The Real Housewives of New York
“Stop and Throw the Roses”
June 8, 2021
We begin where we left off, with Eboni excusing herself from The Countess’s home after The Countess made it clear she was no longer welcome having committed the sins of 1. saying she had a law degree and 2. not appreciating being called an angry Black woman (in so many words). As she walks out, Eboni assures Sonja and Heather that she can make it back to Ramona’s house on her own and that they should stay and enjoy The Countess’s famous hospitality.
Eboni arrives at Ramona’s where she tells Leah that The Countess kicked her out after calling her an angry Black woman and Leah is OUTRAGED.
We then Rashomon what was said between the two women that led us to this place: Eboni was offended that The Countess blamed Ramona’s sensitivity towards frank talk about sex to her “education,” and she was compelled to explain that it’s not about education as she’s more educated than anyone else at the table. And then when things escalated from there, The Countess called Eboni “angry.” Leah tells Eboni she’s a far better woman than she is because she would haven’t burned it all down at that point.
Yeah, we know.
Meanwhile, back at The Countess’, she’s still FURIOUS that Eboni ACTUALLY SAID that she was “smarter” than the rest of them. (She did not.)
Heather pulls out her calm, reasonable voice and explains to The Countess that she did call Eboni “angry” which is a REALLY LOADED WORD when it comes to Black women. The Countess argues that Eboni was upset and raised her voice and while Heather is like, “yes, she raised her voice, but you people aren’t hearing her and don’t understand what she’s saying, like when she pointed out Ramona’s white fragility.” Ramona huffs that she doesn’t even know what “white fragility” means, and Heather is like “Yes, that’s the point, and what you should have done is ask her what it means. The onus is on us as white women to understand and listen.”
Heather adds that The Countess needs to go in with apologies, and The Countess is SHOCKED! that SHE! should have to apologize to EBONI! And Heather is like, “I get it, you felt attacked in your home, but I guess I have to beat you idiots over the head with this: NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO BE EXPRESSING YOUR SENSE OF ‘RIGHTEOUSNESS.’ NOW IS THE TIME FOR US AS WHITE PEOPLE TO PUSH PAUSE AND LISTEN TO AND EMPATHIZE WITH SOMEONE ELSE’S PERSPECTIVE. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE WORLD?”
Ramona and The Countess:
The women return to Ramona’s, where Heather joins Leah and Eboni, who, God bless them, have taken to their robes because WHY PANTS? There’s a pandemic going on. It’s shocking to me that these women bother to get ever dressed, frankly, much less employ entire glam squads JUST TO HANG OUT WITH ONE ANOTHER.
But I digress.
So Heather comes into the room, and Leah’s like “I heard I missed a real shitshow!” Heather is like, “Yeah, the thing about The Countess is that her ego comes first, and Eboni notes that she’s not sure she can be friends with people who lack a consciousness about how their experiences in this country differ wildly from her own.
And that’s when Heather announces that she views the world through a different lens than The Countess because she’s been in the homes at the core of Black America. And Eboni, God bless her, asks her to tell her more about that.
Heather goes on to explain that she worked with Puffy for years and also, too, Beyoncé, and Eboni is like, “I’m going to stop you right there: that’s the world of hip-hop, that’s not real Black America.” Heather clarifies: yes, Puffy is the “illusion” of Black America; she’s talking about the people who worked with him or for him who had no money, but yes, she was involved in Black culture. She goes on to tell an anecdote about a friend of hers who was unable to hail a cab because he was black and insists that she’s “seen things that White America hasn’t seen.”
Eboni, always the lawyer, is gracious, explaining in an interview that Heather does have a heightened awareness, but that she also “overfamiliarizes” herself in a way that doesn’t make her comfortable. And you know what? I’m going to defer to the Black woman on this one.
Heather then has advice for Leah that she did not ask for which is to tell the other women to take her or leave her as she is. And Leah actually restrains herself from saying, “Bitch, I’ve done that SEVERAL TIMES OVER,” so let’s at least give Leah some points for that.
Elsewhere, Ramona and Sonja go downstairs to get ready for dinner, which they are — oh, Lord have mercy — going to make themselves?
And even better, during her time in Florida, Ramona stopped by the local Ft. Lauderdale souvenir shop and picked up a bunch of those aprons with a cartoon woman in a bikini on them for the ladies to cook in. Fun!
Heather, meanwhile, swings by The Countess’s room and suggests that before dinner they all have a little sit down and try to hash things out without talking over one another. The Countess is initially still in WHAT ABOUT ME mode and reminds Heather that, and I quote, “[Eboni] got up off of her seat,” as if that’s some measurement of inexcusable anger. But Heather gently reminds The Countess that Eboni was reacting to something that The Countess said that was insulting. Hopefully, if they can all just sit together and be calm and listen they can grow from it, and The Countess, sensing that Heather is giving her a — let’s call it a “grace space” — takes the advice because this is the only off-ramp she really has.
