The last time Eboni K. Williams made headlines was courtesy of her making history on The Real Housewives of New York. The former lawyer turned commentator and reality star became the first Black full-timer in the show’s 13-year history and she did not disappoint. But besides some excitement, complaints came that Williams’ Black history lessons and schooling her privileged white high society co-stars on microaggressions were too much.
After the season ended, there was too much-reported drama behind the scenes to keep up with. So much so that there was no reunion special. The culture screamed that it was due to Williams shaking things up. It was recently announced that the show is getting a reboot and new cast for its upcoming season, and Williams’ status with the show is still TBD.
Now, she’s is back on television, but not on Bravo. She’s in Beyond the Edge, a new Survivor-like competition from the produces of Naked and Afraid. Williams is proof that she has more than what it takes.
She spoke to S&A Unscripted about the fallout from RHONY, her new show and why it was right on time, and lots more.
Why ‘Beyond the Edge’ was a welcome change of pace for her
Right after filming RHONY, Williams was approached about Beyond the Edge. Due to the firestorm from the Bravo reality series that was brewing, mixed with her own personal issues, Williams admits she found herself in a state of depression. When the opportunity for this show came about, she opted to jump on it.
“I’m not a physician, so I can’t tell you if it was high functioning or low functioning depression. All I know is I spent a lot of time on the couch, eating things I normally don’t really eat, just trying to comfort myself, just trying to feel good and nothing was really working,” she said. “And so I think from a mental space, despite the best efforts and having wonderful friends and people checking on me and a therapist, I just was in a struggling place emotionally. I would say more emotionally than mentally. So when I got the call for Beyond the Edge, I knew it would kind of force me at least to get off the couch.
She said that she credits the experience with getting her on the right track. “This was really the catalyst to get me to act as if they were from the physical part of the show, though I’m easily the least athletic person that was able to participate in this cool experience,” she said. “It was really intimidating when I first got there. But I had to kind of find my way and make my peace with it. I’m not going to be the fastest or the strongest, but I will finish.”
On ‘RHONY’ not having a reunion following her first season
Williams made her stamp during Season 13 of RHONY as the first Black apple holder in the show’s history. She made no apologies for all of her Black girl magic and her career and education background and went toe to toe with anyone who tried her. Her fans couldn’t wait for her to address certain situations that took place during the season at the reunion taping. But after weeks turned into months, it was announced that there would be no reunion taping due to “scheduling conflicts.”
It marked the first in Bravo history that there would be no reunion taping for a Housewives franchise, despite arranging virtual reunions amid the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Many speculated that it had everything to do with Williams holding her co-stars and the network accountable for microaggressions and discriminatory comments. Williams told S&A that she can only believe what she was told from the network executives.
“I’m an attorney, so I deal in fact and not speculation. The network came to us and I think there was legitimately some kind of effort to actually have a reunion, only because we were being told up until the very last minute to ‘Get your dresses in order. This is the color scheme – white creams and champagne. We’re trying to find a ballroom.’ I do know that it was hard because they were competing with Fashion Week,” she told us. “So from a logistical standpoint, from what I was being told, I had every good faith belief. And it was the day I was in Dallas, picking up my custom-made gown, and then I got a call that day that they just simply could not make it happen. So. I guess inquiring minds will always wonder.”
Despite being the first full-time Black housewife on the show, Williams did make a few great connections.
She came in as a friend to McSweeney, who Williams previously told S&A that they bonded over their shared experiences in life at their current phases. She also considered McSweeney to be an ally to the culture.
Outside of McSweeney, Williams took a liking and developed a friendship with Sonja Morgan. Though she remains in contact with Morgan, the same cannot be said for McSweeney. There were rumors that McSweeney and a few other co-stars left a Dave Quinn party upon her arrival last fall, but Williams can’t say so. Instead, Williams says her fallout with McSweeney is due to differing opinions.
“I don’t talk to Leah. I haven’t spoken to Leah since right before the Dave Quinn incident,” Wiliams said. “I had one conversation with Leah after that. She called me with an issue – and I wish her the very best, you know. I just think people have been really nasty toward her and it’s hard for me to see the social media pile-on for anybody. All of that aside, I can just tell you that we found ourselves as a place, as grown women where there were some deeply personal values of mine that are not in full alignment with her values and on these particular issues as it relates to the show.”
Watch the rest of the interview above for more on Beyond the Edge, Williams’ thoughts on returning to RHONY, the reported discrimination investigation that happened behind the scenes of the Bravo show and what’s next for her.