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Wendy's Got the Heat

Wendy's Got the Heat

3.4 60
by Wendy Williams, Karen Hunter (With)

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Known as a "shock jock diva," Wendy Williams has had a following in the nation's number one media market, New York City, and across the nation from the time she became a top-rated radio personality and "It Girl" in the mid-1990s. Whether she's hosting her nationally syndicated television talk show The Wendy Williams Show or doing commentary for the VH1


Known as a "shock jock diva," Wendy Williams has had a following in the nation's number one media market, New York City, and across the nation from the time she became a top-rated radio personality and "It Girl" in the mid-1990s. Whether she's hosting her nationally syndicated television talk show The Wendy Williams Show or doing commentary for the VH1 Fashion Awards, her fans know that Wendy's Got the Heat.

She's the kind of media personality that artists love because she builds them up—and fear because she can bring them down. She's interviewed many of the biggest names in entertainment—Jennifer Lopez, Whitney Houston, and Queen Latifah among them—and is known for her ability to disarm and get them to reveal their secrets.

Known as both a "shock jock diva" and "the biggest mouth in New York," Wendy Williams is always at the top of her game, whether she's doing commentary for the VH1 Fashion Awards or giving romantic advice. But there's more to the Queen of Urban Radio than meets the mike. Wendy's Got the Heat is her story — about growing up in a predominately white suburb, recovering from drug addiction, struggling to launch a successful career in one of the most male-dominated media industries—and it's by turns painful, hilarious, triumphant, and totally true.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Amy DuBois Barnett Honey magazine With the incredible success of her daily program — full of celebrity dish and frank advice — Wendy is at the top of her game....The best part? Wendy achieved her success by being herself.

New York Post If you're dying to find out everything there is to know about radio scandal-monger Wendy Williams, she has a story for you.

New York Post
If you're dying to find out everything there is to know about radio scandal-monger Wendy Williams, she has a story for you.
Wendy Williams, the controversial host of a New York City afternoon radio show, is another great example of resilience and determination. With the incredible success of her daily program — full of celebrity dish and frank advice — Wendy is at the top of her game....The best part? Wendy achieved her success by being herself.
—Amy DuBois Barnett
Publishers Weekly
Drug addiction, divorce, miscarriages, infidelity-such is the stuff of gripping biography-but the story of Williams' rise to radio fame is less than the sum of its parts, at least as it's told here. Williams, a deejay on New York R&B and hip-hop station WBLS, is something of a rarity in the industry: a top-rated African-American woman. She relates that she always felt like an outsider: "I was the black girl in a practically all-white school. And among the handful of blacks, I was the 'white girl,' the outcast." But she was sure great things were ahead. "I knew that one day my being different would pay off," she writes. While Williams goes on to explain that her success came through hard work and dedication, she doesn't show the nitty-gritty of her job-how a studio operates, how she came up with her style, what she actually does at work-which is a shortcoming in a book about a radio personality. Instead, Williams offers a very readable but standard-issue confessional autobiography, told in a smooth vernacular; she relates her long-term drug abuse, which began with marijuana in college and progressed to cocaine; her problems with men; her desire for happiness and success. The story might be inspirational for some, but it's not always deeply analytical: her drug use, for example, helps her realize that "[g]etting high with muthafuckas doesn't do anything for you except give people something to talk about or worse. Nobody's going to stick around if something goes down. And nobody's got your back." This is an worthy tale, but it's best suited to serious Williams fans, who will welcome information on her hard-won sobriety, her liposuction and breast implants, her love for her son and her tips for keeping a man. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
These memoirs by "shock jocks" both belong in the popular genre of celebrity autobiographies, but one is better than the other. Muller, the host of "Mancow Morning MadHouse," a morning radio show nationally syndicated from Chicago and Fox News, attempts to use his coming to terms with his father's death to frame his journey toward freedom and love. When this quickly falls flat, the memoir becomes an egomaniac's boasting tale of his exploits in Amsterdam's Red Light district and hashish-fogged "coffee shops," with lots of shallow libertarian preaching thrown in as a bonus. The narrative is full of odd and unannounced stream-of-consciousness jumps between past and present that appear more meaningful than they are, and there is even an ill-fated attempt at free verse. As much as Muller detests Howard Stern, the undisputed king of shock jocks, this book-compared with Stern's Private Parts and Miss America-makes Muller look like a Stern clone lacking the original's character. Without any redeeming qualities whatsoever, this unimpressive memoir is not recommended. Williams, a shock jock diva and "radio gossip guru" on WBLS in New York (and in national syndication), has a lot more to offer in her autobiography. A successful woman in an overwhelmingly male-dominated profession and a product of a conservative, middle-class upbringing, she describes her college days, her early career with its many setbacks, and her personal struggles to get to the top of her profession. She talks candidly about her marital problems, drug addiction, miscarriages, job insecurity, and other topics far more interesting than the preening rants and juvenile infatuations with genitalia that Stern and Muller often focus on. Written in a down-to-earth, casual style, with only a few instances of the hubris typical of celebrity autobiographies, this book offers encouragement to other women in similar situations who want to break into a heavily male-dominated community. While public libraries in areas where Williams is unknown might want to pass, those where Williams is heard may find it a useful addition to their collections.-Mark Bay, Cumberland Coll. Lib., Williamsburg, KY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Tiresome, simple-minded autobiography from the New York radio personality. Reared in middle-class Wayside, New Jersey, Williams knew from childhood that radio was her destiny. While a freshman at Northeastern, she approached the campus radio station and was soon reading the news on air. An internship at Boston's number-one radio station led to a job offer in St. Croix. After only eight months on the island, Williams broke into the Washington, D.C., AM market. As her career was taking off, however, she developed a lengthy cocaine addiction. Despite the drugs and involvements with less-than-stellar men, Williams continued to achieve, eventually making it into the FM hip-hop market in New York City. She married, went through a messy divorce, and then met future husband Kevin, also involved in the business. They struggled to have a child, but right after the birth of their son, Williams discovered that Kevin was cheating on her. A quick trip to a private detective and the wronged wife realized that "ultimately speaking," she won. Following this revelation is a transcript of a conversation with her husband describing the affair and its resolution, and the whole thing wraps up with author's relationship rules and career advice-all of it embarrassingly simplistic. Instead of juicy insider gossip, Williams focuses strictly on herself. (She includes a brief mention of Salt N Pepa-but only because they invited her to replace their deejay, who was leaving to get married.) Despite her advice to readers that "there is no excuse for not being able to speak well," Williams (or her coauthor) has chosen to write her narrative in the most casual of street slang. On competition from other deejays: "B****s and n****s every day are practicing to do my s**t." On loyalty: "Don't insist on it and then be a shady m*********ker." No bling-bling, no flava.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: Wendy from Wayside

