On a Thursday night, rapper Emmanuel Williams is sitting at home watching Kellyanne Conway on CNN and laughing.
The 2016 election turned Williams from an entertainment junkie into a news junkie. “This last election cycle, they made the news like TV,” he said.
People are often surprised that he knows so much about politics. He didn’t graduate from college, he said. But, “I read a lot.”
When Omarosa Manigault Newman’s new book, “Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House,” came out, Williams used his lunch break from his job in customer service to run to Barnes & Noble and buy it.
“Oh my god…,” he says, like a best friend about to dish out some juicy gossip. “This is a page turner like a mother[expletive]…”
He proceeds to read the book’s prologue, offering commentary where appropriate. Analyzing White House chief of staff John Kelly’s firing of Newman in the White House situation room, he compares it with a police interrogation.
So he’s kept going, reading more excerpts of the book, like a NSFW version of Audible.
With the views has come publicity: A radio station in Washington played a sample of one of his videos, bleeping out the curse words that pepper his speech. NPR has been interviewing him for an upcoming show.
Even Newman herself has caught wind of the videos.
“Omarosa commented,” Williams said. “From what I’ve been told, she really wants to meet me. I know she does like what I’ve been doing.”
Newman has good reason to like the videos: Williams said he’s heard from viewers who bought her book after watching his series, and are now giving her a second chance after having written her off for years.
He’s most gratified when viewers comment to say they’ve learned something from his videos, and he hopes they can help people connect with what’s happening in the midst of a relentless news cycle. He’s planning on launching a politics and culture podcast next month called “Secretary of Shade.”