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Eboni K. Williams Opens Up About the Importance of Talking About Race on RHONY
The RHONY cast member discusses the important conversations she's recently had with the cast on the show.
In the latest installment of Amplify Our Voices on Bravo's Instagram, E!'s Nina Parker spoke with Eboni K. Williams about her first season of The Real Housewives of New York City and the important conversations she's been having with the cast on issues surrounding race.
Eboni, who is the first Black Housewife on RHONY, began the discussion noting that her experience is neither singular to her nor different from what she has gone through in the past. "I want to make the point that what I am going through on this platform is exactly what you said, Nina. It is so the same exact thing that Black and Brown women and men and [non-binary people], frankly people in any marginalized community, are dealing with every damn day," she shared. "So everybody listening to this dialogue, know that not for one second do I think this is unique to me as a Housewife or unique to me as someone in the public eye. Nothing about this s--t is unique to me, either."
She went on to open up more about the conversations we've seen take place with her fellow New York Housewives during the current Season 13's trip to the Hamptons, sharing that she particularly appreciated Sonja Morgan's response to the discussion after the lunch at Luann de Lesseps' house. "I could tear up, and even last night watching when she kind of made space for me right after the circle conversation, she just kind of held my hands and I held hers. And she's just like, 'You know, it's kind of time for us white ladies to do little bit better by our sisters,'" Eboni recalled to Nina. "I just need you to sit in the space with an open heart and an open mind and the ability to listen, and Sonja does that remarkably throughout the season. This is not gonna be the first time y'all see her show up with that energy."
Eboni shared how meaningful it was to her to form a special bond with Sonja during the Hamptons trip. "And I really think Sonja and I, to be a little corny here, we started to fall in love with each other a little bit during this Hamptons trip. Seriously, because I saw her, she in turn saw me," Eboni said. "Sonja and I sat in [a] space and saw one another and throughout this season, we really stand in the gap for one another's emotional needs, because it transcends race."
RHONY viewers witnessed one touching moment in particular in the June 8 episode when Eboni told Sonja after fishing on the beach that she is "extremely high value," that she has a big heart, and that she "[stands] up for what's f--king right." Eboni also said that she enlisted the help of her matchmaker friend to find Sonja love. "I'm like, you know, I don't know her like that, but this woman needs some love in her life. I could see it spiritually," Eboni said during the Amplify Our Voices conversation. "We go about that journey of trying to find Sonja some love, and you'll have to watch to see if she finds it."
Eboni briefly took a break from her recent social media hiatus to do this Instagram Live chat with Nina, although she noted that she would be logging back out of the platform after their conversation. She said that her friend, Natalie, who appeared in the RHONY Season 13 premiere, has been sending her some of the feedback from fans in the meantime. "My soror, Natalie, she goes on the social accounts, and she screengrabs a good handful, I would say 10 to 20 really positive messages, to give me affirmation," Eboni said. "And I read those over my morning coffee Wednesday morning. So that's been great."
She said she plans on returning to social media this upcoming Tuesday before the new episode of RHONY. "I think I'm gonna do one more week. It is for my peace primarily, but also, it's to extract myself from the platform so that people can really talk amongst themselves, because this is important s--t we're unpacking here," Eboni explained. "I went on the show in such part for this. It hurt, it's heavy, and all that. But if I'm here and these conversations aren't being had, what am I here for?"
Eboni ended the discussion by sharing why we should be having these conversations about race on RHONY. "Everything I do is unapologetically for the liberation of my people and the liberation of marginalized groups across this country," she said. "That is who I am, and I will not be shamed around it, I will not apologize for it, and I will not be put on a back shelf for the sake of RHONY."
She said this is something for which she has received support in bringing to RHONY this season, sharing, "And so, because that's who I am, plainly and clearly, now it is a network and Bravo heads of state decision to say, 'We want to incorporate that into the series, and we think it has value to bring a woman with that level of consciousness into this space. And we think it has value to have those conversations with this platform, with this cast.'"
Eboni added that examining and talking about these kinds of issues is "where we are as a nation right now." "We're in the heavy s--t, and you cannot put the toothpaste back into the tube, baby," she said. "So now we have to continue to read the page and turn the page if we are to ever be in a place of national unity and healing and reconciliation."
Watch Eboni's previous Amplify Our Voices conversation from February, below.