What mother and father give their daughter ruby earrings for getting her period? I got my period when I was thirteen. It was one of the most memorable and humiliating experiences I have ever had. I didn't get a box of pads and that little talk with my mother that most people get. No, both my mother and my father (how mortifying) sat me down for the "you're becoming a woman now" speech and afterward they presented me with two 14-karat gold birds with small rubies inside the claws of the birds. I guess the rubies were to signify my period and my passage into womanhood. My period seemed a bigger deal to my parents than it was to me.

I was not raised in a normal household. I'm sure my parents, Shirley and Thomas, will consider themselves the epitome of normal. But to the outside world, in many respects, I had the perfect family. And actually, looking back, I think so, too. I had a wonderful upbringing and I wouldn't trade my parents for any in the world. But...

Remember that song from Electric Company, "Which of these things does not belong here, which of these things is not the same...?" I was the thing that didn't belong in my family. That was what I thought growing up. Today, I know that's not true. I now know that I am definitely my parents' child and I totally fit with everything they tried to instill in us. It just took thirty-something years for me and them to realize it.

My parents worked very hard to give all of us a solid foundation. They worked extremely hard to make sure none of us wanted for anything. That was why we moved to Ocean Township, New Jersey — Wayside to be exact. We moved there when I was five from Asbury Park, which was going through a rough period following the riots. Moving to Wayside was like the Jeffersons moving to the East Side to a "deluxe apartment in the sky."

Wayside, a middle-class to upper-middle-class section of Ocean Township, was approximately forty-five minutes south of Manhattan on the Jersey Shore. There were people in our neighborhood with lots of money living in big houses. There were people living in big houses with money to live in bigger houses. And then there were people like my parents, who scraped together everything they had to give us the best. Part of the best included living in a nice, safe neighborhood without a lot of transient families. Wayside was usually the last stop for most families — people rarely moved from there. I had a next-door neighbor, Jackie, who was there when we moved in and was still there when we both graduated from high school and went off to college. She might be still there today for all I know. My parents wanted a sense of permanence for us and Wayside was that place.

My parents always traveled in the "right" circles. They were involved in many social activities and charities. And they had plenty of prominent friends, like Gwendolyn Goldsby Grant, a noted therapist who does an advice column for one of the major black magazines. She pledged AKA with my mother in college.

My parents weren't rich; they practically cut off their wrists for us to live the way we did. In fact, my parents always drove an old car when I was growing up — the kind you wanted to park down the street or around the corner out of embarrassment. They didn't waste money on showy material things. They saved and sacrificed for things that would advance our family.

We had a nanny/housekeeper, Mrs. Mary Johnson. We didn't have Mrs. Johnson because we were rich. We needed Mrs. Johnson because both of my parents worked and they didn't want us to be latchkey kids. My parents taught all week, graded papers, prepared for meetings and the like; it behooved them to have someone come in and clean and iron, too. So there was always Mrs. Johnson.

But we didn't have it like that. Not like the rich people down the street. They had a live-in nanny and a housekeeper. And those kids down the street were terrible to their help. They would do things like lock their nanny out in the freezing cold with no coat. If we even thought about disrespecting Mrs. Johnson we would get the hell slapped out of us. Besides, Mrs. Johnson did not play that.

My parents struggled so that my sister, brother and I wanted for nothing. We traveled. We shopped. Christmas was always big at our house. A typical Christmas for me would be four pairs of Calvin Klein jeans, a diamond floating heart, a teddy bear with a diamond belly button, lots of gold jewelry and makeup by Estée Lauder — never makeup out of a drugstore. My sister would get more of the same, just in smaller sizes. And my brother would get clothes that might include a whole collection of Izod shirts — one for every day of the week. My mother, though, was the queen of the discount shopping and while she would spend money, she would also wait until things went on sale.

I compare my family to the Cosbys, America's family when I was growing up. I was Denise, Lisa Bonet's character — the troubled middle child. My sister Wanda, who is seven years older than I, was Sondra, the Sabrina LeBeauf character on The Cosby Show. She was the smart, perfect daughter. Then there was Tommy, Theo Huxtable — the only boy in the family.

