“They’re Not Connected To This” Amanda Seales Speaks About All White Leadership At “The Real”

June 10, 2020  |  

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I can’t say there were too many people who were surprised to see that Amanda Seales was not renewing her contract with “The Real.” It seemed that she was less than happy in the role. She shared earlier that she made the decision to leave in an attempt to protect her peace. But during an interview with Jason Lee of Hollywood Unlocked, Seales explained further why the show was not a good fit because of the people in leadership.

See what she said in the transcription and video of the full interview below.

Jason Lee: Did you think when you got the job that they were really going to embrace you being as woke as you were?

Amanda Seales: When you say they, who do you mean?

Jason: The network, the production company…unless it was the hosts. Was it your co-hosts? I don’t know…

Amanda: No. Because when you say they. It ends up being bigger than a lot of us ever really think about. There’s a whole audience that ends up being accustomed to a certain kind of content and a certain format. You do have your co-hosts, then you have the actual crew. That’s your showrunner, the producers and all that and then there’s the network. So, there’s a lot of facets at work. Then there’s also your own people.

So a lot of times you can overshoot your own security into spaces that you don’t really know. For me, I had been a guest on “The Real” so many times and I had had a great time and it felt like a really safe space. And it felt like when I was there, they understood my voice and I was going to have the opportunity to just be my honest self. And listen, I don’t run from an adventure. I’ve never been on…I’ve never even had a job that happens every day.

I was going through a time when I was feeling very unsettled and I welcomed the opportunity to be going somewhere everyday, where I would have my own space, my own dressing room, my glam squad that I love. I would have a certain level of regimen. And I welcomed the opportunity to be on a platform speaking honestly and I really am, oftentimes, in isolated spaces. So I was like I get to be with other women where we can share ideas.

Jason: Loni has a White man and Tamera has a White husband that treats her like a house Negro. So did you really feel like you were going to connect with them as a Black woman?

Amanda: I don’t know how Tamera’s husband treats her. And whether Loni dates a White man or not, that’s none of my business. What I did respect though was that they respected me every time I had been there prior. So there was no reason for me to consider that to be any different. And for what it’s worth, I think a lot of people also don’t understand we work in these spaces as coworkers. We don’t always get along at every moment, at every time with your coworkers. There’s going to be distractions, disagreements, there’s also going to be the learning curve of each other. So I’m not going to say that everyday was roses but I will say it’s very important that when we bring new people into new spaces, we make everybody feel safe. And that’s up to the production company and the network.

Jason: Who would you say was the person that…was Loni supportive? Was Jeannie supportive? Was it clash between the hosts?

Amanda: One thing I want you to know is that I’m not a gossip. So I don’t come here talking about nobody. That’s not my bag. I don’t get a bag doing it so there’s no reason for me to do it. It doesn’t elevate anybody. What I will say is that I’m not interested in keeping the secrets of the sinister. So you don’t have to worry about me not talking about sh*t that need to get talked about. As far as my cohosts go, everybody approached me with the best of intentions. That comes at different levels for different people.

I’m going to be on live with Loni in a couple minutes. Tamera is sending me five bottles of sister wine so that I can give them to my team for launching SFB society. Jeannie actually called me when I was hosting my Small Doses forum. I get a bad rap because people like to say , ‘Oh her co-hosts don’t like her. And people don’t like her.’ No one ever asks me do I like the people I’m working with. That’s what’s always funny. They create all these narratives around me. Because they look at me like, ‘Who would like her? She’s too honest? She’s too loud etc. etc.’

On the flip side, I get folks who are like, ‘Yo, thank you for making me feel secure in being honest. Thank you for making me feel strong in being vocal. Thank you for making me feel powerful in being pure. I’m in a town that is built on values that I don’t live by. So I’m always going to end up in scuffles with different folks in different places, whether it’s coworkers, people in management or across the board. When you’re dealing with people who literally do things simply based on fame and money…and those things are not what drive me.

Literally people are like, ‘She got fired!’ I’m like, First of all, y’all ain’t nobody to lie to. And if I got fired, you would hear me making an uproar like, ‘Can you believe these crackers fired me?!’

Jason: Where would you say was the broken chain for you?

Amanda: Leadership. And that was a lesson I learned. I think for anybody who’s watching, who’s working in this space, a lot of times we are only considering the people that we are going to be on camera with. We don’t necessarily vet the production company, or the network or the showrunner. We kind of just feel like we’ll figure that out. But these are the people who are actually going to be choosing the content that you’re doing. They’re the ones who are talking about the projection of the show and where it goes, which means you and where you go.

So you have to do your due diligence in that space. And I didn’t.

And again, for the most part, people have the best of intentions. But I think that what we really realize is what is going on in this nation is White people waking up to understanding the limitations of their abilities. And understanding no, you don’t know everything. You’re not the best at everything. There is a lot that you have not been privy to simply by just ignoring it. And once you have that awareness, you have to fill in those spaces with people who have been privy to that. I was on a show that on its core base, this is a group of diverse women that are talking about things and keeping it real for a diverse audience. When in reality, it’s being run by a White woman who doesn’t have that connection to that experience.  Our topics are being picked by someone who doesn’t. Our chat is produced by a White man—who even if he has the best of intentions, he has a disconnect from his experience in the world from what we’re going to be addressing. And then we have executives all the way up who are all White women. They have the best of intentions for their company and for their network but not necessarily for the culture. How could they? They’re not connected to this.

Which is why having Black folks and people of all colors in these executive positions is so necessary. And oftentimes in these executive positions, where they’ve only made room for one VP. They’ve only made room for one executive producer. Sometimes you’re going to need to vary that so there’s not one person in power making those decisions who doesn’t have enough understanding of the limitations of their vantage point.

So there’s that and then there’s the audience. The audience got accustomed to a whole specific type of content and that’s out of my control. When I say leadership, it’s because—if you’re going to upset the apple cart, you got to brace it. So that comes in a number of different ways. You’re going to have to support the people who are already there, the people coming in and the audience who is expecting something.

That comes through planning, thoughtfulness and foresight. And when those things are lacking people feel betrayed. And the audience felt betrayed. ‘Who is this new broad? She’s changing our content. She’s talking about race everyday.’ And they took that out on me in really painful ways, really painful ways.

Jason: How crazy is it now that every f*ckin day, all we’re talking about is race.

Amanda: What’s the name of my special?  I Be Knowin…

You can watch the full interview in the video below.

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