mo' hair, mo' problems

Why Did Wendy Williams Try to Block This Drag Queen From Her Show?


How you doin’? If you’re a guest of The Wendy Williams Show who shows up in drag, pretty terrible. New York City drag diva Ericka Toure Aviance thought Wendy — a walking drag queen herself — would enjoy the costume. Instead, Aviance found herself being singled out in her seating arrangements, and warned by the staff that her “costume” was over the top and inappropriate for the cameras.

Ms. Williams, who just ditched her radio show to devote more time to her daytime talker, made a career out of big hair, big boobs, big hips, big heels, and big talk. And supposedly, she admires cross-dressing men who do the same. Apparently, her staff and production team doesn’t share that feeling. (Aviance, who identifies as female on her MySpace page, also dresses as a man, like most queens.)


As Aviance tells The Advocate, she wore “a black baby-doll dress, heels, tights, and standard makeup — not even anything sparkly … a ponytail piece and a bang piece. It was much less hair than Wendy was wearing and, p.s., much less hair than any of the other black women in the audience.” But The Wendy Williams Show has a policy against outlandish dress, apparently, and Aviance’s outfit was too much.

While standing in line outside the studio Wednesday morning, the group was approached by a female intern who noted the fact that Aviance was a drag queen. “She took my name down, so we thought we were about to get VIP treatment,” Aviance recalls. “After another hour we got to the door, and there’s this little white man standing there giving us the eyeball. He gets in our way to prevent us from going in, and he says, ‘You’re in violation of our no-costumes dress code. We usually don’t do this, but we know you’ve been waiting out there for a while, so we’re going to let you in. But you can’t appear on camera, and if you get up for Hot Topics or try to ask Wendy a question, you’ll be removed from the building.’

[…] Aviance claims that, once seated, another staffer approached them to rearrange the seating so that Aviance was moved away from the aisle and against the perimeter of the seating area. In the row ahead, a short woman and a tall man were then asked to switch seats so that the tall man blocked Aviance.

So how did Debmar-Mercury, which syndicates the show, respond? “Producers at The Wendy Williams Show never intended to offend Ericka Toure Aviance, but the fact of the matter is that the show does request that audience members dress appropriately, not in costume-like attire. We certainly support the LGBTQ community and believe that personal style is a form of self-expression, as evidenced by our host Wendy Williams each and every day. But in this case, our staff was concerned that Ericka Toure’s attire was over-the-top and would be distracting to fans at home.”

Meanwhile, Wendy herself has proclaimed her appreciation for the drag community — or at least declared that being compared to a drag queen isn’t a bad thing.


Then again, is was back in 2007 that Clay Cane pondered about Williams’ support for queers: “Around the time Wendy became nationally syndicated, I noticed her support for the gay community seeming to waver. For example, one time she was chatting about the Harlem Boys Choir, insinuating she would never allow her son to join the choir because there were too many “how you doings” [Williams’ slang for the gays] and she didn’t want her son to be molested.”

The show’s reaction to a drag audience member isn’t likely to die anytime soon (especially since Aviance went to the show with Jonny “Gay Pimp” McGovern, who already wrote about the incident on his Facebook page), and certainly from this point forward, all Wendy Williams coverage on this website will include mention of what happened.

So how does Ms. Wendy recover? Address the issue immediately and apologize. If not via statement, then definitely on Monday’s episode. Invite Aviance on the show. Say you’re sorry, on behalf of your staff. Reaffirm your commitment to the LGBTs. And if you’re really feeling generous, give Ms. Aviance a chance to perform.


UPDATE: The show has apologized. Says Debmar-Mercury programming exec Lonnie Burstein in a statement: “Much of the success of The Wendy Williams Show is due to our incredibly diverse and colorful audience and we all agree that fashion is a true form of self expression. But in an attempt to explain and enforce our show’s dress code, I was not as sensitive as I could have been to Ericka, the LGBT community or drag’s long history of being a target of discrimination. And for that, I sincerely apologize as it was never my intention to offend in any way.” Fine, but we still say they should let Aviance perform on the show.

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  • Queeny San Francisco

    If Wendy thinks NYC Queens or Jersey girls are fierce, she has not yet met the radical San Francisco fairies, bears, Queens, drags and others. If this is true, Wendy better make BIG amends.
    We’ll boycott her show. We’ll picket her presence if she ever steps foot in California. We were radical years before Stonewall and things have not changed.
    Wendy,you do not “USE US” for your shtick & then disrespect us, HON!

  • dgz

    the only thing i like about her show is when mchale skewers it on The Soup.

  • RainaWeather

    Wendy Williams show is boring like Chandler Bing’s knees.

  • Lloyd Baltazar

    OMG!!!I know her!! She was on that “Don’t fall in Love with a Homo” by Johhny Mcgovern. You can check it out on Youtube. She is FABULOUS!

  • Getin Toit

    Her outfit WASN’T too distracting! She wore something that purposely WOULDN’T make her stand out from the rest of the audience.

    You people that didn’t get that point are fucking STUPID.

  • mojojojo

    Yet another example of the rampant homophobia of the black community!

  • alan brickman

    Like a lot of “Divas” … Wendy loves gay money…she just doesn’t like the gays that go with it….

  • alan brickman

    Until she apologizes to Aviance on Camera..I’m not watching her show’s just that simple…

  • D.B.

    This really isn’t a big deal. Every single talk show picks and chooses who they want to be seated on the aisles or in the front, knowing that those people will likely appear on camera. I’m sure this “diva” wasn’t the only person intentionally seated outside of the camera’s range.

    Think about it — when you watch “Oprah,” how do you think only well-dressed, middle class ladies end up in front, by accident? No, it’s on purpose. If you don’t fit the target “look,” you are relegated to the back where you will not be seen. That’s just the way TV talk shows work.

