Former Extra co-host Tanika Ray has opened up about her departure from the show. She said that she became aware that she would no longer be with the show just ahead of the producers’ decision to hire Billy Bush. That decision came after Mario Lopez announced in July he was leaving for Access Hollywood.
While speaking candidly with UrbanHollywood411, Ray said that Bush becoming the face of Extra is something that can happen “only in America.”
“For me, the hardest thing has been managing other people’s emotions about it. On my Instagram, people DM me, people are calling me, celebrities are calling me, publicists are calling me asking, ‘What’s going on?’ I’m like, ‘I’m not there anymore,’” she said.
“I think we live in a country where it’s been proven time and again, that privilege is real,” she continued, alluding to Bush’s previous scandal involving his fateful interview with then-Apprentice host Donald Trump, in which Trump spoke offensively about grabbing women’s body parts. “He can make a comeback. Whereas one of my co-hosts, A.J. Calloway, he was allegedly involved in some sexual scandal. It’s never been proven, but he will never work in TV again. But that’s America isn’t it? And once we understand the reality of it, we can move to changing that. But sure, [Bush] can get another chance. That’s sort of the world we live in.”
Calloway was recently embroiled in scandal after several women came forward to accuse him of sexual assault. Calloway left Extra in July.
Ray said the only regret she has about leaving Extra is that she won’t be able to promote the talent of African-American creators and icons.
“The thing that really is the most sad for me is that I held my community so hard. I rode for us every single day,” she said. “And with Black celebrities that may not have gone mainstream…I made sure to get them on our podium or our platform. I made sure to do incredible interview with them. That gives [producers] no choice but to put it in the show.”
Such is the case with the interview Ray did with Nipsey Hussle and Lauren London while on the Grammys red carpet this February. The interview was originally not shown in Extra‘s Grammy coverage, but the interview was later retrieved and went viral after his untimely death on March 31.
“This [interview] has been shared by Lauren. It has been shared by Nipsey’s fans because it was a beautiful moment of them sharing their love together, talking about the business, about the relationship, and had I not been there, they’re not going to get that,” said Ray. “There’s none of the people that are there now, who will know those types of people in our culture.”
You can watch the full video below:
Photo: Getty Images
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