Kathy Hilton owes Lizzo an apology after mistaking her for Precious, the character played by Gabourey Sidibe, and it’s time she got some PR training

I’m having a hard time deciding what to make of Kathy Hilton confusing Lizzo with Precious, a character played by Gabourey Sidibe in the 2009 film of the same name during Wednesday’s episode of Watch what’s happening live.

As an enthusiast real housewives observer, it’s no secret that Kathy Hilton is truly a clueless woman, through and through. 90% of the time she has no idea what’s going on. We watched her mistake Garcelle Beauvais, a black woman, for her own white sister, Kyle Richards. We’ve seen her ask, “Who’s Hunky Dory?” seriously, when Sutton Stracke in tears used the figure of speech during an intense conversation. And during the same recording on WWHL, we watched her utterly unable to identify Justin Timberlake and Ryan Reynolds. And who could forget the time she said Leonardo DecapriatoWith reference to Titanic star, also on WWHL?

But the concert is over.

Twitter erupted after clips of the interaction began to surface on social media. Some people found it hilarious while others point out the racism and ignorance displayed by his comment. Those who come to her defense are mostly white and suggest she is just an ignorant 63-year-old woman. My mother is white. My mother is also 63 years old. And she knows full well who Grammy-winning, chart-topping Lizzo is.

I agree that she is ignorant. I also don’t think his intention was to be racist, this time at least. But as we know, intent doesn’t negate impact, so it’s no wonder so many people, especially black people, have visceral reactions to the clip.

Here’s the thing, as media personality Kalen Allen pointed out in this Tweeter. I remember being in high school when Precious. If you wanted to embarrass, shame or intimidate a black woman, you would call them Precious. The name took on a very pejorative meaning in the weeks, months, and dare I say years after the film’s release.

No, this is not information that I expect every white woman to know. Kathy Hilton certainly wasn’t running around the halls of my high school with her ear to the ground about the new insult the kids had concocted. But as someone in the spotlight, who makes numerous media appearances and often interacts with other celebrities, like Rihanna, with whom she has a good relationship, it’s time for her to get some PR training.

I may be the only one who thinks this, but Cheer uses Kathy Hilton very strategically. His clips of his time The Real Housewives of Beverly Hillsas well as its clips on WWHL have garnered millions of views, collectively. People find her funny, I often find her funny, I understand. But I don’t find her funny when black women are the butt of her jokes, whether it’s intentional or not.

I return to another Tweeter by Kalen Allen, who agrees it was unintentional, but points to the fact that once again Lizzo is being clowned on national television, as well as social media, and suggests that someone should have said something.

It’s an interesting thought, because all attempts to fix things have failed miserably. RHOBA Cast member Crystal Kung-Minkoff, who also appeared in the episode, tried to say that Lizzo was “precious,” like, personality-wise. Annoying. Andy Cohen sat there half-laughing as he hid behind his cue cards. And the two black bartenders just winced.

I feel like black bartenders in this situation. I love reality TV. I love Andy Cohen. I love Bravo. I’m literally flying out to New York in October for Bravocon. But there were many times when I felt like my identity and my interests struggled to coexist.

I remember seeing Teresa Giudice flipping a table, her and her then-husband being sent to jail, their hair pulled out at a party, all on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. But in an episode where a few black women argue verbally, a main ingredient of this kind of franchise, which is called ghetto? Classless? Vulgar? We do.

I don’t feel like Bravo has done enough to protect black women and men on their shows. And it wasn’t until after 2020 that we saw the emergence of more black comrades on shows like Southern Charm and Under the bridge.

So many people are pointing the finger at Kathy Hilton for confusing Lizzo with Precious. But let’s not forget the people and network behind the scenes that facilitate interactions like these, earning money on every view.

Considering that black women really are the backbone of reality TV, as discussed in this 2021 Washington Post article, and many others, I can’t help but feel that for all the money Bravo makes from women of color, we, Lizzo included, deserve a whole lot better.

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