Wanda and I shared a room when Tommy was born and he was given my room. Wanda was the best big sister when I was young. She would often sneak downstairs late at night and bring back snacks for us. We would have orange slices or the little pizzas that you make in the toaster. We would play kicking-feet on the bed and she would ride me around on her back pretending to be an elephant. I was three and she was ten and entertaining her baby sister.

Then it just all stopped. As Wanda was moving into her teens and got into her grades and into her friends and into her life, those days of sneaking snacks, kicking-feet and playing elephant were fading. Who wants to hang around a little kid when you're becoming an adult? And from my perspective, who wants to hang around a perfect big sister and get lectured on your grades and behavior? Not me.

Tommy, who was only three years younger than me, became my best friend and confidant. He was my partner in crime and the only one who completely understood me — even to this day. I remember when we were kids I would make matching tee shirts using glitter and waterproof magic marker. My shirt read "machine wash" and his read "tumble dry." On another set of shirts I wrote "frick" on mine and "frack" on his. We would skip along the Belmar Beach arm and arm — tighter than Frick and Frack.

My sister had become the "Myth of Wanda" — I could no longer relate to her. We were sisters but with little in common. And by contrast she pushed me further into being a misfit. Wanda was the perfect daughter. She was quiet and understated. She dressed conservatively in muted tones and wore Birkenstocks. She had a perfect build — five-feet-six and a size six. She was a straight-A student, who left for Tufts at age sixteen on an academic scholarship.

I was nothing like Wanda. She was soft-spoken. I spoke too loud, too fast and too much — so much so that my parents had codes for me when I was in public or at social gatherings. We could be in a room full of people — if my parents said, "Wendy, TM!" that meant that I was talking too much or giving too much information. It was nothing for me to strike up a conversation with a perfect stranger and tell them about a fight I had with my mother that day because I gained weight. No subject was off limits. My loose lips were enough for my parents to have codes for me. TF was for too fast. I used to talk a mile a minute. I've learned to pace myself now. I have learned to use pregnant pauses for dramatic effect but I still have to think about it. And sometimes even today when I get caught up in a frenzy I revert back to that ten-year-old who talks too fast.

Then there was TL for too loud. I still talk too loud today. My husband is constantly signaling me to lower my voice because I have a tendency to speak really loud in public and draw attention to myself. When I was younger, my parents were constantly telling me, "Wendy, TL!" If we were out at dinner or something the codes would be followed by kicks under the table.

Wanda was the perfect size, I had a weight problem. I was a big girl — five-feet-eleven by the sixth grade, wearing a size eleven shoe. Actually my mother used to buy me a size ten because she had a hard time finding elevens back then and I would curl up my toes to fit into the tens.

Wanda's style was low-key, mine was loud and colorful. Remember the "Bedazzler," a kit that allowed you to adorn your clothes with rhinestones? I had a Bedazzler in the fifth grade and became the Bedazzler queen. I would take a plain denim jacket and fill it with intricate rhinestone designs. I would bedazzle everything from tee shirts to jeans. I graduated from bedazzling to painting on my clothes. I would rip up my tee shirts to create "one of a kinds." I had my own flair even at ten. If I was a guy I guess I would have been gay but not just gay, I would be a drag queen because I loved the flair. I know my conservative family was wondering where in the hell I came from — especially following Wanda.

The Myth of Wanda was something that I could never live up to. So I never tried. I never tried to be the anti-Wanda, either. I didn't go out on a limb to distinguish myself from her. In fact, I looked up to Wanda. She was the model. She set the mark for me and I appreciated that. I knew if I went too far away from that mark, I would be in trouble. So while I never tried to be like Wanda, I never moved too far away from the standards she set.

She went to the cotillion and was on the student council in high school. I never had the GPA to be involved with either. But I admired her for doing it. I never put any pressure on myself to try and follow in her footsteps. For one, my feet were too damn big. Secondly, I was that Lisa Bonet character. I marched to my own drum. When I realized early on that I was not going to be a straight-A student, I didn't stress myself about it. When I knew I wasn't going to be five-feet-six and a size six, I didn't stress myself. I always hated beige, I liked pink and hot pink at that. I wasn't conservative or understated, I was loud and big — I liked big hair, big nails, rhinestones and four-inch pumps. I was different.

I was a misfit outside of my home, too. I remember being bigger, taller and blacker than everyone in school. I also remember just when girls were thinking about boys, I was not a part of those conversations because the boys weren't thinking about me. I was the outcast.

Growing up I was invited to a few sleepovers but that's only because my mother was friends with the mother of the kid having the sleepover. Most of the time, I wasn't invited. When you have a sleepover your mom usually only lets you invite five people — five of your closest friends. I was never in anyone's top five. I might be in the top fifteen, at best, but I was never in the top five. And it hurt.

I was usually the only black in my class throughout school. When I graduated high school, I was one of four. One of the four ended up being in and out of the criminal justice system after graduation. He might even be dead now. And the other two didn't really speak to me much. I was the "white girl" to them. I didn't eat at the black table (as small as it was) because I didn't believe in succumbing to peer pressure.

I was liked by the white people in my school and, for the most part, I liked them. I just thought they had a twisted view of black people. They bought into the stereotypes and because of that they, too, excluded me from the black race.