The ladies come downstairs, and Eboni pours herself a tequila before the great meeting of the minds takes place. Upstairs, Sonja urges The Countess to fix this: she and Eboni get along, they should all just try to get this behind them. And The Countess, revealing she’s learned nothing, agrees but adds that Eboni has to meet her halfway.
So the women sit down together in the fireplace room, and Eboni calmly explains to The Countess and to all the other women by extension that she respects The Countess very much which is why it was so unacceptable when The Countess called her “angry.” Eboni continues her Racism 101 lecture by telling her that there is a long, heavy, loaded history of this country not allowing Black women the full range of human emotions and that any time Black women raise their voices — which Eboni freely admits she did — they are labeled as “angry.”
And just to go deeper, because Eboni is too polite to do so, the “angry Black woman” trope ties into this whole notion that Black people are savages who aren’t in control of their emotions, and is used as a justification for their subjugation during slavery times all the way through our current political history. Just this year, BLM protestors were falsely labeled by some as more violent and dangerous than other protest groups, even though studies have shown that BLM protests were 93% non-violent. And that 7% that were labeled “violent” included when protestors responded to violence perpetrated by the police or counter-protestors, or when Confederate statues were being (rightfully) torn down. So. Take your “angry” and “violent” stereotypes and shove them, because January 6 was more violent and more fundamentally dangerous to our country than any BLM protest from last summer:
Alright, so Eboni explains all of this (though not all of this), and The Countess counters that she didn’t know the word “angry” was so triggering, that she didn’t use it to belittle, and this is all one big miscommunication. She was upset that Eboni was upset and maybe that was the word she should have used, “upset.” The Countess then tells Eboni that she has to “educate” the rest of them on this (Ramona agrees) because she doesn’t really know.
The Countess then goes on to apologize to Eboni for “becoming upset” and demands that Eboni extend the same to her.
And Eboni, she calmly replies, “You want me to apologize to you for making you upset?” Sonja, then, the sidekick to Eboni’s one-woman crusade to educate these assholes, asks The Countess to express how, exactly, she was upset by Eboni, and The Countess stammers that she was upset because Eboni was yelling and she got upset with The Countess over something The Countess didn’t really understand.
So, to recap: The Countess was upset because Eboni had human emotions. Exactly what Eboni was trying to explain to these dunces. Gotcha.
Heather again reiterates that it’s time for them as white people to step back and give Eboni an apology and move on, and The Countess sorta tries by saying she’s sorry for triggering Eboni.
In response, Eboni explains that she is not going to apologize to The Countess for having a natural human emotion, and asks, by the way, why is it that Leah can cuss all you out to your faces and call you all “hos” and no one accuses her of being angry?
And we’ll all just sit here and marinate in that one because there is no Goddamned answer, Ramona, “grandma is dying” is not an answer.
Eboni goes on to tell the women that while she takes them at their word that they are sorry, it is not her burden to educate them. Ramona insists they aren’t asking her to, BUT BITCH, YOU LITERALLY JUST DID.
Sonja Morgan, over here, says in an interview that it is on them as rich privileged white ladies to learn and do better. They can’t just turn the page, they have to read it, feel the pain, sit in the awkwardness of it before that page can be turned, and friends, Sonja Morgan is 100% correct, full stop.
The Countess asks Eboni for “patience” and Eboni is like “WHAT DO YOU THINK I AM GIVING YOU RIGHT NOW?” Heather then chimes in that they, as white people, need to show change by their actions, not just their words, to which Leah urges, in an interview, that Heather’s action be to shut the fuck up and listen.
And Ladies! You’re both right! And you’re both awful!
On that note, The Countess hopes it was still the “best day,” and Eboni, being diplomatic, says that it was the “most honest” day, so by that measure — which is not the same measure — it was the best day. And then they hug it out and Eboni wisely excuses herself from Ramona’s home-cooked dinner in favor of some UberEats.
On her way back upstairs, Sonja stops Eboni to insist that The Countess is a good person, and Eboni is like “Of course: no one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes,” and Sonja interrupts with, “Well, I’m a loser.” Eboni then spins on this, tells Sonja that she is “a queen,” and tells her that she wants her to know that about herself. Eboni tells an emotional Sonja that she is “high-worth, no matter what other people might have told [her].” Eboni then goes on to say in an interview that Sonja has allowed her friends to tell her that she’s not valuable and that she’s lost sight of her own value.
Sonja then reiterates that she doesn’t think this moment is about apologies, it’s about white people changing their behavior, that the weight is on white folks to do better. In an interview, Eboni notes that she genuinely doesn’t think Sonja is pandering, and in fact, that she seems to get it more than any of the other white women she’s hanging with. Which, honestly, is not hard to do.
Cut to: Eboni returning to Leah’s room, around the same time Heather comes in to grab her bag. Heather tells Eboni she did a “great job” and then notes that Eboni is “very articulate.”
As soon as she leaves, Eboni laughs at the microaggression, before noting that she knows Heather means well, so she’s going to give her a pass. (This time.)
