Monday, July 21, 2008

Her Queendom Cometh: The Triumphs of Wendy Williams



This past Monday July 14th marked the premiere of New York’s most notorious radio personality Wendy Williams’ daytime talk show on the Fox Network (this is a six week sneak peak and only available in New York, Detroit, Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles). If you don’t know who Wendy is or her true “Rocky” story, here we go in a nutshell. Ms. Williams has been a fixture on New York radios stations since the eighties, where she bounced around and finallylanded at 98.7 KISS FM where she honed her “put a celeb on blast/just chatting with a girlfriend” style. When that station was bought out she was switched to Hot 97 which was also owned by the same company. She remained there until 1998 when she was famously fired amidst rumors of a physical altercation with another female DJ. But you can be the judge just pick up her first New York Times Best Selling autobiography, Wendy’s Got The Heat.


And then there were those three years when she broadcast from New York’s first cousin, Philadelphia and it seemed like Wendy was done in the Big Apple. Maybe she had pissed off too many people in the industry (there were those persistent rumors and just as much silence from insiders) or wanted to start over some place new herself? Whatever the cause the effect was Wendy being absent from the landscape of the city and Wendy is as New York as street corner hot dog vendors, Coney Island and Biggie. But Ms. Williams was working hard in Philly, had secured a new fan base and sky rocketed that stations ratings. Then came 2001, the offer from 107.5 WBLS and The Wendy Williams Experience was born. Did somebody say like a Phoenix from the flames? And our girl was back with that juicy, infectious and mischievous giggle dishin’ dirt, securing interviews with hip-hop & R&B A-listers, re-capping reality shows, tossing out Wendyisms (donkey, a swoop down, luxuriate, negroidian, pinkies up etc.) and all along the way solidifying the brand that is Wendy Williams. From her VH1 show, Wendy Williams Is On Fire, Billboard Awards, two NY Times Best Selling Books up to her network premiere on Fox Wendy continues to defy set backs and has defined a space for herself as a “Media Queen.”


On Friday July 18th the fifth day of her live TV show Wendy turned 44 and her parents and brother were in the audience to mark the day with her. But Wendy was celebrating just as much as she was acknowledging her journey. From her start on a station in St. Croix, the big jump to D.C. to creating a name for herself in New York. She also claims the years of addiction to Cocaine, her public firing and the fickleness of fans and fame. Not to mention the candid talks about trying to have a child, the miscarriages but the eventual full term pregnancy and birth of her son all the while working to keep her marriage together, still broadcasting and planning ahead. Those defining, maturing and humbling experiences say just as much about what she is made of as well as who she is today. Wendy said it best in an interview with New York Magazine, “Virtually everything in my life I have plotted on to get it. Nothing has happened by fluke.” So it was a grown woman on the set of her TV show that honored her parents and their support of her, their fifty plus years of marriage and finally her tenacity in life and in an industry that gives women nothing and devours the weak.

-Adisa Vera Beatty

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