Tonya Lee Williams: “Maria Wants To Get That Black Storyline Up and Pumping Again”

Well roll my neck and call me "Sassy!" The Young and the Restless’ Tonya Lee Williams spoke with the blog TV Watercooler regarding her upcoming projects, and the subject of her soap stomping grounds came up. The actress was asked about the lack of diversity Y&R has these days. 
That’s great because fans have been worried. Your film festival celebrates diversity whereas Y&R isn’t so diverse anymore.
No. And you know, [head writer Maria Bell], addressed it with me. She said “I want to get that black storyline up and pumping again."

To hear what Williams says the late Bill Bell’s archetype for Malcolm was and more click here.


24 Responses

  1. Profile photo of Llanview76

    "…That black storyline up and pumping…" What now, are stories that explore people of different color and cultural background classified along the lines with "…that baby-switching storyline…" or "that long lost twin storyline…", etc., Of course it was taken out of context, but it just sort of sounds funny to say yeah I want to get "…that black storyline"…when really, isn’t it just about writing for people basically what it comes down to?


  2. Profile photo of brimike

    I am absolutely positive that what she really meant was "the Winters storyline" and I’m also absolutely positive that none of these people think before they say something that ends up in print. It’s like they all took lessons from Joe Biden. Heart may be in the right place, but STOP TALKING. Sheesh.

  3. Profile photo of alstonboy4315

    Y&R, for the most part, was the most racially diverse soap of the 90s!!!

    Anyone who remembers how Y&R was during William Bell Sr’s tenure, especially around 1992-2000 will recall that they brought Dru and Olivia’s parents to town, and they proceeded to try to cause problems in their daughter’s lives, and then Malcolm was introduced in 1994, followed by Keisha, who ended up being HIV positive, and that carried a large amount of story. Followed by Dru and Neil’s tug of war over having more children….then Malcolm "died" and Neil became an alcoholic. And that leads us to 2007 when they made the DUMBEST decision known to man by killing off Drucilla Winters!!!

    I was troubled by the fact that Miguel, Joanie and a large portion of the Hispanic characters were used as "housekeeping" staff, but many shows didn’t even acknowledge the presence of Hispanics at all, except for being used as day players.

    I know that Vicki wanted to go on the road to promote her memoirs, but I really feel that they should have accomodated her request to be a part of the writing staff!!

    The black storylines on Y&R were pretty prevalent throughout the 90s (most of it, anyway), and with all those black characters sitting around TWIDDLING their thumbs, I see no logical reason why there shouldn’t be more going on than them sitting around rubbing Lily’s shoulders and being shoulders for her to cry on!!!

    As far as stereotypes and cliches, I would rather have that than nothing at all. Y&R doesn’t the luxury of being able to PRETEND that their black characters don’t exist. They need to step up to the plate.

    The only thing that I liked about the LML era was that she didn’t forget the black characters. If Maria, Hogan and Paul could create interesting stories centered around Neil, Malcolm, Olivia and Lily that DON’T involve her cancer, this show might be able to recapture it’s black audience that has left the show for greener (and more diverse!) pastures!!!!!

  4. Profile photo of Ryan-Scott

    The beauty of when Bill Bell wrote the black storylines on Y&R was that they were color-blind types of stories.
    The black characters were written as people….the color of their skin had no bearing on their stories. That was always a joy.
    Many writers can’t do that.

  5. Profile photo of dkp

    "That black storyline up and pumping?" Can’t it just be storylines for characters who are black? Why does it have to be a "black story"? 

  6. Profile photo of soapfan8

    by up and pumpin Maria means on screen on welfare days and and boring as hell how funny that litterally neil olivia and malcome just came on near the 15th coincidence or not its shameful anyway and wow malcome has a secret maybe he had a boring child that lilli could have a sibling to be boring with and if they dare do what my conspiracy side thinks the casting for new sassy actress is drucilla with bandages plastic surgury so she looks different hmph recast not plastic i would be pissed so malcome found her and helping her recoperate amc greenlee and patty lauren dobble agnger happened couldnt be too fartfetched it would be s shame is they ever dare recast drucilla

  7. Profile photo of alstonboy4315

    If this "Simone" character is really Drucilla with a new face "recovering" from that fall over the cliff, I will raise holy hell!!! They can bring on a new "sassy and opinionated" black female character, but there’s only one Vicki Rowell!! This is just a sad plagarism of an iconic character, and I am not feeling it!!!

  8. Profile photo of kcgeban

    brimike, I so agree with you. And I’ll add that she seems to have been drinking the MAB Kool Aid…..I’m an African- American long-time fan of the show who is not necessarily a fan of the Winters clan. I think their story has been told. What not phase them out and bring in new dynamic black characters?  The girl who plays Lily, ex-Malcolm, new Malcolm….none of them is exactly up there in his/her acting ability, despite ex-Malcolm’s prettiness.  Having said that, I’m not for quota casting for its own sake. Black, White, Latino or Asian….I just want to see good acting in good storylines. 