The next morning, Ramona, trying out this whole “empathy” thing, notes to Sonja that she tried thinking about how she would feel if she were the only white woman in a group of Black women and realized: it would be difficult! And sometimes, Ramona finds herself admitting, she’s in her own little world! Being around Eboni has really opened her mind, Ramona says with all the unearned confidence of a wealthy white woman.
Eboni, meanwhile, is on the phone with one of her friends, a matchmaker in Philadelphia, determined to find someone for Sonja to date. Which is very sweet, but does she know that finding men to date is not actually Sonja’s problem?
As for The Countess, she’s feeling a little fragile: she’s hurt that someone became upset because of something she said or did. Which, again, is making her feelings primary, but at least she’s no longer demanding Eboni apologize to her for raising her voice. So progress? I guess?
The women then load up into the party van for that day’s activity: a little shore casting and lunch on the beach. To fish, the women are given thick brown waders because it’s October on Long Island, but Leah straight-up refuses to wear them and participate in the fishing because ew, gross, no.
Sonja, however, is all about fishing, and all about their fishing guide, an older, stouter gentleman whose time and attention she monopolizes. But unlike some of her drunker attempts as flirting with men in their employ, Sonja manages to not embarrass herself this time.
Instead of fishing, Leah spends her time practicing her hula-hooping “talent” for the Halloween party The Countess is hosting that evening which has a 1970s Beauty Pageant theme? And they will have to perform in this pageant? And I have lots of questions, but at least we have an answer to this question from two episodes ago:
— let’s get this bread & roses🌹 (@mollybolten) May 26, 2021
Asked and answered.
After some fishing, Eboni informs Sonja that she called a matchmaker friend on Sonja’s behalf and that they are going to Philadelphia to pick up some
hoagies and Frank’s Black Cherry Wishniaks men of value.
The women retreat to a picnic blanket for lunch where Eboni invites everyone to her home for Election Night, because what could go wrong with that? They then begin discussing THE MOST TERRIFYING ELECTION OF MY LIFETIME, and who they think is going to win, but o-ho-ho! No one is falling for that trick again, those 2016 scars are still a little too fresh to be revisiting them.
Heather asks if everyone has early voted, and Leah begins talking some both-sides bullshit about how she’s not excited by either candidate and she just doesn’t want to participate at all. This, understandably, alarms some of the women because the 2020 election IS NOT THE TIME TO BECOME DISENCHANTED WITH OUR DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM. Heather scolds Leah, as ANY SANE PERSON WOULD, and Leah huffs that she doesn’t like Biden but she’ll vote for him, she just wants things to go back to normal. “SO YOU VOTE!” Heather urges. Leah then says that she feels like everyone is in a “cult” and I swear to God this is everything wrong with this entire stupid country. And I could just scream and scream and scream and never stop screaming but my
New Year’s Joe Biden’s Inauguration resolution was to stop screaming so much. So instead I’m just going to say, “Leah is wrong and wrapping her ignorance in cynicism,” and call it a day.
They return to Ramona’s to get ready for this Halloween 70s beauty pageant, and practice their “talents.” Ramona’s talent is going to be “working out in an evening gown;” Sonja’s is miming; Leah’s is hula-hooping as we determined earlier; The Countess will be baton-twirling; Eboni’s is spoken word; Heather’s is “cheerleading.”
As they are getting dressed, Leah receives a call from her mother reporting that her grandmother is barely hanging on, and there’s another emotional breakdown on Leah’s part. I dunno, maybe she shouldn’t have gone on this trip … ?
Leah collects herself enough to get herself into her costume and makeup and tells Eboni that she’s going to go to New Jersey first thing the next morning to be with her family. As her 70s-prom-queen-whose-throat-has-been-slashed makeup is completed, the party bus arrives. And they are literally just about to get on the bus when Eboni mentions to Leah that Heather told her she thought Leah was being really hard on her and that she’s bothered about Leah’s blasé attitude towards voting. Eboni adds that she agrees with Heather because the stakes are particularly high for her and her fellow people of color.
Leah snaps and announces that she is FUCKING DONE with Heather, and storms out of the room looking for her. Yelling down at Heather from the upstairs, Leah screams that Heather needs to stop talking about her and her vote, that she is the embodiment of white feminism and the problem itself, and then calls Heather a “Karen” and demands that she get out of everyone’s business.
Leah continues to shriek about how it’s not Heather’s business who she votes for, and frankly, she doesn’t really care what happens in this election because SHE IS THINKING ABOUT HER DYING GRANDMOTHER.
Somehow, these two end up in the party bus alone together, and Leah is still on her rampage, screaming at Heather to leave her alone and throwing her prop flowers at her before stomping off the bus and yelling that SHE IS NOT GOING. SHE IS GOING HOME TO NEW JERSEY BECAUSE SHE CAN NOT BE AROUND THAT PSYCHO.
The Real Housewives of New York airs on Bravo.