They would from time to time refer to one of the black kids in our school as a "nigger" right in front of me and quickly say, "Oh, not you, Wendy." To them I wasn't a "nigger." I guess they thought the disclaimer, "Not you, Wendy," was some sort of a compliment like I would feel good about them saying nigger and then excluding me from being a nigger. I seemed to assimilate. I spoke a certain way. I dressed the way they did. They were so comfortable (too comfortable) that they used the word "nigger" and somehow knew it wouldn't insult me. But what they didn't realize was that telling me, "Not you, Wendy," was more of an insult than if they had called me a nigger because once again it set me apart.

Eventually, I found a group of misfits just like me when I got to high school. They were all white, though. There was a friend who was a relative of the former owner of the New York Jets. She was a punk rocker before it was cool to be a punk rocker. A lot of people considered her the freak of our class. She wasn't a bad kid. She wasn't into heavy drugs or anything. But she did have a fake ID, and drank and hung out at Hitsville, a punk rock club right across from the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. This friend had a convertible Mustang, which to me was very cool. There was also Diane and Liz. Diane was not so much a visual punk rocker as she was a mental punk rocker. And Liz was the quiet one. All of these girls were smart, straight-A students who still managed to punk rock and hang out. I was the girl who could talk and got Cs, and sometimes Ds. And a couple of times I would find myself in the little class at the end of the hallway with about six other kids — if you know what I mean.

Today when I go to schools to speak, I don't focus on the kids who are getting the As. And I'm definitely not talking to the ones with the perfect bodies because they get enough attention. I'm speaking to the kids who get the Cs and Ds and Fs — the ones who get railroaded into the "stupid" classes. And I'm talking to the girls with the bad body images and the lone blacks in white situations. Those are the ones who need the support.

I know because I didn't really get a lot of academic support at school. I had a guidance counselor who pretty much had me written off. As a matter of fact, I was a blow-off appointment for her, a waste of her time because she was busy trying to get the white students with straight As into college. She was annoyed to even have to spend a few minutes with me. They were the most discouraging few minutes I had ever spent. She told me my SAT scores were too low to get into college and my grades were even worse. She also told me that out of three hundred and sixty-three kids, I was going to graduate number three hundred and sixty and that I should think about trade school. Trade school? And she was serious.

But fortunately, I had my parents. Both of my parents were educators. My mother was a schoolteacher and my father was a school principal who later became an English professor at Monmouth College. He was like Roscoe Lee Brown on A Different World, very distinguished, good looking and a sharp dresser. My father is also very funny with a dry, sarcastic wit. He's the type to make you proud to say, "There's my dad!"

He and my mother always seemed to be pursuing some higher academic achievement. My mother got two masters degrees while we were growing up. And my father was working on his doctorate. Their academic excellence seemed to rub off on everyone, except for me. Wanda not only graduated from Tufts but also went to law school and became a successful lawyer. Tommy also went to school with grants and scholarships. In the Williams household, going to college, well, that wasn't even a thought. You were going to college.

My parents knew that for me, however, college wouldn't be so easy. They had to save for my college education because there was no way I was getting any kind of academic scholarship and my grades were too low to qualify for grants. My parents had a plan for me. I was the one they needed to make provisions for. I was their pet project.

They knew from day one that my sister would go on and do something brilliant with her life. And she did. They never worried about her future. As far as my brother, even if he didn't do well, he was still a boy and parents tend to feel that boys will always do okay in the world — after all, it is a man's world. Tommy also ended up being successful. He is a schoolteacher today.

"But what are we going to do with Wendy? What will become of her?" That was my parents' lament. I was never a good student. In the third grade I was getting notes on my report card saying, "She doesn't apply herself," which, in my case, was code for, "She's not very bright." By then my parents were already thinking, "Okay, we better start planning and stacking our chips. She clearly will not go to Harvard but we don't want her to go to community college, either."

My parents made sure that I would have a safety net. They made sure that my college would be paid for with no loans because they had no idea that I would even get a job making enough money to pay back those loans. They didn't want to set me up to fail. I don't even think my parents had high hopes of me marrying well — which was another option for a girl who wasn't an achiever in the classroom. While I've always been a cute girl, I had the weight factor. And we all know in life that cute in the face is not enough — you also have to be tight in the waist. If you're heavy, you may be fine to date but when well-appointed men are thinking about marriage they are looking for an arm piece. I wasn't arm- piece material (I am today, by the way). That's why my college education was paid for and I was also given a brand-new car, a Subaru, for graduation — just in case. My parents' minds were at ease because, at the very least, I would have a degree to get a job and a car to get to that job.

I am grateful to my parents for having enough foresight to know that without their planning I might not have ever gone to college. They were great examples and great teachers in how to survive in this world. The biggest lesson they taught me was the importance of presenting a good package. My parents knew how to present a good package to the world. That's something that too many young people today just do not get.

All of the saving and scrimping in the world would not have gotten me into college (not with my grades) if I did not present a good package. Colleges do not necessarily select students based on grades and scores but on their ability to mix in with the rest of the student body. My parents taught me that if I was well rounded, if I participated in activities in and out of school that I would have a better chance at getting into a college. Colleges are looking for well-rounded students who can add something to their school.

I had bad grades but I was a Candy Striper, helping out my local hospital. And I was a Girl Scout. I figured if I'm going to be failing just about every subject, I'll be a corny Girl Scout. I was getting kicked out of math class for failing so I had to do the extracurricular activities. No, I did not enjoy being a Girl Scout. Looking back they were a cross between lesbian and corny. They were boy-girls and I did not relate. I did not want to be eating smores around a fire with a bunch of bugs in a tent.

