The Real Housewives of New York
“A Harlem Night”
June 29, 2021
“A Night in Harlem with Eboni K. Williams” is not the name of Eboni’s cheater-brand cabaret show, but instead the official title she gives a dinner party she is hosting. I did not realize dinner parties required official titles, much less middle initials, but I will update my etiquette guide accordingly.
As she is getting glammed up, Eboni receives a call from Ramona informing her that she will be bringing new Friend of the Housewives, Bershan Shaw, a motivational speaker Ramona claims to have met through mutual friends that summer. And by “mutual friends,” she means “the casting department” who cast her at the same time they cast Eboni after they received the memo from Bravo to DIVERSIFY THE CAST IMMEDIATELY.
The other women pick out their outfits and discuss how much time they’ve spent in Harlem: Sonja has been there but mostly as a tourist; The Countess claims that she and Jacques used to go to Sylvia’s and dancing all the time; Ramona, unsurprisingly, has never set foot in Harlem before this night.
Ramona and Bershan ride up to Harlem together, and Ramona insists in an interview that New Yorkers tend to stay in their “regions” which is certainly true of these particular New Yorkers, but is hardly some a universal truth.
— Real Housewives Gifs (@housewifegifs) June 30, 2021
Bershan then tells a revealing story about Ramona: that she realized she liked Ramona when Ramona, upon meeting her, told her “I love your lashes, but they’re a little too long for daytime.” This completely unnecessary comment was the moment when Bershan realized
this white woman has no filter and feels entitled to say whatever is passing through her walnut brain at any given moment “I could f with this girl.” Ramona looks taken aback, but accepts the … I’m going to say “compliment”?
Eboni arrives at the restaurant first, followed by her friend Natalie. This, by the way, is the last of Natalie that we will see this evening, though she is there the entire time.
Leah soon arrives wearing an unflattering mint green stain pantsuit which … WHERE DOES ONE EVEN FIND THIS? I can not wrap my brain around wearing this in public, much less seeing it in a store and choosing to purchase it, but maybe that’s why she’s a Housewife and I am decidedly not.
The Countess, for her part, has decided that this is some sort of costume party and arrives in a red evening gown, opera gloves, and a zebra fur shrug. And yes, obviously it’s Jovani. Obviously.
Sonja: “ Is this Jovani?”
— BravolebrityQuotes (@BravolebQuotes) June 30, 2021
Oh, and it’s also worth mentioning that the speakeasy where they are having dinner is at the bottom of the single most terrifying set of stairs ever, particularly if you are wearing heels — which, of course, they all are. (Though, again, WHY? It’s a pandemic! Throw your heels away! Set them on fire! Hurl them into the East River! BE FREE.)
— The Ordacity (@TheOrdacity) June 30, 2021
As the women brave the stairs one-by-one and make their arrivals, they head to the bar, someone announcing that she could use a shot, because she’d had a long day, and Bershan CORRECTLY notes that “America had a long day.” (This is all taking place on November 4. Y’all are going to need shots for another couple of months, I’m afraid.)
The women then pose for a photo, only to have Ramona rearrange where everyone is standing because she happened to notice that the women had self-segregated, with all the Black women on one side, and the white women on the other. Leah, for one, is impressed that it was Ramona who noticed this and wonders if she’s actually trying.
They go upstairs for dinner where, before food is served, Eboni gives an elaborate presentation in parts, which, I suppose is the “with Eboni K. Williams” part of the event. First, Eboni gives each of the women a candle from the Harlem Candle Company with some explanation as to why she chose them for each individual woman. Then, Eboni explains that she chose a Harlem Renaissance figure for each woman and proceeds to give a long history lecture on all of them.
It’s … not interesting.
Part of the problem is, who doesn’t know who Billie Holliday or Duke Ellington is? Does Eboni really think so little of these women that she feels the need to give a full 5th grade Black History Month presentation? (But now that I say that out loud, yes … maybe she does …)
But the bigger problem is that the presentation defeats the purpose of a dinner party in which ideally guests interact and converse with one another. Here, Eboni is dominating the evening all in the name of … educating a bunch of 50-something white women about famous Black people that they have certainly heard of before?
In the end, it’s not fun, and the other women are not shy about saying so in interviews.