    And for what it’s worth, I can’t say that I’m a Wendy fan, but I have seen her show a few times. In the short run of her show, she’s had a couple of openly gay guests, and seems to have plenty of gay folks visible in her audience.

  • Kian

    this “incident”, in my opinion, doesn’t sound that bad. as D.B. points out, all shows do this in one form or another.

    if drag queens weren’t singled out for their “loudness”, would they still be drag queens? isn’t be singled out, or just merely standing out in the crowd, kinda the whole point?

  • Rick


  • chances

    why would you get mad about a pile of trash in the middle of a garbage dump?

    Queerty farts.

  • Prof. O.G. Whataschnozell

    The B-list of stars (Joan Rivers?) appearing on her show is why I am not getting bent out of shape on this one.

    She will cover her tracks on a Thursday (which is generally a slow day for all talk show and they all prove it by the mediocre list of stars featured that day) with a show filled with frustrated drag stars such as Lady……..I’ll let you use your imagination as to what the guest list will look like.

  • ousslander

    I love wendy in all her imperfections. Hell I wouldn’t wanna some posibly stealing my spotlight either. Plus did you see that mug not very camera ready.

  • sam


    You’re an idiot. This was the production company and not Williams who made this decision. Nowhere does it say that Williams made the decision personally to bar Aviance.

  • Ben Wilson

    As I read this I’m sat watching an old Queer as folk, where Micheal is embarrised by his family and friends turning up in camp costumes to a fund-raiser he is helping to host. Oh the irony!

    Whoevers fault this was to exclude Aviance should be reminded of the lesson Micheal had to learn, which is not to hide the reality of things or create a false image of the community. This show in that moment betrayed everyones excentricities in a shameful attempt at hetronormativity (is that the right word?)

    I can understand why the decision was made, but it should be made clear that it was a blow to LGBT community and Williams maybe should rediscover her balls! Seems totally gutless to me.

    LOL maybe were looking over the obvious…Perhaps she was worried about being upstaged!

  • osocubano

    Only one drag queen allowed, the one in the spotlight.

  • Eric

    Wendy Williams has been a “friend in my head” for years, and I must say that I am outraged by the staff and intern working for her production company for the WWShow. I hope that she’ll stand up and offer an apology to Aviance and the LGBTQ community. And she should make sure that her staff and interns attend some diversity and sensitivity training.

  • Merv

    Was Aviance there to watch the show or to draw attention to herself? If the former, then she deserves an apology, if the latter, then she needs to learn that the show is about the host and the guests, not her.

  • fitz

    Mountains out of molehills. There are people who hate us, and we need to save our vitriol for them. This was just someone not wanting to pull focus from the show’s host.

  • Lex

    I don’t see what this has to do with Wendy Williams herself. The production company was behind it. I’m sure Wendy doesn’t even know it happened and most likely couldn’t do a thing about it since it’s up to the Network.

    It’s out of Wendy’s hands so don’t point the finger at her.

    @mojojojo: You’re a total idiot, the person who kept her off camera was white. Jackass.

  • Maverick69

    I watched this show last week for the first time and could not believe what I was watching. That woman is a Total Fucking Moron. We have reached a new low by putting this woman on TV. With friends like her, who needs enemies? Who the hell gave that woman a TV show?

  • Lex

    @Maverick69: How is she different from anyone else on television?

  • Maverick69

    @ Lex,

    I hope your not defending said person. I’m only speaking of her.

  • Queeny San Francisco

    What ever happened with this? Did Wendy apologize? Did nothing happen?
    Queerty – how about a follow-up? Put on Twitter, too, please.

  • Queeny San Francisco

    “CRYING WOLF” is putting up inflammatory stories, we react, & you do nothing to update the impact we had (or didn’t).
    Why are we to believe anything you tell us? Why trust your facts? Too bad….

  • Queeny San Francisco

    #28 LIKE WHOA – thank you very much for your info. I appreciate it & wish you find $20.00 on the sidewalk. Really!

  • Queeny San Francisco

    I’m back.
    Today’s show Aug. 28th, Wendy expressed disappointment that some guy on THE GOSSIP GIRLS is going to kiss another man. She even asked the audience if they knew that the book had the men kissing, & Wendy clearly didn’t like it.
    Wendy Williams is clearly showing that she’s homophobic.
    She can make all the “how ya doin’ ” jokes, but her true stripes are being shown.
    I think we’ve given the lady enough chances to prove herself, and she continues to disrespect our community.

    I’m done ranting about her.
    I’m contacting GLAAD and others, to call for a boycott of THE WENDY WILLIAMS HOMOPHOBIC SHOW.

  • Jami Rockchick

    Just goes to show you that the Wendy Williams show is portraying a crafted view of diversity. Not necessarily what is in real life.

  • ThatGuy

    The producers are probably the ones who are doing this, not Wendy. They have a certain audience they’re trying to reach and they don’t want to scare anyone off. This is a business after all and dammit, if they hurt a few feelings along the way, so be it.

  • FakeName

    On the 11/16/09 episode of the podcast Gay Pimpin’ with Jonny McGovern, Ericka said that executive producer Rob Dauber called her personally to apologize and invite her to be in the audience for the Halloween show. Ericka and three of her friends went as Jem and the Holograms and were on-camera several times. After the show Ericka met Wendy, who personally apologized.

  • Patriotic Blonde


    There’s one reason he was singled out – he looked better than she did and apparently she is not confident in her idea of being a “star” because it looks like a casuallly dressed drag queen can walk in and outshine her. She’s a woman, the host?

    Ms. LaReina
    (I took on McCain and Palin’s antigay ways :=))

  • Patriotic Blonde




    Ms. LaReina DelBarrio

  • hailey chagolla


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