I was even on the swim team. Yes, my lazy behind was on the swim team, getting up early in the morning before school to practice. Why? Because I was going to get into somebody's college and being on the swim team — not the basketball team, not cheerleading or softball — looked better on my record. It wasn't a typical sport and it made me a standout. It gave the college admittance people something to add to that perfect package. I never won any swimming championships but I was good enough to be on the team and swim in the meets and I was good enough to get a partial scholarship to Boston College (which I did not take).

Another part of my perfect package was the way that I spoke. Even if you're not a whiz in the classroom there is no excuse for not being able to speak well because that's simply emulation and effort. Being able to speak well for me was a big plus. It's fine to know all the slang and have all of that street language down, but you must also know how to flip it and speak the Queen's English when you need to. No one ever told me this. No one had to. Growing up in Ocean Township and in my household, speaking with clear diction — pronouncing the entire word — was the norm.

My parents made sure that I had a personal interview with every school I applied. They knew I couldn't get in based on my transcripts. They knew that despite my poor grades, I could handle myself very well in an interview because I was used to speaking and I spoke well. Both of my parents would take off of work to accompany me on the interview to make sure that the package was intact. I would show up in my Izod shirts, maybe a plaid skirt or a pair of Gloria Vanderbilt jeans, a pair of Mary Janes or Polo loafers, my Farrah Faucett flip.

I sat in front of them as Wendy from Wayside with a parent on each side as a double minority. I got accepted to every school to which I applied. I got into schools that I was not qualified to get into and I'm not ashamed to admit that, because while I was not necessarily qualified to get into Northeastern, the school I eventually chose, I graduated from the five-year school in four years. Today I wave the flag of academic inadequacy high because people need to know that poor grades do not necessarily mean failure. Not if you know how to present the perfect package.

That perfect package got me over most of my life and was one of the reasons why I was able to succeed (even through cocaine addiction). I knew how to present the "package" no matter what the reality. I was a poor student from a hardworking family, but my package said affluence and intelligence. I was dabbling in drugs and alcohol in high school, but the package I presented was that of a good girl who would never do those things. I was able to fool everyone — including my parents.

I couldn't wait to go to college because I knew that finally I would be able to find people who were like me and perhaps find a crew, like the one my sister had at Tufts, which would totally accept me. I used to visit Wanda all of the time and those visits were the reason why I not only wanted to attend college but also attend college in Boston. I even had my first real kiss from a boy who attended Tufts. I met him at the school and told him I was seventeen. I was actually thirteen. He was very handsome and charming. We had our first kiss on an Amtrak train. He kissed me with his tongue and I could feel my breasts sprouting on the spot. I thought, "This is what it feels like to be a woman?! I like it!"

I don't think I ever spoke with my first kiss again and that didn't matter. He fulfilled his purpose in my life. He gave me a glimpse into my future. I couldn't wait to get to college where I could finally be free to be me. I couldn't wait to get to Boston where I had so many choices. I could date men from Harvard and men from MIT, men at Boston College and men at the University of Boston. There were so many colleges in the area and I chose Northeastern because it was so large that I could get lost in the numbers. It was not unusual for there to be classes with three hundred students. If I didn't show up, the professor would never know.

My mother, father and Tommy drove me to Boston (Wanda was in law school in Washington, DC) in the Lincoln Town Car. By this point, my parents had graduated from the embarrassing hoopdie into something more respectable. On the entire ride up I-95, I was so excited I thought I would burst. We pulled onto campus and up to my dorm and my mother managed to turn my excitement into fear. My mother is very, very social (which I hate) and she was talking and getting to know what seemed like every damn person on campus. It turned out that there were a lot of AKAs on campus helping the freshmen move in.

My mother is an AKA, my sister is an AKA, my sister-in-law is an AKA, my father is an Alpha, my brother is an Alpha, my brother-in-law is an Alpha. Of course, my mother just knew I was going to pledge. So as my mother was talking and being Miss Social, I could feel the AKAs looking at me like a piece of steak. I could almost hear them thinking, "Oh, yeah, we're going to get this bitch because we know she's going to want to pledge."

And there was my mother telling them, "Yes, Wendy is definitely going to want to pledge AKA."

Pledging was the last thing on my mind. I wasn't willing to go through any humiliating experiences. But I was torn because I also knew that I would never fit in with my family if I didn't. Pledging AKA would be the perfect way for me to finally find a group of girls who were just like my mother and my sister. So I considered it for two seconds.

But shortly after being in college — and I mean shortly, like less than six minutes — I realized that this pledging thing was not going to work out. Those bitches expected you to be at their beck and call. They would borrow your shit and not return it and I watched some of them even sleep with each other's men. And all that "Yes, Big Sister" shit. That was just not for me. I couldn't do it.

So I was back to my solitude. My college roommate was a lesbian who played sports and we had nothing in common so I spent most of my time in my room smoking weed, drinking and plotting my next move. I left for college with a carton of cigarettes and a shoebox full of weed. It was on like that. I started smoking cigarettes in high school with Leslie. She smoked Marlboros. But I smoked Newports. When my friends smoked cigarettes they bummed off of each other. I never wanted to bum anything from anybody. That was also the reason why I risked everything and drove my parents' car to Westlake Avenue in Asbury Park and Long Branch and took the train to New York to Washington Square Park to buy nickel bags of weed every week. I started buying them from my senior year until it was time to leave for college.