When all is said and done, Bershan is the one who starts talking about how she is “tired” of all this division between the races, and in the end, aren’t they all the same?
Eboni, having just given this entire presentation on Black excellence, is not amused.
Just as dinner is finally served, Ramona announces that she needs to go home. She’s feeling a little tired, and that’s when Sonja, coming in with an assist, asks her if it is “the vertigo again?” Ramona replies that, in fact, it IS her vertigo acting up.
Sarah, Leah’s sister, finally earns her keep by asking Ramona to “show” them her vertigo. And for all the people who have been complaining about how boring or bad this season is, I present to you this, a scene that will go down in Real Housewives of New York City history as one of the all-time greatest:
— Mr. Melinda Gates (@carpe_DMH) June 30, 2021
Leah and Bershan sadly miss this demonstration because they’re in another room talking about how Bershan is a cancer survivor, and that’s amazing, but Y’ALL ARE MISSING RAMONA’S VERTIGO PERFORMANCE.
Ramona goes on to explain that she thinks her “vertigo” is acting up because of all the stress she’s been under because her 1,000-year-old dog Coco is not doing well, and, honestly, we need to give this woman an Emmy for her bullshittery, it is world-class. And with that, Ramona takes her leave, probably to go on a date.
Fortunately for Bershan, she waits until Ramona has left to discuss how a friend of hers hooked up with a guy with a micropenis — although, honestly, we all know damn well that Ramona would not have freaked out on Bershan the way she does anytime Leah even suggests the word penis.
And with that, Eboni thanks everyone for making it out to Harlem and celebrating Black excellence. Someone suggests that they do it again sometime. They will never do it again, ever.
The next day, Eboni meets Leah for lunch where she talks about how proud she is of “A Night in Harlem with Eboni K. Williams,” and asks Leah if she thinks it “resonated” with the other women. Leah lies and says “completely,” but she absolutely does not mean it. Eboni notes that The Countess, in particular, was awfully quiet (who could get a word in edgewise?), and Leah is like, “Yes, well, we white people are scared to get it wrong, and honestly, who would want to debate you?” Leah goes on to remind Eboni just how powerful she is and that it can sometimes come off as intimidating.
Eboni notes that after the events of last summer with the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, she decided she wasn’t going to be white America’s teacher anymore. But then
she was cast on this show she realized she wasn’t fulfilling “her purpose” and that’s why everyone got a candle and a lecture on Zora Neale Hurston last night.
Over at The Countess’ apartment, she hosts her daughter Victoria, who is also sober, and they drank some faux-se and cry about what a disaster The Countess was when she was drunk.
Elsewhere, Leah and her daughter are meeting with a school consultant to figure out where her daughter should go to high school. And apparently, the drama here is that Leah’s mother Bunny seems to think she gets a vote? The fuck is this? Unless Bunny is paying the tuition, she can just go ahead and pipe down, I don’t understand why Leah is even entertaining this or letting her mother stress her at all.
Finally, Ramona has Eboni over for cocktails and to get to know her better. And by “get to know her better,” Ramona means, “prove that she’s not a racist because she looked some things up on Wikipedia.”
The evening is, as Eboni will later describe it, a complete shitshow.
After complimenting Ramona’s lovely apartment in the sky, Eboni tries to make some small talk about the biggest story of the day, the election results (which still aren’t in at this point), asking Ramona how she feels about how the city and world will be in the coming months, but Ramona insists that she doesn’t want to talk about it.
Eboni, trying to find common political ground, notes that she’s excited for America’s daughters to see a female Vice President for the first time in our history, but Ramona — WHO IS A WOMAN AND WHO HAS A DAUGHTER — insists: she does not want to talk about politics, because you shouldn’t talk politics with friends.
— Gibson Johns (@gibsonoma) June 30, 2021
In fact, Ramona announces, she’ll change the topic and explains that she looked up the term “microaggression” after their weekend together, and she now understands what that is, before giving the Black woman examples: like when Black people are followed around in a store, or directed to a sales rack, or people want to touch their hair …
Again, Ramona Singer is sixty-goddamned-three years old when this was filmed and she is ONLY NOW coming to learn that Black people don’t like it when white folks want to touch their hair.
