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OPINION: The actress and influencer’s graceful clapback to TV host Wendy Williams is a lesson on how to read, mind yo business, and sidestep negativity all at once
If being all up in the Kool-Aid and not knowing the flavor was a person, it would be Wendy Williams. Her recent epic drag (lovingly) by actress and entrepreneur Tabitha Brown is an example of why keeping our opinions out of other people’s marriages is just a good rule to live by.
Simply put, we don’t know their journey.
In an Instagram message on Thursday, responding to Wendy’s comments about her marriage, Tabitha Brown ever-so-gently gathered all of Wendy’s edges. (She used a soft-bristle brush.) There was love and grace, but a healthy southern dose of ‘Go’on now.’ Even Wendy has to be at home watching Tabitha’s clip like, ‘Girl, I think you got me with this!”
Wendy picked the wrong one, who in fact turned out to be the right one. (It was the “God bless you” for me.)
Watching Tabitha’s message, I think I speak for many of us when I say that I couldn’t help but to be touched by the grace and sincerity in her words. We’ve all experienced someone bringing negativity to our doorstep for no reason other than their own bitterness. And that is not to pick on Wendy — because bitterness can happen to the best of us — but most of us have not seen or extended the same grace that Tabitha showed Wendy.
The entire clip resonates with so many of us because not only did it show us that grace and accountability can co-exist, it also gave us at least four nuggets of wisdom for us to chew on about love, trauma, grace, and partnership. (And a bonus lesson on how to clapback on a bih when they bring bitterness to our doorstep for no reason.)
Lesson one. It’s easy to lose our cool when people come at us sideways, but as Tabitha reminded us, there’s a way to read someone while not allowing them to suck us into their energy. ‘God bless you, but keep it moving’ is a whole vibe.
Tabitha could have easily gotten into a sparring match with Wendy, but she took this as not only an opportunity to educate Wendy on real love, but also to acknowledge the trauma that Wendy has experienced that would cause such needless comments to escape her lips.
Tabitha’s words honestly might have been the clarity Wendy needed to hear. Her entire message was a full read without her even having to go low.
And while many people considered it a dose of southern shade, I think Tabitha earnestly realized that the only reason Wendy brought that negativity to her door was because of the trauma Wendy experienced in her own failed marriage.
Wendy Williams attends the Apple TV ‘s “The Morning Show” World Premiere at David Geffen Hall on October 28, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
The second lesson Tabitha taught us was to check our trauma at the door because the effects of trauma are real. Tabitha’s assessment of Wendy was spot on. Wendy’s critique of Tabitha’s marriage was laced with the remnants of Wendy’s own trauma. Trauma can have you out here assuming the worst of every situation just because the worst has happened to you. We have to be very mindful of the ways in which trauma taints our view of the world.
Our pain doesn’t necessarily speak the truth. It really just speaks to our situation. Wendy took her reality as the reality, as if there was no possibility for a positive outcome for a couple who shares in love and wealth.
So often when we go through pain, we don’t learn the lesson we were meant to learn. We just learn to be bitter. We learn to put up walls to prevent that pain from ever happening again. We assume the worst about the world.
But when we begin to acknowledge our pain, we can begin to open up again and see the world differently. Even after trauma, there is still love. Just as the sun shines after every dark night, what happened in our past does not predict our future.
The third lesson Tabitha taught us was to know thyself. She did not miss a beat. She knew exactly who she was and why she’d made certain decisions in her marriage. So when Wendy came for her, she was ready to politely send her back from whence she came. (With a vegan doggie bag for the road). She didn’t need to doubt her choices because she was living her authentic truth. She gave us all a lesson on how to operate from our own center.
People may not get what we get about our relationships. And they may have a lot to say. But we can’t let what they don’t understand move us off of our square. We must cultivate the practice of truly hearing our own inner voice illuminating the path forward and drown out the noise around us. Tabitha’s guiding star was keeping God first in her marriage.
Actress and entrepreneur Tabitha Brown and her husband Chance Brown. (Photo: Instagram/Tabitha Brown)
Lastly, Tabitha gave us a glimpse into what a true partnership looks like. So often, we get so caught up in gender roles that we forget, relationships are for both people to uplift and support one another. It’s not a one-sided dynamic.
Partnership is about rising together. It’s not about what one person has versus another. If you’re all in, you both give 100% to help each other grow. And Tabitha displayed that principle in such a beautiful way.
There’s so much more that could be said, but I’ll conclude this in true Auntie Tabitha fashion — with a prayer.
I pray that if any of us ever encounter our own Wendy in the future, and our patience runs low and our anger starts to rise, that God guides our tongues, softens our hearts, and opens our minds to be able to respond with the grace, finesse, and clapback of a Mrs. Tabitha Brown.
(And if that doesn’t work, please let our words come out strong and precise like the bullet of a sniper to get these people up out our face real quick.)
Kamaria is an attorney, poet, writer, and lover of all things created #ForTheCulture. She runs a blog, ‘Words of My Mother,’ has lived all over the DMV (heavy on the V), and enjoys skating, debating, and car karaoke. (Because, why not?!) She can be reached on Twitter at @like_tha_moon.