Remember When TLC’s T-Boz Got Fired By Donald Trump on Celebrity Apprentice?
TLC spoke to UK’s Channel 4 News in a recently aired interview and the results weren’t great. Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas unfortunately pled “all lives matter” when hit with the simple yet deceptive question of “What do you think about Black Lives Matter?” Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins also tripped up when she said she simply didn’t care about Donald Trump after being asked “What’s it like for you both being black woman in America in the age of Donald Trump?”—instead arguing that God is her president. Watkins’ comments also offered a piece of forgotten history: “I worked on Celebrity Apprentice when he wasn’t president, and I wasn’t too fond of him then.”
The year was 2009, when Donald Trump was still an easily ignored dolt and Parks and Recreation was about to premiere its spotty first season. Celebrity Apprentice was in the midst of its second season, which featured the late Joan Rivers (the eventual winner), Brian McKnight, Khloe Kardashian, Dennis Rodman, and, of course, T-Boz. Like the previous season, this one had the added bonus of giving its proceeds to a charity of the contestants’ choosing. A sickle-cell anemic herself, T-Boz chose to represent Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia.
But the Trump worldview doesn’t really award goodwill, which is something T-Boz learned the hard way. In episode six, the contestants were tasked with making a humorous but family-friendly commercial for a brand of detergent. Both teams failed on the latter requirement and ended up in Trump’s “boardroom,” which was the show’s symbolic chopping block. Melissa Rivers was in Trump’s crosshairs because she was one of the task’s project managers. However, his attention turned to T-Boz, because she wanted to defend Rivers from a possible termination by going to the boardroom with her. Bradford Cohen did a similar gesture during The Apprentice’s second season and ended up getting fired for it. Trump cited that case as T-Boz got hit with the same fate, with our now current president literally saying the following words: “Tionne, you volunteered to come back, you’re fired. I have great respect for you—I love your voice. Never volunteer for an execution.”
It does also seem possible, in watching the clip, to discern that T-Boz was indeed not “too fond” of Trump while filiming the Celebrity Apprentice. She weakly defended her case, but mainly responded with the lackadaisical sort of “wow” that conveys relief dressed up as frustration. Plus, she did end up raising $20,000 for her charity. Nonetheless, T-Boz and James Comey do at least have something in common now.