I first smoked weed, surprisingly enough, with some black girls — the same ones who were calling me white girl. Our town was so small there was really no room to run away from anyone. There was no room for them to call me white girl and then escape from me. We finally called a truce.

After smoking with them I decided that we had that one thing in common but it wasn't enough to forge a friendship. They knew girls that were having babies and for me that was another life. They spoke like adults and were all having sex. I might have still been a virgin. The only thing that we had in common was that we were black females from Ocean Township, and we smoked weed. That wasn't enough to be friends. But after that taste of smoking weed I decided I liked it enough to try and figure out how to get it on my own and avoid them. I started getting high finally with my white friends. But I got tired of smoking with them, too. I needed my own weed so I could smoke it by myself. I had plenty of money that I had saved when I got a windfall from the most unusual and tragic of circumstances several years prior. I was thirteen years old and I was visiting my grandfather who lived in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Papa lived on the first floor of a two-family house and his mother, my great-grandmother, lived on the second floor.

But as she started getting up there in age and getting sickly, she was moved downstairs with my grandfather so that someone would always be around to watch her. When I visited, I often took care of my great-grandmother. On one particular afternoon I was home alone with her and she had to go to the bathroom. I helped her get on the commode. She was so frail that she had to be helped onto the commode and watched until she was finished. She sat there for a minute and then leaned forward with her elbows on her knees, the way you might lean if you're taking a good, stiff shit. Her head bobs forward and I see her dentures rush to the front of her mouth. They are somehow dangling from her mouth, but they never fall completely out.

"Grandma?" I nudge her and she doesn't move. She was dead. Well, I'll tell you, beyond the tears there was something very comical about this situation and I don't think I'm going to hell for telling this story because she lived a full, happy life.

But I'm standing there freaking out not knowing what to do. I called 911. And I somehow got her off the commode, got her bloomers back up and I was going to put her in the bed to wait for the people to come. I was straightening up her room, trying to fix up her bed and I pulled back the sheets to find just under the edge of the mattress so much money I didn't know what to do.

I was thirteen and I figured no one would care, least of all Grandma — who like a lot of older people didn't trust banks — if I helped myself to some of the money. So I did. It was thousands of dollars — some Confederate bills, old coins, fifties, hundreds, singles. I grabbed about ten thousand and there was still plenty left over.

I tricked some of it up shopping at Bamberger's (which was Macy's before Macy's), and Debs and Annie Sez. I even called one of my best friends, Regina, one of my neighbors who was black from a wealthy family. I would drag her along with me to the mall. I was smart enough to buy things that wouldn't arouse any suspicion. I never showed up home with some slutty outfit that would make my parents question, "Where did you get that?" I was mostly buying clothes that blended in with all of the other clothes in my wardrobe.

But how foolish did I look showing up at Bamberger's with Confederate money? One clerk even said to me, "Are you sure you want to use this money?" I had no idea how valuable that old money was and how much it would be worth. It was probably worth one hundred times its face value and there I am spending it up. No wonder no one ever called security, I'm sure they were exchanging it for regular cash and pocketing it themselves.

I managed to save most of the money, though, and when I discovered weed, I had plenty of money to buy it. I would buy a nickel bag or two every week. I knew I was going to college so I let the nickel bags stack up.

Now understand that I was in no way a Buddha head. I smoked weed for the first time in the eighth grade and didn't really smoke again until well into high school. I had never bought the stuff. I liked it but I was not into it like that. In fact, it only took a couple of pulls for me to get high. But I decided I liked it enough to make sure I had some when I went away to college.

I knew weed would be a part of the curriculum for me. And having my own supply wasn't about being a weed head as much as it was about being in control of my own shit. You may like PopTarts or cookies and while you don't eat them all the time, you make sure they're in the cabinet, just in case. That's the way I felt about weed. When I wanted it, I wanted it to be available without exposing my wants to anybody else. So I planned ahead. I made sure I had enough to last me the entire school year; I needed it to. That was my futuristic vision at work. I had envisioned that I would be rolling with a certain kind of crowd. I saw my crew as black and I saw me as being a standout because my goal was to be a little wilder than the average chick. I had planned to go to college and attack the social scene — me and my shoebox full of weed.

I wasn't planning on being the campus slut or anything like that. I wasn't "that type" of girl, sexually. Hell, I didn't lose my virginity until I was seventeen going on eighteen and even that was carefully planned out. I knew I didn't want to go to college a virgin. I wanted to have fun in college and I didn't want to stress the virginity thing. Not that I wanted to be fucking everybody on campus, I just didn't want to be "the virgin." In college you know how you can kind of tell who is into what. And the virgin always sticks out.

I also knew I never wanted to get caught out there with a guy the way too many girls do when they go away for the first time. You see it all the time. These girls who come from these sheltered backgrounds go away to college and fall in love with some guy. The next thing you know, the dumb bitch is ironing his shirts and cooking for his ass. She's playing homemaker in a dorm room or off-campus apartment and not taking care of her own business while he's doing whatever the fuck he wants. He's the captain of the basketball team and cheating like mad. And she is just ironing and cooking away. That was not going to be me.

I was not going to be macked. My futuristic vision told me I was going to be doing the macking. And I ended up being a mack-tress. While that c

I was not going to be macked. My futuristic vision told me I was going to be doing the macking. And I ended up being a mack-tress. While that chick was back in the room ironing jeans and shirts and shit, her man was in my room — smoking weed and drinking 40s. In my dorm, people had to sign in whenever they came to visit. Most of the time we were just smoking weed and hanging out. But I'm certain the people in charge of the sign-in book probably thought I was some sort of whore.

