A few weeks ago I was watching the Wendy Williams show [yes, my secret obsession], and she stated something that really shocked me. On a regular show, Williams usually regurgitates celebrity gossip while stuttering and adjusting her wig, but this particular show was a bit different. In the past, Williams talked about NeNe [reality star from the Real Housewives of Atlanta] and her new gig on Dancing with the Stars [DWTS]. She predicted that Nene wouldn’t win because she lacks discipline and DWTS has a history of not regularly choosing “larger” girls to win. If you don’t already know, Williams was previously a contestant on the show and constantly laments about how terrible it was on her own show.
On this particular episode though, she called out the racism on DWTS which was surprising. Not only does NeNe have the exact same partner as Williams did when she was on the show, Tony Dovolani, but they were even featured in the exact same dress for promotional shots.
There was a particular event during DWTS where NeNe snapped at Dovolani and left practice early because she couldn’t handle his attitude. Williams, however, offers a different side to this tale. She stated that when she was on DWTS, they wanted her to fulfill the “angry black woman” trope. She even stated that some parts of the show were SCRIPTED.
The examiner reported this and said:
The 49-year- old talk show host claims DWTS producers wanted her to play a finger snapping, teeth sucking, head rolling angry woman. Williams says she pulled Dolvoloni to the side and spoke to him about the scripted role she was expected to play and Dolvoloni responded “my wife told me I should have told you about that.”
It is unfortunate to learn that another reality show has resorted to scripting their scenes and have left little room for cast members to display their reality. It is even more disturbing to discover that scripts are being distributed based on racial stereotypes.
Yeah—say what? While I’m not completely surprised to hear that yet another “reality” show is scripted, I am disappointed to hear that a show as seemingly playful as dancing with the stars resorts to stereotypical tropes to frame racially marked bodies in dramatic ways for ratings. Furthermore, I think it’s commendable that Wendy called out DWTS and their racism on national television. I guess we can now ask DWTS, “how you doin’?”