I Have Plenty Of Black Friends: The Black Folk Who Used To Rock With Paula Deen

June 26, 2013  |  
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I’m sure by now you’ve noticed that frequently, when people are accused of racism, they always reference all of the “black friends” in their arsenal. Paula has already said she’s cool with the darkies African Americans and we’re sure if she had to name names these folks would probably come up in conversation.


Everyone knows that Paula and Oprah have been pretty close over the years. As an entrepreneur Paula has an interesting story. So naturally, Oprah has interviewed her on the talk show, for “Next Chapter,” and O Magazine. But ever since things went left with Paula’s language and behavior, Oprah has been mum on Ms. Deen. Many have been wondering and even expecting Oprah to speak out about the incident. But I don’t know what Oprah could say to make it better.

Ama’re Stoudemire

Ama’re and Paula weren’t exactly cool but that didn’t keep them from being chummy on the set of “Fox & Friends” back in 2011. Stoudemire was there promoting his new sneaker and Paula was there promoting her new cookbook “Paula’s Southern Cooking Bible.” We’re wondering if he picked up on any shady vibes from their brief interaction.

Viola Davis 

(Sorry for the tiny image– but I wanted proof.) When The Help was all the rage Viola Davis and her fellow costar visited Paula Deen on her show for her episode “Keepin It Southern.” While there Paula and the movie stars cooked spicy fried chicken, southern collards with cornmeal dumplings. It would be interesting to have Viola weigh in on the whole Paula controversy.

Michelle Obama 

When Barack and Michelle were still on the campaign trail, Michelle stopped by Paula Deen’s show to do an interview and cook fried shrimp. The exchange between the two seemed genuine and really quite sweet. She seemed genuinely happy to see and talk to Michelle Obama. That was back in 2008. In 2011, when Obamas had settled into the White House and Michelle started championing healthy eating, Paula came out and spoke to the Washington Examiner about how much Michelle ate during the commercial breaks

‘You know what their favorite foods are — it’s hot wings, you know, those kinds of foods that are not necessarily top-of-the-list healthy foods, so she’s no different than the rest of us.

‘We love those kinds of foods, we just know that we can’t eat them everyday.’

Some, including Don Imus on Fox News, thought Paula was trying to shame Michelle for eating unhealthy foods knowing she encourages healthy food and exercising.

Image Source: Food Network

Pat Neely 

In case you don’t know Pat Neely is one half of the cooking duo featured on Food Network’s “Down Home with the Neelys” with his wife Gina. Actually, Paula was the woman who helped the Neelys get their show on the Food Network. Despite the hookup, Pat released this statement detailing his thoughts on the recent controversy.

“We were shocked and saddened to learn of the comments from Paula Deen. Racism of any kind from anyone is simply unacceptable and cannot be tolerated…In our own relationship, Paula has shown us kindness and generosity. We trust that Paula’s apologies are sincere and hope there is a positive lesson to be learned from this situation.”

Carla Hall 

Naturally, as a fellow chef Paula would have crossed path with Carla Hall. Initially the two ran into each other when Carla was competing on “Top Chef.” Carla made some hush puppies and Paula said they tasted like spit. Carla has since had Paula on “The Chew” where she redeemed herself.

Al Sharpton

Heaven only knows if the paths of these two have ever crossed. But Al shocked some folks when it appeared that he was coming to Deen’s defense in light of the recent controversy. It wasn’t so much that Sharpton was defending her but more questioning whether her use of the N word was  recent or something she frequently said in the past. If you haven’t heard his comments, check them out here.  If Paula needs a black person in her corner, maybe Sharpton is her man.

Aaron McCargo Jr. 

Aaron McCargo is the chef who won season 4 of “The Next Food Network Star.” TMZ reported that on Sunday, he took to his Facebook page to express his support of Paula Deen saying that throughout his career she’s been nothing but a friend to him.

“Paula has always been very helpful and supportive throughout my career, and as her friend I’m saddened to see that she is going through a tough time right now. We are all human and we should never be too quick to judge anyone.”

Nita Jones (aka Jelly Roll) 

Surely by now you’ve seen the spoof video of Paula and a black woman named Nita whom she affectionally calls “Jelly Roll.” The video’s called “African American Cooking With Paula Deen” makes fun of Paula’s perceived thoughts. But in reality the two really did cook together and seemed to enjoy one another’s company. Check out the real video below. We’re sure Paula thought about her girl Jelly Roll when she was asserting her innocence. Wonder what Jelly Roll would say about Ms. Deen.



Joe Randall 

Just like Paula opened the door for the chefs that came behind her, so did Southern chef Joe Randall. Apparently Randall, who taught Paula a few things when she studied at his Savannah Cooking School. Randall didn’t take kindly to Paula’s comments and TMZ reported that he released this statement.

“I can say that her admitting to using derogatory language and the n-word is very hurtful. You have to understand we’re in the South and some people think that it’s acceptable to use [racist] language from 50 years ago. As a businessman, of course she is welcome in my establishment like any other client would be. I wouldn’t turn her down at all. Although I don’t respect that she used derogatory hateful words … and if she came into my establishment and we were to talk, I would tell her I don’t agree with her words.”

Well there you have it.

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