I was finding my place in college. But while I was fitting in socially I wasn't fitting in at all academically. I was up to my old tricks. At this point my life could have taken a turn for the wild, and my parents were totally in the dark about it because the same picture that I presented to the world they bought into. My parents bought the lie. If I wasn't smart enough to barely get into college, why would they believe that all of a sudden I became this genius? Why weren't they asking to see my grades? Why did they believe me when I would tell them that there was a holdup with the grades?

Grades eventually came home. But they weren't the grades I actually had. I changed them and sent home my version of my academic achievement. Shouldn't all of those As and Bs and that 3.0 GPA have raised a red flag? In reality, I was barely passing. I could have flunked out at any given time in college. I did just enough work not to have to tell my parents that they were sending me home.

And it wasn't that I wasn't applying myself. I certainly was — to all the corrupt things. Well, not all the corrupt things. In the solitude of my dorm room one night, I discovered something that would change the course of my life. It was destiny. It was radio.

Copyright © 2003 by Wendy, Inc.

Meet the Author

Wendy Williams, a graduate of Northeastern University, is the host of the popular television show The Wendy Williams Show. She lives in New York with her husband and son.

Karen Hunter is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, a celebrated radio talk-show host, and coauthor of numerous New York Times bestsellers, including Confessions of a Video Vixen, On the Down Low, and Wendy’s Got the Heat. She is also an assistant professor in the Film & Media Department at Hunter College.

