest of the cast.
Real Housewives of Dallas star Tiffany Moon, the first and only Asian star of the show, has experienced this first hand this past season. After co-star Brandi Redmond was caught making a racially insensitive video about Asian women, Tiffany was the one who had to deal with the consequences. Brandi even accused Tiffany of making her uncomfortable and “afraid” to be herself.
Tiffany told Vulture,
“When she sees my Asian face — which I have no control over — all it does is remind her of her shame and guilt. And I bear the brunt of that.”
None of her fellow RHOD cast members stepped in to defend her during the incident.
Instead of getting to enjoy her freshman season, Tiffany has had to babysit Brandi as she faced her racist history. Talk about exhausting.
For Real Housewives execs like Andy Cohen, this is exactly what they want. Andy has repeatedly said he would much prefer to keep problematic housewives so we can watch them “learn from their mistakes” rather than fire them.
After Vanderpump Rules fired several cast members for their racist behavior, for example, Andy lamented that he would have rather kept them onscreen. He told the New York Times,
“It’s more interesting to sit in the moment with people that you have a rooting interest in and watch them find their way than it is just turning out the lights and forgetting it existed.”
But who does he expect to teach them and help them “find their way”? Because when you cast a single WOC on these shows, you end up placing the burden entirely on them.
But Eboni refused to let that happen to her. Because, as she says, that’s not her job. Nor should it be.
RHONY season 13 premieres May 4 on Bravo.
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel and when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her obsessing over her tuxedo cat Tom or hoarding drugstore lipsticks.