OMAROSA RETURNS TO REALITY TV, BUT CAN SHE REGAIN HER STANDING IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY?
By Hazel Trice Edney
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – As Omarosa Manigault Newman abruptly departed the Trump White House in early December, she told ABC News that she would have a profound story to tell about her tenure as it pertains to the Trump Administration’s treatment of Black people.
“I have seen things that have made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally, that has affected my community, and my people,” she said. “When I can tell my story, it is a profound story that I know the world will want to hear.”
Now that it’s past Jan. 20, the date of her official resignation, the former cast member of Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” who is better known for her first name, Omarosa, has so far remained silent about the wrongs to her people. Instead, she has now moved on to promote her participation in yet another reality show.
The announcement of her participation in the CBS reality show, “Celebrity Big Brother”, has left some wondering whether she will ever divulge her side of the White House ouster. Others predict she will be shunned by the nation’s civil rights community in which she was once welcome.
“This is an official photo for my beautiful wife for ‘Celebrity Big Brother’! Proud of her doing what she loves, Entertainment,” the Rev. John Allen Newman, her husband, posted on Facebook Jan. 28 along with a promo for the “Celebrity Big Brother” reality show in which she was to debut Feb. 7. She did not respond to an interview request for this story.
Reportedly, the show will hike Omarosa’s salary from the nearly $180,000 she was paid as an assistant communications director and advisor at the White House to a base $200,000 with an opportunity for a half million dollars if she wins the stiff competition in the house, according to TMZ.
CBS describes the show as “a group of celebrities living together in a house outfitted with 87 HD cameras and more than 100 microphones, recording their every move 24 hours a day. Each week, someone will be voted out of the house, with the last remaining Houseguest receiving a grand prize.”
Her competitors on the show will reportedly include “class athletes” Chuck Liddell and Metta World Peace, singer Mark McGrath and ‘Housewife’ Brandi Glanville, according to TMZ. Other reports have listed Shannon Elizabeth of “American Pie,” Keshia Knight Pulliam of “The Cosby Show,” and Marissa Jaret Winokur of “Hairspray” among others.
As Trump’s director of African-American Outreach during his campaign, Omarosa – a former Hillary Clinton supporter – launched her tenure at the Trump White House with a mass meeting of hundreds of non-partisan representatives of Black organizations, including the NAACP, the National Urban League, and others that she had befriended and served as a celebrity emcee or panelist at their events. Several people who attended the meeting said in later interviews that they’d seen little or no follow up. A string of Black Republicans complained that she’d blocked them from White House jobs in order to maintain her own status as Trump’s highest placed Black appointee not a member of the cabinet.
As President Trump’s racially divisive words and actions intensified during his first year, Manigault Newman’s silence appeared complicit until her highly publicised resignation amidst a dispute with Trump’s new Chief of Staff John Kelly. Known for her villainous TV character and style that many fans love to hate, Omarosa may well rebuild a reality show following, but grassroots political observers say she will be hard pressed to regain a credible standing in the Black community after taking a job with the President that many perceive as bigoted.
“I don’t know why she took it in the first place. Sometimes people sell their souls to get to where they want to be sometimes or to improve their financial status,” said Clarence Wooten, 54, who says he paid attention to the controversy because he loves politics.
Engaged in a heated conversation over breakfast in a north west D.C. McDonald’s, Wooten and others came to the same conclusion: “I just think it was a bad move for her overall. I think she could have made it in other ways. I don’t think she needed to join that administration at this day and time. She already had it going on,” he said.
Shawn Ali, 50, said Manigault Newman appears to be among several celebrities who lost fans after associating with Trump. “She might have tried to use that platform to get where she wanted to go, but in the same instance, all of us know what’s going on with this [Trump] character. So, you’re up under that umbrella, you need to stay up under that umbrella. It’s like you can’t come back here,” he said. “It’s the old saying that when you leave Black folk, stay where you’re at. That’s really coming back around.”
Eddie Henry, 68, chimed in, “She’s educated. But sometimes you’ll step out of bounds and say, ‘I see an opportunity.’ And it can be a bad opportunity,” he concluded. “And there’s a consequence behind it. All money ain’t good money.”