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Wendy's Got the Heat 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been a fan of Wendy Williams since she first came here in Philly, and even after she left, I still think she's great. After reading her new book...I couldnt put it down, I felt she shared a lot of things about her life that she did not have to share, i.e., her drug addiction...she keeps it real, she has come a long way since Wayside, I think she deserves to flaunt her jewelry and herself, because she earned it, and if I was struggling to become something for years, and finally made it big, guess what...i would be showing my pride too. She gave great advice at the end of her book too. I think it was great, and cant wait for her next book. Steve ~ PHILLY
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
mln63 More than 1 year ago
I was really excited to read this book. I discovered Wendy Williams when her show came on the air, (I love her show) This book is targeted to a certain audience and I'm not one of them. This book is aimed towards late teens/early 20's urban girls. I'm none of those. I did enjoy reading about her growing up, college years, her early career, and her struggles with cocaine. One she started talking about her husband cheating on her, and her "advice", I couldn't wait for it to end. Is this the real Wendy Williams, or the one on her tv show? I still don't know.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
IsabellaR More than 1 year ago
It is an amazing insight into Wendy's life. I think it's inspirational, to read about someone who went through so much in life, became wiser and happier. I was looking for something besides just entertainment and I found it with this book. It changed my life, made me realise that life is for living and if I'm not happy in my current situation, plan and break free. This book gave me the strength to change my life for the better. Like she says 'I'm just a regular girl from New Jersey.' But it seems anything can happen if you have the strength to believe in yourself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I want to start off saying that,she is a waste of time to watch and listen to!She represents nothing but bull****!Who acts like that?Someone who is not happy with there life or themselves!I haven't read the book, but I know from watching her show(and that is after I have had 3 or 4 shots of 1800)I don't need to read the book!Her hair is horrible,she looks like a man!My oppinon,she is trashy entertainment for those people who are looking for reasons to stay on top and not fall off!
Guest More than 1 year ago
What more can one ask for. Its gives you someones life in a novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a huge waste of time and money. Completely did not live up to the hype. Definitely not looking forward to next book. Stick to doing radio.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wendys Got the Heat was a waste of my time and money. This book was a whole bunch of headlines but no news.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was a little disappointed with the book. The last 2 chapters were boring as hell. What is the cheating husband doing writing pages in this book, I never finished it. Though I bought it for $14, I wasted my money.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Now since I have had the pleasure of meeting Miss Wendy in person, and know a little something about her career and life, this read would be great. The cover of the book lost me. This is largely due to the fact that I know Wendy is a business woman and have seen her in action. She's tough, but soft and so I couldnt understand why this cover was 'a go'with the publisher / stylist / whomever. Wendy's mind is much more attractive than the photo they used, and to be honest, the photo does not do her justice (meaning: I've seen better pictures of Wendy). so the cover gave me that yucky taste in my mouth. The book. No it wasnt written like some of Karen Hunters other projects, but how can you 'white collar' Wendy's life? She was a drug addict, her husband cheated all over her and she STILL took him back, when she gets on the radio and tells women to leave their cheating husbands, etc. I thought the 'stand by my man' part was due to the fact that her husband was enough man for her to love that she began to love herself and so my initial thought of wendy being a hypocrite, flew out the window once I completed that area of the book. I respect her on that. I felt that Wendy could have went a bit deeper in certain areas and feel as though the book was stretched out a bit as far as pages are concerned. Also, The fact that it seems as though the book was written so people would dislike her. This book is getting three stars because I KNOW wendy was not the writer, but this is a clear example of what happens when you allow someone else to tell your story. I think the marketing aspect of her 'wendy's got the heat'book is what is making this book sell and I guess at the end of the day, that's what REALLY counts to the publisher and not substance. I say...go out and buy it if you want to support one of the most talented radio personalities, that would be nice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My wife bought the book and took it with us on vacation to Jamaica. It was interesting at first because of the realness but the blind items all over the place left me want more details. My wife and I took turns reading the book and we both finished in 2 days. The last chapters in the book I didn't care for, because they didn't apply to my life. OK book for bathroom reading but not worth the price I paid for it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book deserves five stars, because Wendy kept it real! She did not have to sugar coat details to make it sale worthy, because she wanted her readers and listeners to hear her story, the way it is. Reviews from other publishers, and writers, and even famous people does not matter. It helped me personally by reading her book, because some of the things she talked about and confessed, I lived. I even learned how to be a stronger woman. Yes, Wendy may be the radio personality that people love to hate, but she 's still the queen of radio in New York. Yes, she talks about other people, but she layed all of her cards out on the table with nothing to hide. High five on that one. She wrote a book, I saw it, I bought it, I'm happy. Congratulations Wendy, your book was great. When will the next book come out?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Geez, this book represents 2-hours of my life that I'll never get back. I think PE's 'Don't believe the HYPE!' best reflects my review of this poorly written,unorganized and non-enlightening literary offering. Considering the constant promotional on-air hype of 'Read the full story in the Book!' whenever Wendy discusses an interesting issue/subject (Having read this $24 dreeck) I'm still left waiting for the full story! HEAT!...WHAT HEAT? Wendy doesn't name names, disclose the full story behind her radio terminations/lovers and nor does she venture in-depth about the business of radio in the #1 media market. I thought an autobiography was supposed to reflect one's full life experience, thus Wendy's HEAT should have been quite compelling. However, this quick read simply left me cold. Yep,I bought into the hype, learn from my mistake, folks. Save your ca$h. Wendy, if you're going to write Fiction-a mere tale of woe, don't call it an Autobiography!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is written more like a journal that you want to write in but you are very careful about what you include in it incase someone finds it and reads it. As Wendy takes you into her world she makes sure that she tips toe around events in her life that she would 'expose' to the world if it were anyone else. She discusses her drug habit (which we already knew about), her abortion which she seems very proud of, and her rise to becoming the Queen of Gossip radio. I read it in the store and 'would highly' recommend that you do the same. Sorry Wendy, better luck next time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had high expectations about this book and I was greatly disappointed. Basically, everything that was written in the book was stuff she already blabbed about on the radio. There were no surprises. She used no real names. The advice section at the end of the book was weak and it served no purpose. The book was poorly written and underdeveloped. It lacked depth and content. I love reading biographies, and this is the worst one that I have read to date. The cover was extremely tacky as well. Her make-up looked sloppy and unprofessional(I know because I am a professional make-up artist). It wasn't polished at all. What's more, it made her look like a total drag-queen. All in all I hated it. Two thumbs down. The only reason I give it 1 star is because that was the lowest choice. It really deserves half a star. Stick to radio and never attempt to write another book again Wendy. PLEASE!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel draws you into Wendy's world, life and experience. It gives you a better understanding of the radio personality she was destine to become. I totally appreciate Wendy in a different light now. Great read. God Bless you Wendy and continued success.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Poorly written trash. I'm glad I didn't waste my money. Its sad that people think the life of a druggie depicted in thi book is a well written work of art. Think again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really liked the book it was a wonderful read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was really disappointed with her book. She has used this book as a form of therapy and a means to makeor should I say take money from people. She doesn't reveal names (blind items)and while she's reavealing her dirt (drugs) she sheds light on other famous artist like Mary J Blige who was on drugs also. Wendy needs god in her life. Throughout the entire book she discusses how much her husband means to her. Well I don't think he feels the same way. Futhermore her hubby sounds like he has a lack of intelligence b/c of his explanation of his infidelity....she's a bigger idiot for accepting it......SAVE YOUR MONEY IT'S NOT WORTH THE $24+TAX
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have two problems with this book. The first is that they used 'celebrity tell all' hooks to catch the reader's interest, but there was nothing in here that whet my appetite. She gave abrupt descriptions of bad boys in her past and that was it. I could have forgave the lack of gossip if the book was well written or even well edited. No gossip, that's fine, but at least give me a good story. The sequencing was terrible, as there seemed to be no logical pattern to the story. It wasn't chronological, it wasn't by topic. It was a bunch of mumbo jumbo. There were times when the same exact sentence was used at three or four different places in the book. As someone else mentioned, this book was written in too much of a hurry. I'm extremely disappointed that I waited for this book and spent my money on it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been waiting so long to get a hold of Wendy's book. I rarely buy books, and if I did by a book I would probably read it and return within the 30 days because it would usually be worthless on my bookshelf. However, Wendy Williams' book 'Wendy's Got the Heat' that right there is a keeper. I read it and enjoyed every part of it. It was very hard to put down once I started to read it. I bet most people were looking for the juicy gossip but I knew Wendy would not waste her time and put gossip in her book when she could do it on the air. There are probably reasons why she can't go all out on the radio and I am pretty sure that the same reasons pertain to a book as well. I am not the type of person to get all caught up in someone's books to the point that I would buy every book that they have ever written (please no offense to the people who love to read whatever they read) but that was never, ever my cup of tea. But I tell you what, the day I find out that Wendy will be in my area for a book signing I will be there to meet her in person, have her sign my book and to say thank you for making my daily commute home a little less stressful. Thanks Wendy for the many words of encouragement/wisdom/knowledge/shared experiences you gave in this book. Keep, keeping it real