Wendy Williams —
Pop-Culture Critique of the #1 Talkshow in America
"How you doin'?"
I would have never guessed, but day-time television offers a fascinating assessment of the human condition. The leading mediums of day-time television are talk shows and soap operas - both fueled by dramatic recreations of truly quotidian life-events (i.e., romance, break-up, finances, sociality).
My fascination with Wendy Williams started in regards to her minority status. As a black male in America, I have been conditionally aware of the limited social mobility among minority groups. So I started with the simple question: How did she get so fucking popular?
Wendy Williams simultaneously novelizes and waters-down the iconic image of strong black womanhood. Through this, she accumulates respect from the general public (see Ask Wendy) and performs perceptions of blackness for mass consumption.
Ultimately, I found Williams' unquestioned and unverified status as a cultural critic is rooted in her identity as a black woman in America. In the face of dual discrimination, Williams' identity performances and display of cultural mastery acts as a pillar to the American Dream. If she made it here, anyone can.
This work was presented at two regional conferences and one national conference. It was the winner of best paper at the Georgia Sociological Association annual conference in 2015.