The season three finale of Basketball Wives is in the books, and as we brace ourselves for what’s sure to be a wild, combative reunion show next week, there’s still a host of questions fans of the show are dying to have answered.
Is Jennifer still seeing William? How in the world did Tami forgive Evelyn for the infamous “non-factor” comment? Why can’t Tami and Meeka kiss and make up? And ultimately, does a show like Basketball Wives help reinforce negative stereotypes of women and African Americans?
Last week, I had the chance to sit down with Jennifer Williams and Tami Roman of Basketball Wives to talk about all that and much more.
Jennifer, we saw you getting back out into the dating world after being married to Eric Williams for years. Can you talk about the difficulty of dating while filming a reality show, and can you confirm whether or not you’re still single?
Jennifer:: Yes, I am still single. I’m getting out into the dating world and I’m just sort of getting my feet wet. It is definitely difficult because I was with Eric for ten years and we were married for four. Dating is a little different nowadays and people know I’m on TV, and to have a camera in your face while [dating] can definitely be a little difficult.
I’m just trying to have fun. I’m not looking to get into anything serious. But I’m definitely getting back out there.Tami, you’re probably the most straightforward and honest person I’ve ever seen on reality television. But you also seem to get into the most fights. Do you think your veracity on the show makes you a target?
Tami: I think the way that I was raised which is to always be truthful, let me start there - if people could not handle the truth, whatever it may be, then that’s really an issue within them. Inside of themselves. Because ultimately, everyone should want to know the truth. That’s the only way we can grow, evolve, progress, so on and so forth.
So, based on the fact that I’m dealing with six people on the show who aren’t as open and straightforward as I am, then I would have to say that in certain instances, it makes me stick out like a sore thumb. It makes me come off like I’m the person with a problem, or that I’m a bully, because those people that I’m dealing with aren’t up to handling certain truths.
Jen, you and Royce have gotten into a few disagreements over the past two seasons. And the biggest ones seem to always stem from what Royce allegedly said on Twitter. Can you talk about where you and Royce’s relationship now stands? Do you still have issues trusting her?
Jennifer: Royce and I pretty much don’t have a relationship. We’re on the show together so we work together. But we really don’t have a relationship, so no, I don’t trust her.
She’s not my friend. At one point, I thought we were working to become friends, but no, I have no relationship with her. I think the fact that she’s acting like her and Eric were all buddy-buddy when the only reason she knows Eric is because of me and because of this show is disrespectful.
Tami, you were part of the birth of reality television when you appeared on the second season of The Real World. There was obviously no Twitter and Facebook back then. Being on such a popular reality show now, what’s it like to have such immediate feedback via social media—both positive and negative—from fans who watch the show?
Tami: Twitter for me is something I had to get used to. When I started reality TV, I was unable to hear what people thought about the things I did on The Real World. So most of my fan mail was just that, fan mail. People calling, writing, to tell me that they liked me or they felt for me in certain instances. But I never received any negative feedback.
So, coming onto [Basketball Wives], I was flooded. It’s definitely something that I had to personally get used to. Because people use it as a place to vent. There are Twitter bullies, and they just feel that they can say whatever they want to you because you’re a personality on TV and that makes you fair game. And people just really “go in,” to use the street term. They really just lay it all out on the line.
Tami, your show has a lot of fans, but it also has just as many detractors. Some see Basketball Wives as a show that perpetuates stereotypes of women and African Americans. Where do you stand on this issue?
Tami: We would absolutely love to see more positive imagery, but the audience doesn’t want to see that.
[The penultimate episode of Basketball Wives] showed a lot with Evelyn’s daughter graduating and Jennifer trying to start over and get her new life going. And Twitter was flooded with ‘This is so boring!‘ So, people want to see those dramatic elements unfortunately.
And for us, we’re caught between a rock and a hard place because the three arguments that I had on Basketball Wives are not me in my entirety. It’s not all that Tami is about. But I have been made out to be a specific type of character. Because every show has characters - people forget that concept as well. So that’s typically all you’re going to see of me with regard to Basketball Wives. That’s why, on the outside of that, I’m working hard to involve myself in other ventures and be a part of other positive things so that I can dilute that imagery.
So does it bother you, then, that viewers may watch Basketball Wives and get an impression of you that’s not accurate?
Tami: I think that it bothers me that people think that’s all I am. Because I will ‘go off.’ That is a part of my personality. I will tell it like it is, and I will say what’s on my mind and I’m very passionate about the things that I believe in. I do not want to be disrespected—all of that is me. But it’s not all I am. And so that’s the only thing that bothers me.
What about you, Jen? Does it bother you that fans of the show may assume they know who you really are based solely on the one hour episodes they watch every week?
Jennifer: I feel for the most part people are always going to have an opinion of you just because you’re on TV. But I always just say in my interviews, don’t feel like you watch the show and you know each individual because it’s such a small fraction of who they are. That’s kind of how I try and deal with it.
Tami, you got into a huge fight in Italy with Meeka. It got physical, and Meeka has since filed a lawsuit against you. Why were you unable to ever patch things up with Meeka?
Tami: It’s really sad that it had to come to that because I could’ve sat down with Meeka. We could’ve talked. We could've moved past this moment. Maybe we could’ve started over. I don’t know what road it would’ve taken. But, with her decision to go this route [filing a lawsuit], it kind of just let me know what her mindset was in regards to this and what she felt about it and so for me, I can’t continue to work with someone like that.
On a lighter note, Jen, can you talk about what your favorite and least favorite things are in regards to taping Basketball Wives?
Jennifer: One of my favorite things about filming the show is I do genuinely like these girls and Evelyn and I have been friends for over ten years. So I get to spend a lot of time with them and these are the conversations we would have if the camera was there or not. So, it’s good to hang out with your friends and actually be working. So that’s definitely a positive.
And I would say the negative would probably be [that taping the show] is so time-consuming. We have to be in Miami, and we’re there for like three or four months. Filming can be all day, we’ll get a few days off, but it’s really time-consuming. So, that would probably be the most negative part about it.