We’ve seen new Bravo Housewives give all sorts of
excuses explanations for joining the casts of the various franchises. They tell us that they’re bringing awareness to their various causes and foundations, that they want to help people, or that they just want to promote whatever product they’re selling. Kenya Moore and Porsha Stewart, the two new members of the Atlanta Housewives, aren’t any different. More than that, though, they’re incredibly self-absorbed, immature, completely clueless, and more than a bit delusional. Kenya is living in the past, partly in her glory days and partly in the past she made up. Porsha, on the other hand, has no idea what happened in past. She’s completely caught up in her present day life and seems to have no idea as to what her family’s history really means.
Kenya Moore likes to talk about her title, Miss
USA of 1993, not Miss America, thank you very much. Get that wrong and you’ll never hear the end of it. Her Miss USA crowning and the fact that she’s a black businesswoman make her a part of history, at least that’s how she sees it. Vanessa Williams is her idol, the first African-American to become Miss America. Kenya was the second woman of color to take the Miss USA title, with Carol Gist as the first in 1990. Miss Kenya loves to tell everyone just what she means to the history books. The beauty queen thing is just a speed bump when it comes to the significance of her accomplishments. To drive home the point, Kenya has claimed her place on a different list, right after JFK, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Somebody better explain that to me, because I’m missing where and how she fits on that roster. I would have thought that she’d be better off counting herself among strong and successful black women, like Oprah Winfrey, Shirley Chisholm and Marion Wright Edelman, but Kenya in Kenya-land sees things her own way.
Seeing things through her Kenya glasses means that she not only makes history, but makes some of it up as she goes along. Take her version of “Gone With The Wind”, for example. She’s been twirling and pirouetting all over Anguilla, happily announcing that she’s “Gone With The Wind fabulous”. She even threw herself onto the beach, a scene that left me lwondering if she was going to raise a conch shell towards the Heavens, stating, “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.” Her GWTW must be a remake starring Vanessa Williams as Scarlett O’Hara. I don’t know how to break it to her, but there was nothing fabulous in that book or movie for the plight of Mammy or Prissy. Hattie McDaniel was fabulous and won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, but that’s about as far as I can stretch it when it comes to a book or movie about the Civil War, and the role of African-Americans in our nation’s history.
I looked at Kenya’s website to see if I could find what college she attended, but when I tried to read her bio it scrolled by faster than the production and crew credits on my television. I made up some history for Kenya, instead. She must have gotten her degree at the University of Pageants, majoring in Beauty Queen History with a minor in Twirling and Waving. One of the textbooks had to have been written by Vanessa Williams, which she had signed and then gave to Cynthia, to pass along her knowledge, with a touch of fabulous. I can’t think of another reason for why she learned very little about real history, while giving herself permission to be so haughty, callous and dismissive of other women.
As for Porsha, well, she doesn’t have any excuse for her own bad behavior. She had the gift of a personal tutor with real-life knowledge of America’s black history. Her grandfather, Hosea Williams, was a part of that history, a man who locked arms with Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy and Andrew Young in marches through Montgomery and St Augustine. He was arrested 125 times during the period leading up to and beyond the Civil Rights Acts. He, along with John Lewis, was beaten and tear-gassed as they led 600 fellow protestors across the Edmund Pettus Bridge into Selma – a day that became known as “Bloody Sunday”. Sadly, he was among those who was with Dr. King and witnessed his assassination at the Lorraine Motel.
Hosea Williams, Jesse Jackson, Martin Luther King Jr., and Ralph Abernathy
on the Balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis
This New Year’s Day marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Abraham Lincoln’s brilliant document that not only helped slaves find freedom, but that changed the course and purpose of the Civil War. It would take another 100 years before African-Americans would break down more barriers – to vote, to desegregate schools, to sit at the counter, to ride somewhere other than in the back of the bus. This work was done, in part, thanks to men like Hosea Williams. All of those good and brave men and women wanted nothing more than for their children and grandchildren to live in a country where people treated each other with respect and kindness.
I can’t imagine what Mr. Williams would think of his granddaughter’s appearance on a Bravo reality show. Oh, she tosses his name around for her own purposes and holds fundraisers for the Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless foundation, but I’m not sure she really understands what that legacy means. She has some pretty big shoes to fill and a lot more work to do. I don’t think her grandfather, and the men who suffered to make a better world for her, and all of the men and women like her, could watch and be happy as Kenya and Porsha fight with and curse at each other. They didn’t face down the Ku Klux Klan and the police and National Guardsmen only to have their grandchildren refer to each other as “tramps”, “low-class whores” and “hood rats”. These women might want to take a look at the real history that brought them to where they are now, to the things they enjoy and seemingly take for granted. And when they’re at a function to raise money to feed the poor and homeless, they should think about how many meals that Chanel bag could’ve provided and how none of those hungry people care whether you’re Miss America or Miss USA. They’ll just thank you for the fabulous food and for Hosea Williams. That beats a designer bag and a tiara, any day.