Wendy Williams...

[From EUR]

WENDY WILLIAMS OPENS HER BIG MOUTH: And she just keeps going and going and going. Just (ask) Whitney.
by Ricardo Hazell

Wendy Williams
(Feb. 7, 2003) *Once upon a time a celebrity or newsmaker could expect to sit down with a reporter or writer and expect a smooth, non-threatening almost gushing interview. Later, as scandals and the like became the norm, reporters began going into interviews hoping to get an exclusive nugget or two, but most of the realness came from so-called "friends" and associates of the interview subject. These days, though the formula remains the same, the hunger of the masses for tabloid style, sensationalistic reporting has given birth to a class of gossiper commonly known as the shock jock. This is the category in which radio personality Wendy Williams of WBLS in New York City.
Though she has been known to ruffle feathers during her sessions, and with her scintillating and cutting gossip, she has managed to have topnotch celebrities visit and revisit her show regularly. A subject of particular interest to Williams in the past has been superstar entertainer Whitney Houston. She has spoken about the Arista Recording artists trials and tribulations many times in the past and, it appears, Ms. Houston was listening and was not appreciative of the manner in which her name was used. EUR/EURweb was fortunate enough to catch up with Wendy Williams and ask her, in the immortal words of Busta Rhymes, 'What da dilly...yo?' With all the people she has gotten to we're surprised no one has run up on her yet.

"The types of questions I ask people are questions I personally want to know the answers to," said Williams via her cell phone. "The questions can be very personal for celebrities, but, oh well."

Though it may seem as though reporters are lying in wait preparing to pounce on unsuspecting newsmakers, that's not all true. Even Williams admits there is some hesitation, but she just powers through it. In her words she'll just "take a deep breath and go in. The types of questions I ask people are questions that I want to know the answers to as well and sometimes those questions can be very personal."

Understandably, Williams has gotten more than a few threats. The most memorable is the one Tupac gave on an unreleased track. But Williams said no one ever follows through.

"No, believe it or not, nothing like that has ever happened in my entire career. I know people are going to say 'Oh, she's lying' but it's true. You know, at the end of the day I find that people whose persona is really stuff and things like that, they're basically cowards. I've been out in parties and situations with people who ... we might be on each others bad side or what have you, but nothing big.

On the other hand, the biggest confrontation she ever had occurred recently and it was with someone who should've know better.

"I was interviewing Judge Mathis and he called me the F-word and walked out of the studio and that's because I was getting under his skin with an issue very close to home, recalled Williams. "He came to New York to promote his new book and I mentioned to him an article that I had read. Mind you, Judge Mathis and I are friendly. He has been on my show to promote his show. So, when his book came out it was only natural for him to come on my show to promote his book. I mentioned an incident relating to he and an extra marital affair, the use of cocaine by him, marijuana by him, kinky sex, including three-way sex, and he had a fall out with this girl and she alleges that he became physically threatening toward her."

Williams says that when she asked Mathis about the alleged incident, he became very, uh, belligerent.

"You know the saying 'Thou doth protest too much' I watched him show out and everybody was absolutely floored. He went into the other room and at the time I was shooting a pilot for an upcoming VH1 special and my husband was there. So, he stormed out and went to where my employees and my husband was and he was like 'You want some of this too!' It wasn't very judge like. He was more like a guilty defendant."

And here we were looking up to da judge, and his ghetto self. Oh well. Anyway, we wanted to get down to the Whitney business. but we didn't want to be rude and cut her off. Yeah, picture that, the EUR not wanting to be rude. We sat patiently through her book story and the story about how she was offered a spot as a sidekick to Rosie O'Donnell when her now defunct show was in its early stages and ... GASP ... finally we got down to some Whit biz.

"I got a call at my radio station (WBLS) in New York saying 'Whitney Houston is going to call you in 15 minutes. She wants to interview with you to help sell her CD. The first week of sales did well for Whitney, or any artist. The sales have since fallen.' Needless to say, she now had to do some press to sell her CD. They said her phone call can only be about the CD and I bit my tongue and rejected the interview. People don't care about the CD, they wanna find out what's going on with Whitney in her personal life and the alleged drug problems and all the stuff Diane Sawyer talked about. But the label said 'fine' and canceled it. 15 minutes later the phone rang, and it was Whitney herself.

"She started off with saying 'Wendy, Wendy, Wendy in exhaustion.' We talked about her music maybe 2% of the whole interview. I realized from talking with Whitney that there were two Whitney Houstons. There's Whitney in her right mind, then there's nutty Whitney. The Whitney I was talking to was the nutty Whitney, and I knew that 50 seconds into the conversation. I asked her who set up the Diane Sawyer interview, because my next statement was going to be that that person needs to be fired, and she told me she set that up. I asked her whether abuse was an issue in her marriage and she said the media was an issue ... 'you people. You people who talk about me. You hide in the trees and wait for me to come out of my house.' She was very defensive during the interview, as well she should be because the whole country has backed her into a corner. Especially we as black people getting on her about her neurotic behavior. Though her music is not selling, Whitney Houston is timeless. I would take a Whitney Houston career over a Britney Spears career any day. But Whitney has done this to herself. Anybody who has dealt with substance abuse knows that you eventually reach a point where you no longer have discreet behavior. I was a substance abuser for many years, so I know."

Indeed, although Williams' style is abrasive and confrontational, the success of her show is apparent. But what, we asked Williams, does she have to say to her enemies?

"Well, to those people who don't like my style, I totally understand. Everything is not for everybody. There's nothing I can say. I don't intend on changing my style unnaturally. People who love my style thought that I was too soft on Whitney. Other people that love my style thought that I was good for holding my tongue while Whitney lashed out at me. I could have jumped down her throat on a number of different levels. People who heard excerpts of my interview on Access Hollywood, BET News or what have you only saw small parts. Whitney was not in her right mind. She was ghetto, and I mean GHET-TO! People who come to my show know what to expect. For instance, Mariah Carey came on my show. We had a face to face and she brought champagne and Chinese food we talked for two hours. She didn't walk out or get upset of nothing like that. She was a perfect lady and a girlfriend and she defended herself. Jennifer Lopez came into the studio and we chatted for an hour and a half. She never came out of her skin, beautiful!"

In closing, Wendy WIlliams told the EUR peeps that she just loves what she does and that is what propels her forward everyday.

"So many of the people on the radio in this country want to be actors or they want to be rappers or they want to become friends with the rappers. Nobody wants to just enjoy what they're doing, they want to be as close to the subject as possible. If you wanna be like me, then you're not going to be invited to Bali (by Puffy), or get invited out to the Hamptons or the big, splashy Jay-Z fireworks display. I would rather do a good radio show and have Jay-Z hate my guts. I never was big on hob knobbing with the celebrities so I feel freer to talk to them however I please without worrying about the repercussions of asking a certain question."

Today New York, tomorrow, well maybe in a couple of months, the world! Yep, Wendy Williams is going national and global via VH1 and radio syndication. more about that in a future EUR report. -- Interview by Lee Bailey



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