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At this point, we all know that there will not be a Real Housewives of New York reunion. Every Real Housewives franchise gets a reunion. And now for the first time ever, after 13 seasons and 12 consecutive reunions, the New York franchise decides to not have a reunion special. Which poses the question as to why? What could possibly be the reason to disrupt the flow after 13 seasons? According to a spokesperson for Bravo, the reunion will not be held “due to scheduling challenges around taping the reunion.” I think I speak for all fans of this franchise when I say, “Bullshit.”
Now, was this season one of the worst RHONY seasons? Yes. Were ratings the lowest they had ever been for this franchise? Sure. Was the cast smaller than normal? Definitely. Was the audience confused as to who was an actual cast member and who was a friend of? Absolutely. None of the questions posed, however, are specific to the RHONY franchise. In fact, other cities have had lower ratings, smaller casts, and worse seasons and they were still able to have reunions.
This was a historic season as badass Eboni K. Williams not only stepped on the scene, but commanded the attention of these ladies and the audience as the first ever black woman of the Real Housewives of New York franchise. Not only have we not seen a black housewife on this franchise, but we have also not seen black friends. I can only imagine how difficult this was for Eboni…wait a minute, I know exactly how this feels. Eboni’s presence presented the opportunity for the women, Bravo, and the audience to explore new topics, scenarios, culture, and experiences. She challenged the women and encouraged thought-provoking conversations that these women do not normally have to face in their everyday lives. Such challenges were very revealing about some of these women and what some may have assumed about them prior to this season turned into actualities.
Time and time again this season we saw Ebonie calmly explain and discuss race, politics, and culture despite getting pushback from the other women. She was called angry, preachy, not fun, and “articulate”. Side note: calling black people “articulate” is a microaggression just in case anyone reading this deems that as a positive description. And through it all, Eboni handled herself with such amazing composure and patience. And not because she wanted to, but because she had to. The same grace she was showing these women would not have been reciprocated by the audience. You think I am exaggerating? Not only am I speaking from personal experience, let me give you the receipts. Eboni had to take a two-week break from social media. And somehow, by simply voicing her opinion and being labeled angry by a fellow housewife, Eboni was deemed the bad guy in that scenario.
Now, returning to the issue of the reunion... or the lack thereof, Van and I recently had Eboni on our Higher Learning podcast to discuss her time on RHONY this season. When questioned as to if any of her castmates were racist, she referred to one as “anti-black.” Leading everyone to speculate as to who this “anti-black” castmate could be. Would you like my opinion as to who I believe she is referring to? Well, I am going to give it to you regardless…I believe it is Ramona Singer. On pretty much every terrible episode this season Ramona’s anti-black behavior was on full display. She could not empathize or sympathize with Eboni as she explained how things were affecting her and black people in the country. Ramona would argue with her, make excuses, leave the room, change the subject, or compare her experiences as a white woman to that of a black woman. This was infuriating to watch through a television screen. But Eboni had to experience this firsthand and alone because she for damn sure was not getting any assistance from Bershan.
The reunion is the time and place for the castmates to air out their grievances and to confront the women about specific issues that occurred during the season, on social media, or during their ITMs. As fans of the franchise, we were fully expecting to watch this for two to three reunion episodes like we do for every franchise. This season we will not be doing that and there are no complaints from the RHONY housewives (other than Eboni). The RHONY castmates are just thrilled to be able to bury their heads into their privileged worlds and continue in the manner they always have…turning a blind eye to the issues that do not impact them. During 2020, Bravo touted several specials dedicated to the discussion of race for the purpose of sharing with their audience through the eyes of Bravolebrities their experiences of being black in America. Well, I guess that died in 2020. Because here was a chance to not just have Black people tell you what it is to be black but to actually deal with “anti-blackness” and implied racism that aired on your network. Instead by not having a reunion you are protecting Ramona from having to confront her behavior and the ability to learn from it. In essence, by not having a reunion Bravo is pulling a “Ramona” and making excuses as to why they are not having one. If they were serious about having these conversations and continuing the historic path of this season, then they would have worked out the “scheduling conflicts” like they do for every other season and every other franchise. But they did not. This experience was taken away from us but more importantly taken away from Eboni. This was a missed opportunity. As a loyal fan…shame on you.