Wendy Williams Says She Doesn’t Owe Anything to the Black Community: I Didn’t Ask to be a Role Model. I Don’t Like that Responsibility
Wendy Williams has worked her way into the lives of other celebrities and made a hefty coin off of it for 10 years. As Fall approaches, the radio personality turned daytime talk show host will be celebrating a decade of being a nationally syndicated daytime television host along with being a Daytime Emmy award winner. Even though she has discussed the lives of others for more than a decade, she has been making headlines for her own personal woes. In a new interview, the New Jersey native talks about how she feels about racism, her son’s battle with addiction, and the Hunter Foundation’s Give Back Gala, and their new addiction awareness campaign. Wendy Williams explains how her career began:
I’ve been a broadcaster for over 30 years. And how I think I really made my stamp [on radio] was by talking, innocently talking, about what I saw on the streets. It became a thing like, Oh my god Wendy’s talking. But I don’t like to use the word gossip—that’s a weird word to me. Next thing you know, the 12 songs an hour that I was required to play turned into six songs because I’m gabbing. Next it’s two songs. Now it’s no music and all talk. I love it. [And now] I find a lot more people doing “Hot Topics,” doing what I’ve been doing for the better part of my career.
If anything on her segment of Hot Topics off limits:
I don’t do my show from a place of mean. I’m not a mean woman. I’m lovely. [Laughs.] However, I’m a straight shooter—there’s only 24 hours in a day and you’ve got five seconds to say something. I’m going to get straight to the point.
If she feels she has a certain responsibility to the black community/culture:
I feel a responsibility to [my 17-year-old son, Kevin Hunter Jr.], me, and my husband [Kevin Hunter], who manages my career, our dog, and my family. I didn’t ask to be a role model. I don’t like that responsibility. But if you see something in me that you really adore, thank you.
The backlash she received for sharing her experience of racism in America:
What I was equating [what happened to Hostin] to was—I’m not lying to you—every day when I get home and pull in my driveway, I always squint extra at our mailbox and at our front door [looking out for] vandalism, a cross burned, poop thrown at the door, or something like that. And you know what people commented on my own site? ‘Wendy, why are you complaining? Why don’t you just move?’
How she feels talking about race on her show:
I will talk about racism. I don’t feel awkward talking about race.
Why she doesn’t discuss politics on her show:
I don’t want to share my opinion with you. I don’t want to be a news anchor. I don’t like a lot of serious conversation—I guess I’m more of a boots to the ground person. No, I don’t want to talk politics. I don’t care. I mean, I care—I have a Sunday morning standing appointment [watching] George Stephanopoulos on ABC. But it’s none of your business.
How she feels about people criticizing her:
People love to throw stones at me, and I get it. It’s fun to make fun of me, because I put myself out there. I’m a large personality and I got the funny bone; I voice my opinion and then people get upset. But you tune in and watch every day, thank you!
If criticism from the black community affects her differently:
Girl, no. Girl. I’ve got love in my life; I’ve got a very strong constitution for the naysayers. I’ve been doing this for a very, very long time, and my skin is very thick. I know who I am, I know where I want to go, and how I want to get there.
People have accused me of bleaching my skin; of getting a nose job. They squint at my mom like, I didn’t know Wendy was Asian. I am black all day, honey pie. I am black and very proud. I’m not going to do the no-makeup natural hair, whatever, beans, greens, lettuce, tomato, eh. But I’ve got more black in my pinky than most of the gangsters behind their keyboards. You come out of your house and you do a talk show, let me see how far you get with your attitude.
Her feelings towards celebrities:
It’s not easy doing what I do because…you can’t play two sides. You can’t do what I do and be a ‘celebrity person’ and be socializing with celebrities all the time—it taints “Hot Topics.” The more celebrities I meet, the more disappointed I get in celebrity culture.
She speaks about her son being on K2 – synthetic marijuana:
My son smoked K2—they take that grass and they spray it with rat poison or whatever. It’s not weed, it’s not coke. It’ll turn you into a different person.
How she helped her son recover from K2:
I saw it for myself—this affected [my family] very deeply. I didn’t know whether my kid would ever return to school. The whole time we’re nursing him through [recovery], I’m supposed to make fun on the show like, “Hi! Here’s Wendy! Hahaha!” But I’m dying inside. [Withdrawal] was a slow process and, for us, it didn’t involve psychiatric drugs or a psychiatrist. We cleaned him out—anything for my boy.
The Hunter’s Foundation Give Back Gala:
The Hunter Foundation is set up for the good of the people—all people even though I’m holding the [Black Power] fist up. My name is Wendy Hunter in real life; Williams is my maiden name. And this is not a temporary thing, this is a forever thing. We’ve sent kids to camp, we’ve fed the homeless, and we’ve now embarked on the real mission—and that is [combating] drugs. They are ruining families, they are ruining neighborhoods, they’re taking lives.
She also discusses the foundation’s new addiction awareness campaign, Be Here:
And along with the Hunter Foundation, we have launched Be Here, [a new addiction awareness campaign] that has all the sauce and support you need to be on your way moving forward.
Her advice to women:
“There are two things that I think every young girl needs to wake up and realize: get yourself a wrap dress and learn to formulate sentences. Stop splitting verbs—how you talk to your friends is not how you’re supposed to be speaking when you’re trying to get a job.”
“I think those are two basic things. You don’t have to go to school for that, by the way. An education is important, but you can learn how to speak well—just turn on the TV. [Scandal’s] Olivia Pope speaks well goddammit. It’s not wiff, it’s with. It’s not burfday, it’s birthday. And also, don’t have your kids so young. They get in the way.”
Looking for the next Wendy Williams:
“And my husband and I, we have our production company set up—I would like to make other people stars, honestly. Who’s the next Wendy? I mean, there’s only one Wendy, but I’m not selfish, I’m not greedy, and I’m definitely not jealous. People accuse me of being jealous of women all the time, by the way. But I’m not.”
What she wants her legacy to be:
“That I made you smile no matter what. [Crying] I can’t stand that bitch, but she is funny as hell–like that, you know? And I do want people to remember me for my race relations, because on the down-low I do a lot for race relations.”
In January 2016, The Wendy Williams Show was renewed through the 2019–20 season. The show has been nominated for five Daytime Emmy Awards and regularly competes with The Ellen DeGeneres Show as the top-ranked syndicated talk show in the United States. Kudos to her!