  9. Profile photo of othell

     Someone should stop Maria and her team from writing the ridiculous, idiotic storylines on this show that just make no sense at all!  It seems that the fans are smarter than the actors involved in these stupid scripts for  I cannot understand why Tonya Lee Williams is defending this lifeless joke that has become the Winters storyline.  I suppose the actors have to defend the show, or be shown the door.  But there are a few actors on this show with power and important connections, and most of us know who they are;  it looks like they would have the smarts and the nerve to stand up to Maria and say "I AM AS MAD AS H*** AND I AM NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!"   I am just glad that I have a new job that prevents me from watching the soap anymore– it makes the withdrawal process much less painful.  I am sad to say that I do not miss it, or do I have any interest in watching it on-line.

  10. Profile photo of othell

     If this Simone is Dru, I think it could possibly be Maria’s way of ruining the Drucilla character, to make us sorry we ever asked to have her back.  I would bet that Victoria Rowell would be glad not to be back on this sad excuse for a soap,  the sinking S.S.Y&R, going down faster than the speed of light.

  11. Profile photo of appleridge

    I Think Simonwe will turn out to be Dru with Amnesia and malcolm has been keeping her hidden

    Look That Story is Gonna suck and No offense To tonya But shes on like 2-3 episodes every 3 months thats not a good track record to get the story pumping

  12. Profile photo of alstonboy4315

    Wait a minute, I THINK I remember reading in the original character description somewhere that this new Simone character is supposed to be 30-something (mid 30s, I believe)……???? That means that she can’t possibly be Dru. Dru is many things, but "30-something" ain’t one of them………..LOL!!! Let’s just keep it real!! Drucilla is at LEAST in her 40s!!!!!!(Vicki Rowell is 50!!!)

    Hell, who am I kidding??? I am expecting the same writers that cast Darius McCrary, who is only 11 years OLDER than Christel Khalil, to honor the AGE of these characters??? Hell, it would not surprise me at all if they cast some 35-year old to play Lily’s mom…………

  13. Profile photo of thecourt99

     that "black storyline" huh? Therein lies the problem. She can’t just write a storyline for people of any color. There has to be a separate black one…..and oh by the way…she has mentioned before in interviews that she wants more emphasis on these stories…and nothing has happened. I don’t trust her anymore. Hell…she might change her mind since TLW decided to share what she said…geesh.

    And FYI – I am sick of MAB going back to the original bible, because she invalidates everything that I have seen on screen. I am supposed to forget the growth that Malcolm had before he left the last time? I am supposed to forget that he was a reliable father to Nate and was once married to Olivia? All so they can revert him to his shady origins? What a waste.

  14. Profile photo of timepass

    MAB wants to get the "black storyline up and pumping again"?

    Fairly easy, bring back the only interresting character Dru played by VR and hire talented writer, not that bunch of yahoo she has right now! Any good writer tell good story without color.

    Grey Anatomy author said "I only  write stories", and she does a good job! The actor bring the nuances.

    The fact that she called boring Olivia is quite telling, boy she knows and understand nothing about Y&R!

  15. Profile photo of yojoromo4469

    If Maria Bell plans to have any kind of a decent story line for anyone of any color,  then she would have to replace herself and find someone that can actually produce a different story than the garbage they are showing on my favorite all time soap opera.  She would also, have to get rid of a lot of the non talented hacks like Mac and Malcom and Daisy.  There is not one decent actor combined between the 3 of them and the stories are just so rehashed over and over and over.

  16. Profile photo of Grimm

     Much too much attention is being paid to the semantics of the phrase "that Black storyline" when I think we all agree with what Williams is saying.

  17. Profile photo of Pure_Diva

    MAB has been blowing smoke up people’s u-know-what’s for awhile now and has lost all credibility.  When she first came aboard, one of the things she outlined was trying to reassure "us" that the Winters were an integral part of the show and that she would be featuring them prominently.  Then, what did she do?  She promptly segragated them and had Devon sexing up the only other black woman on the show – his own aunt. 

    Yeah.  That’s some commitment for ya. 

    My biggest W-T-French Moment?  Why does she have to get the "black" story up and running?  Why can’t she write a well-balanced show that features the whole cast?  First it was all Billy & Chloe, All the Time.  Then it was the Patty Show… Then Adam Overload.  And, in between, there were overdoses of PeePaw Newman and his broad.  What was that?  The White Story?  Yeah.  That’s a problem.  MAB acts like "the black story" is a mini-series within the show, that’s not actually connected to the show itself.  This is insulting and crazy. 

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