Tyra Banks made her debut as the host of NBC’s Dancing With the Stars for season 29. Her first season with the show was a bit rocky due to the mixed response and few live errors. Once she took over, each week viewers roasted her on Twitter, calling her awkward, criticizing her hosting ability and begging for the previous host Tom Bergeron to return. There was even a petition to remove her from the show altogether. Plus, there were rumors that she didn’t want ladies from the Real Housewives franchise on the show, which Banks denied. Honestly, this bothered me.
Personally, I’ve never paid attention to DWTS. Nothing personal against the show, it was just never my thing. Once I saw a Black woman was hosting and my childhood crush Nelly was on the dancing competition, I decided to give it a try. After 28 seasons there was a Black woman at the helm, so I wanted to show support. So it was disheartening that each week there was more and more criticism thrown her way via social media and watchers were calling for her firing.
When I watched, I could see that Banks was trying to her best. Yes, there were some cringy moments, but what live show hasn’t had any of those? Banks has been a host before, so this isn’t foreign to her but it seemed like it was a challenge that was welcomed. Why couldn’t we be more supportive of her in her new role? Why did stones have to be thrown every single week? She made history with the show with ratings and with being the host and executive producer. She deserved more of an embrace and encouragement as she settled into this new groundbreaking role. There aren’t many Black women on primetime television, so the harsh commentary could have been a bit more hushed.
Banks, who also executive produces the show, said she isn’t sure if she will be back for season 30.
“I don’t know,” she told Entertainment Tonight. “We shall see! I don’t know. I had a good time. We’ll see.”
Despite the criticism, Banks pointed out that the show was successful despite COVID-19 restrictions.
“We broke a lot of records when it comes to the ratings for this show,” she said. “And yes, there was change, but the change meant hell of a lot of big ratings. In the end, this is a business and that’s what matters, making sure that people are coming and that new people are coming.”
This type of feedback plays a role and now it’s not certain if she will be returning. While this may be music to her critic’s ears, I feel that if she doesn’t return it’s a loss for us. We have to fight as Black women to get these kind of opportunities and it would be disappointing if it was snatched from her.