Eboni congratulates Ramona for having the slightest tiniest bit of awareness and notes that they are living in a very divided country right now: the mere fact that they still don’t know who the President will be days after an election is evidence of that. But Ramona allows her Trumpism to show, saying, “EXCUSE ME, WE DON’T KNOW WHO IS PRESIDENT BECAUSE WE DON’T USUALLY HAVE ALL THESE MAIL-IN BALLOTS,” before catching herself and insisting that they not talk about politics.
Ramona then announces that she’s going to step away, because she feels like Eboni is always teaching her and preaching at her. Eboni asks her what Ramona has learned from her, and Ramona is all “I DON’T KNOW” before fleeing to her bedroom for a time out.
In her room, Ramona pouts that she feels like Eboni is trying to educate her and in her purest, most honest moment, Ramona says, “I don’t want to be educated.”
Ramona then puts on a necklace and returns to the living room where she explains to Eboni that the necklace is a specially made piece for her and it puts her in her happy place, which is where she wants to be right now. Eboni agrees, she wants to be in a happy place too, but she also wants to be in an authentic place. Ramona protests that she just wants to have fun! She’s had a hard week!
Eboni points out that Ramona’s privilege is showing, that this is a classic example of white fragility, to which Ramona counters that Eboni is “preaching” to which Eboni responds that Ramona is gaslighting, to which Ramona pouts that no, it’s Eboni who is gaslighting Ramona, the true victim in all of this.
Eboni explains that to have a real friendship, Ramona can’t just like her when she likes what Eboni is saying. Ramona demands that they not discuss “race, religion or creed,” but Eboni is like, “but that’s who I am.” Eboni tells Ramona that she thought they were in a good place, but that she can’t tell her how to feel and Ramona grouses that Eboni is “too heavy” for her right now. She just wants to escape for a couple of hours and enjoy herself. Eboni points out that Ramona has the privilege to do that, but that she, for instance, can not escape the color of her skin. Does Ramona have a coat closet for Eboni’s blackness?
“I’M FEELING ATTACKED!” Ramona shrieks before noting that she did not have to bring any of this up. Ramona, clearly mad that she is not getting racial sensitivity points from Eboni, tries to demonstrate that she has been doing her homework. She now knows, for instance, that “E.J. Walker” was the “first millionaire.” Eboni gently corrects her: “it’s C.J. Walker,” and Ramona is all, “OH WHATEVER.” Which no, not whatever, that’s exactly Eboni’s point: it matters.
— Lindsay (@_LindsayG) June 30, 2021
Ramona then declares that she — meaning Ramona — has to go now, she’s going, it’s been lovely to see Eboni. Without pointing out that Ramona is threatening to leave her own damn house, she does note that it has not been lovely, and Ramona is all, “WELL THAT’S BECAUSE YOU’VE BEEN CORRECTING ME LIKE A TEACHER INSTEAD OF TELLING ME IT’S ADMIRABLE THAT I KNOW WHO C.J. OR E.J. OR WHOEVER WAS THE FIRST MILLIONAIRE.”
(And just to be real clear: C.J. Walker was not the “first millionaire,” but America’s first self-made female millionaire, as long as we’re clearing up dumb Ramona mistakes.)
Eboni notes that she just has one question before she leaves: Sonja had a problem with Ramona posting that photo of her with Eboni on Instagram, what is that about? But Ramona claims it’s just because Sonja was jealous. When Sonja saw that Ramona was giving Eboni attention, she became resentful.
“Well, look who’s lecturing,” Eboni replies, which is all that it takes to break Ramona’s insanity. Soon she’s climbing into Eboni’s lap saying that she just felt attacked. “No, I was just trying to make sure you knew it was C.J. Walker, because I know you’re going to go and tell your friends. I’m not a scary monster, you crazy lady.”
Ramona reveals that she was up until four in the morning doing all of this “research” and so she’s tired. And also, you know, there’s the vertigo …
Eboni declares the entire evening a “shitshow” but a shitshow they somehow survived.
We’ll see about that. We still have a lot of season left to go, Miss Williams.
MEANWHILE, IN REAL TIME, ELYSE IS OUT HERE TRYING TO BURN IT ALL DOWN:
— LoveAndyC (@LoveAndyC) July 5, 2021
— Mary “Your Grandpa” Cosby (@Romco191) July 5, 2021
Lololololololol, talk about shitshows.
The Real Housewives of New York airs on Bravo.