Eboni K. Williams Explains Why Her Historic Casting on 'RHONY' was 'Necessary'

Eboni K. Williams is proud of her history-making debut as the first Black woman on Bravo’s ‘The Real Housewives of New York City’ — despite all of the controversy.

via Page Six:

“I really had to establish some roots and take up some space as the first black woman to join this show — after 13 years,” the TV personality exclusively tells Page Six while promoting her latest reality venture on CBS’ new celebrity competition show “Beyond the Edge.”

“And that was me in front of the camera. I want [viewers] to consider also that I’m representing all the black women who are now a part of this crew who haven’t been here before,” she says, noting that diversity amped up behind the scenes after she was chosen to be a “Real Housewife.” 

“My work … is deep and broad, but necessary.”

Williams offers an orthodontic analogy to help fans — and maybe even her castmates — comprehend the vital role she played throughout her inaugural season of “New York City.” 

“I like to look at myself as a spacer. Before you can get your braces, they’ve got to literally create space to put in the equipment to do the work of the adjustment,” she explains.

“And that spacer hurts, that spacer is a pain in your ass a little bit — but it’s doing invaluable work to make space for the thing that takes you from good to great.”

Williams, who made her “RHONY” debut wearing a Black Lives Matter face mask and a hoodie representing the exonerated Central Park Five, notably elevated the show by engaging her co-stars in unprecedented conversations about race. 

In her attempts to enlighten the other women — and ultimately find common ground with them — Williams was met with a level of resistance that was not surprising but nonetheless disappointing. 

Luann de Lesseps unforgettably called Williams “angry” before kicking the newbie out of her Hamptons home. The two patched things up, though Williams had to spell out to de Lesseps, 56, why it’s problematic to lob such labels at BIPOC individuals. 

When Williams coordinated a “black Shabbat” dinner to understand how she and the “RHONY” ladies might be able to foster better relationships between black people and Jewish people, Ramona Singer sniped that Jewish people hated her and also claimed she was a victim of racism because a black nurse allegedly refused to give her pain meds while she was in labor in 1987.

Another time, Singer, 65, left her own apartment to dodge a relatively innocuous discussion about Kamala Harris being the first woman to be elected as vice president.

“Did it make for some moments of uncomfortable television watching? Absolutely,” Williams says. “Do I take it back? Hell no. Because the work of spacers is really important. And after the spacers come out, you get in those braces and then you’ve got a beautiful pristine white smile.” 

Page Six previously reported that the cast iced Williams out of the group after she filed a complaint about a racist comment allegedly made by Singer that launched an internal investigation and subsequently halted reunion plans. (Singer, who was cleared after the investigation, has denied making any such remark.)

Regardless of any prior friction, Williams hopes to return for the next season of “RHONY” when production resumes. Rather than conciliate her co-stars, however, she’d like to have more fun with them — even Singer, whom Williams says she “really connects with” despite their contrasting views.

“I want more glamour, more style, more indulgence and more good times,” enthuses the “Pretty Powerful” author, who has remained closest with Sonja Morgan while filming is on pause.

“And more women in the cast!” she continues, adding that powerhouse stylist June Ambrose would make a “great addition” as would members of the LGBTQIA+ community. “I would love to see that type of visibility increase on the show.”

In the meantime, Williams tells Page Six that she will be wearing her “Real Housewife” status as a “badge of honor” on “Beyond the Edge.” The show sees her competing against Colton Underwood, Paulina Porizkova, Lauren Alaina and more stars in “Survivor”-style challenges in the jungles of Panama while raising money for charity. 

“[‘RHONY’] gave me a little bit of a stigma,” she acknowledges. “So it was cool to break down those misconceptions, for them to see this ‘Housewife’ is literally pulling her own weight.” 

Williams elaborates, “You get in a new space like ‘Beyond the Edge’ and people got a lot to say, think and assume. I almost got really protective of my ‘Housewives’ castmates and the value of what we do on that show. We do important work in New York City, baby!”

The network really has no choice but to bring Eboni back — or it won’t be a good look.

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