While weighing in on Terry Crews’ reasons for not immediately retaliating after his alleged sexual assault by Adam Venit, Wendy Williams made a bold proclamation about her race. The talk show host said the actor’s statement that he is “African-American … (and) I would be seen as a thug,” “bristled” her.
“(I’m) Black. I don’t do the African American thing,” Williams said on her show Wednesday, Nov. 15. “We’re Black. How many times are we gonna change our name? It started out as the n-word, then it went to colored people, then it went to Black people and now all of a sudden we’re PC and we call it African American. I can’t even. I can’t. Black Wendy from Jersey says, ‘I don’t think … (it was brave of Crews to come out).”
Yolande Tomlinson, co-founder and director of Education and Applied Intersectionality at the Organization for Human Rights and Democracy, said poor associations with Africaness could be the reason behind Williams’ stance. However, it could simply reflect the time in which the former radio host grew up.
“Some Black people refuse (the term) African-American because of the inclusion of African with which they have negative associations,” she told Atlanta Black Star. “We don’t know exactly how she feels about the term African, but if we go with her actual words, it seems that her embrace of Black is more a reflection of the era in which she came of age. She’s likely embracing Black because of the powerful reclamation work of the late ’60s and ’70s that asserted the power of blackness, the beauty of blackness, the sexiness of blackness, the pride of blackness.”
Yet, Williams isn’t alone in her wish not to be identified as African American. Raven-Symoné famously said she is not African-American during a sit-down with Oprah. The star’s “The Cosby Show” co-star Bill Cosby has also said he’d welcome everything but the African American label and there are other celebrities like Shemar Moore and Keyshia Cole who didn’t want to be identified as Black at all.