LETTER FROM THE EDITOR: What Has Happened To Tami Roman?Published by Justin D Joseph on Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 10:56 am.
The year is 1993, I was a young boy a few years away from puberty, and I was addicted to The Real World: Los Angeles. While I didn’t understand half of the story lines—one roommate was staunchly pro-choice (later learned they were speaking of abortions), one roommate was a recovering alcoholic and a lesbian, another was virgin—I visually connected with a beautiful twenty-something young black woman from New York. Her name was Tamisha “Tami” Roman.
Tami to me represented the quintessential around the way girl. She was glamorous, energetic, focused, determined, and dealing with life one issue at a time—basically she was fly as hell. She sang (remember her group, Reality?), she worked out, she worked with AIDS patients, and when she laughed you knew it was from a place of honesty—yet to be jaded by a troubled marriage to a womanizing NBA star, sexual abuse, and violations of personal space. She was THAT chick. Or at least the editors at MTV made her seem as such.
When I moved to New York from Texas in 2005, I saw Tami walking on 46th street with two women. The glow in her eyes had faded. She looked down. Maybe she is having a bad day I thought. A piece of me wanted to say ‘Hi, I grew up with you,’ but I decided against it—and judging by what I’ve seen as of late, I am glad I did.
Fast-forward to 2010, and Tami Roman is announced as the latest addition to VH1’s hit reality show, Basketball Wives. From the first episode, it was obvious that mother had lived. She was now a woman who had been on welfare, was divorced, and used drinking as an excuse for releasing the “stuff” she had kept concealed over the years. She started off to herself in the beginning. But that soon changed for the worst.
Tami fought with damn near EVERYONE (mild exaggeration). Jennifer Williams and Evelyn Lozada in her first season, and then—most infamously— Meeka Claxton (who was dismissed by producers after one season) in the next. Who was THIS Tami? Why was she so belligerent?
On the surface, fans took Tami for who she said she was: A woman who’s about keeping it real, and not talking about people behind their backs. But if you’re of my school of thought, you know that when people stress they “keep it real” chances are they don’t, in the sense that they are not being honest about the stuff that is making them lash out at you—personal hurt, jealousy, sensitivity, etc. People who “keep it real” are always, abrasive and brash. While people who are just old-fashioned honest can relay a message without the hoopla and dramatics.
Keeping it really real, to me Tami Roman is a sensitive (overly sensitive at times) woman who has been hurt so much, that she has now reverted to being a bully, as a defense mechanism to ward off any more hurt and pain at the hands of people she befriends, loves or trusts. Hence the reason she puts people through the ringer before she opens up. The current season of Basketball Wives has shown Tami bullying new cast members Kenya Bell and Kesha Nichols—the latter of whom she has brought to tears. The most recent episode found her holding Kesha’s handbag hostage after confronting her about talking behind her back—something that Tami does regularly. So what’s so different? Why the hypocrisy?
To her credit, it is notable that she has sought out help to work through her stuff. But the road to that peace of mind seems to be rough on everyone else around her. Why is she using people as an emotional punching bag? Why can’t she realize that the very people she is abusing, have their own “stuff” too.
Tami, has two beautiful daughters, and a new found popularity that has led to a series of business opportunities. But, the behavior as of late will threaten all of that. As someone who has been #TeamTami since the 90s, I want her to take time away.
In a confessional interview, Tami talked about Kesha saying: “She’s a thirty-something year old, and she’s still operating like a child.” Funny how sometimes the very thing that bothers us, is the thing we most struggle with.
I will be rooting for Tami to get the peace she rightfully deserves, but I can’t and won’t co-sign B.S.