Eboni K. Williams, First Black Woman To Join ‘Real Housewives Of New York’, Exclusive Interview
Getty

The news is out!

Media personality Eboni K. Williams has officially joined the cast of Bravo’s Real Housewives Of New York City, making her the first Black ‘housewife’ on the network’s hit series. The move comes on the heels of network production insiders hinting back in August that they wanted to diversify the cast after six-season series regular Dorinda Medley announced she was leaving the show.

“NYC is filled with successful and dynamic Black women,” Williams shared in a statement. “I’m excited to join this legendary franchise as the first Black housewife. Can’t wait to share a slice of life in this city that hasn’t been seen before. Anyone who’s aware of my work knows I don’t hold back. I’m going to keep it just as real here as I do everywhere else.”

Now that the secret’s out, Williams sat down exclusively with ESSENCE first to go on the record about why she decided to join the show and what it means to her to be a Black woman blazing new trails of representation in mainstream television.

Eboni Williams attends Revolt Summit at Kings Theatre on July 24, 2019 in Brooklyn, New York. (John Lamparski/Getty Images)

“This franchise historically has not had a Black lens and now it will for the first time in 13 years,” Williams said. “I’m beyond. I’m thrilled. I’m honored. It is my great hope that my presence on this show will just do it justice. Do Black women justice. Do our culture justice. I can only hope to touch on the magic that are Black women.”

In her 2017 memoir, Pretty Powerful: Appearance, Substance & Success, Williams explored and rejected the narrative that beauty and power must be mutually exclusive and encouraged women to embrace their beauty as empowerment.

“Black women need to be in all spaces that decisions are made and culture is being influenced because it’s critical,” Williams added.

Williams is not married and is the first to admit that she’s not going to be “a typical housewife.” But the once deeply private, career-focused star is ready to open up and let viewers into a new stage of her life.

“I just turned 37 and I’m at a place in my life [where] I’m on the cusp of what does family look like for me? How do I define that? In CO-VID [times], if I’ve learned nothing else, I’ve learned that family is the single most important thing in the world, and it’s gonna be the most important thing in my world going forward. That’s new for me,” said Williams. “Viewers are gonna get to ride that journey with me as I go back to see where family is for me and what it is for me historically, and I start moving forward to creating a family of my own. That’s gonna be exciting. It’s a little scary to kind of go there, but I know it’s necessary for me to become the full woman that I want to be.”

Eboni K. Williams attends the REVOLT X AT&T 3-Day Summit In Los Angeles in 2019 (Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for REVOLT)

While this marks Williams’ first foray into reality TV, she is no stranger to being on camera. Her lengthy broadcast resume spans over 10 years and includes a current role as a co-host on REVOLT TV’s State of The Culture talk show, and past hosting and national anchor positions on FOX News Channel, FOX Sports and NBA 2K. Williams is also a practicing criminal defense lawyer who, before becoming best known for her no-nonsense analysis on politics, sports and pop culture, represented clients in criminal matters in her home state North Carolina and in Los Angeles. The seasoned on-air journalist regularly advocates for equality for Black women in criminal justice and she has also worked with CNN, HLN, CBS News and the NFL Network.

Fans expecting to tune in to instant friction between Williams and her new castmates can think again—she has other plans.

“You know, I’m a Bravo fan like everybody else. One thing I take very seriously is meeting each one of these women in a real-life, authentic capacity–not bringing any preconceptions [based on] what I may or may not have seen on television before as a viewer or a fan. These women are now a part of my real life, and a part of my real world, and I welcome all that comes with that. All the ups, all the downs, and all the bumps along the way,” Williams told ESSENCE. “You’re gonna see me forming very genuine and authentic relationships with each one of these women.”

Bravo has not released the RHONY Season 13 premiere date just yet, but filming for the season has begun.

TOPICS: