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Shirley Williams Once Won the Now Black Woman Award — Who Was Wendy Williams' Mom?

Manuela Cardiga
Dec 10, 2020
10:30 A.M.

Talk show host Wendy Williams sadly announced the passing of her mother Shirley Williams on December 7, 2020.

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Many weeks after her passing, Wendy Williams shared the heartbreaking news of her mother's death with the studio audience of "The Wendy Williams Show."

Wendy revealed that Shirley Williams had died peacefully and opened up about her relationship with her mother and how it had changed over the years.

Wendy Williams, Shirley Williams, Thomas Williams Sr., visit The Empire State Building in 2017 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

Wendy Williams, Shirley Williams, Thomas Williams Sr., visit The Empire State Building in 2017 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

THE SAD NEWS

On December 7, the talk show host opened her Hot Topics segment by revealing to her audience that her mother Shirley had passed away "a long time ago."

Wearing a somber black satin coat-dress with wide lapels and holding her signature mug, Wendy addressed her stunned studio audience sadly but without tears.

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Wendy did not share what her mother's cause of death had been but did reveal that Shirley had not suffered.

 Wendy Williams attends Wendy Digital Event in 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia | Source: Getty Images

Wendy Williams attends Wendy Digital Event in 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia | Source: Getty Images

INSPIRATION

Wendy's announcement was a response to a rumor that had been in circulation that Shirley had passed away. The talk show host spoke warmly about her mother's strength and achievements.

The college-educated Shirley had been a teacher and extremely active in the African American community. In1988, the non-profit org, The Drifters, Inc., presented her with their "Now Black Woman" award.

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BEST FRIEND

Wendy did not share what her mother's cause of death had been but did reveal that Shirley had not suffered and had passed away surrounded by her loving family.

A determinedly dry-eyed Wendy went on to tell the audience that her relationship with her mother had deepened and strengthened over the years and that they had become best-friends, like giggly teenage girls.

DEALING WITH GRIEF

Wendy told her viewers that she remained dry-eyed by a tremendous effort of will and doing all her crying in private. She is especially concerned about not burdening her son, Kevin Hunter Jr., 20.

Wendy spoke about Shirley's loss as the first death in her son's life and that she wants him to be able to process it without worrying about her or his grandfather.

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A LEGACY OF LOVE

Mother-of-three Shirley was 85 at the time of her death, and Wendy revealed that her mother is the first thing she thinks about and a constant presence in her life despite her passing.

The talk show host spoke movingly about Shirley's legacy of love and said that her father, Thomas Williams Sr., was "alright." Wendy asked her studio audience to leave vacant her parents' seats as a gesture of respect.

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