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Amanda Seales acquired a reputation for being aggressive and difficult, but on a recent episode of former football tight end Shannon Sharpe’s podcast Club Shay Shay, the actress set the record straight. The 3-hour and 10-minute interview allowed the Smart Funny & Black creator to open up regarding her time on Insecure, her recent autism diagnosis, and how she deals with the labels the industry assigned to her.

*Editor’s note– Despite Seales saying, “I was just recently diagnosed (with Autism Spectrum Disorder),” a clip from an Instagram Live has resurfaced where the actress says she has not been clinically diagnosed with autism by a doctor. It is unclear if the live occurred before her diagnosis or if she self-diagnosed.

Seales contributed over 30 years to the entertainment industry. In 1993, she made her first movie appearance with a small role in Cop and a Half. The following year, she joined the cast of the Nickelodeon sitcom, My Brother and Me. She eventually landed a gig as the VJ of MTV2’s Sucker Free Countdown. But her most notable role came in 2016 when she joined season one of Insecure as Tiffany DuBois, the bougie homegirl to Issa Dee’s (played by Issa Rae) unique friend group, which included Molly Carter, played by Yvonne Orji, and Kelli, played by Natasha Rothwell.

Has Amanda Seales become the entertainment industry’s favorite villain?

For five seasons, fans watched the dynamic group of ladies from Insecure navigate the ups and downs of careers, relationships and friendships. As we witnessed the crumbling of the Issa and Molly empire play out onscreen, things seemed just as tumultuous behind the scenes. Rumors began to circulate, labeling Seales as problematic, defiant and challenging to work with—but we’ll come back to this later.

Seales embodies the passion of our greatest ancestors. But her strong voice, backed by her Master’s degree in African American studies with a concentration in Hip-Hop from Columbia University, villainized her as a militant, angry Black woman. When she used her platform to advocate for Black people and our rights, or simply shared her opinion on various topics, people found her delivery hard to digest because it was curt, direct and wrapped in passion—often mischaracterized as aggression.

Rumors of Seales being difficult to work with started before Insecure. In 2007, her short stint in the classic R&B group, Floetry, dissolved before she could thrive as Natalie Stewart’s replacement. Fans weren’t informed about the switch-up, so when Seales popped up on tour with Marsha Ambrosius, she was met with a disgruntled welcome. In an interview with The Breakfast Club, she explains that she felt unsupported as fans protested her position as the new member. She finished the tour but ultimately left the group because it wasn’t a good fit.

In 2019, Seales appeared as a guest host of the daytime talk show The Real. This felt like a great fit for the actress because it provided her the space to voice her opinions and dissect current events in pop culture. Seales became a permanent co-host in 2020, but six months later she left the show because she felt stifled.

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“It doesn’t feel good to my soul to be at a place where I can not speak to my people the way they need to be spoken to,” she said in an Instagram Live video. “And where the people that are speaking to me in despairing ways are not being handled.”

She continued, “I’m not at a space where, as a full black woman, I can have my voice and my co-workers also have their voices, and where the people at the top are not respecting the necessity for black voices to be at the top, too.”

Amanda Seales’ vulnerable side shines bright in the Club Shay Shay interview

The world has become comfortable with silencing Black voices, specifically ones who aren’t fearful of repercussions. Seales’ revolutionary spirit makes people uncomfortable, and her innate instinct to stand up for what she believes in, even if she is standing alone, is how she’s earned the title of being challenging. In her Club Shay Shay interview, we see a different side of the Insecure actress, who is notoriously misunderstood due to her passion, delivery and authenticity. 

I learned so much about the author, actress, media personality, podcaster, poet, advocate and comedian; particularly her patience, exemplified during the moments when Sharpe could not fully understand Seales’ perspective or empathize with her experience. Even in the seemingly safe space provided for her to clear the air, the actress handled miscommunications with grace and patience. She proves that no matter your tone, people may have already committed to misunderstanding you.

If you have 3 hours and 10 minutes to spare, you can catch the full interview here. If not, here are five things we learned from Amanda Seales’ interview with Shannon Sharpe.

5 Things We Learned About Amanda Seales’ Club Shay Shay Interview

5 Things We Learned About Amanda Seales’ ‘Club Shay Shay’ Interview  was originally published on hellobeautiful.com

1. Amanda Seales reveals the truth behind the drama on ‘Insecure.’

Circling back to the Insecure drama, Seales reveals the work environment was a mental and emotional hazard because of the one-sided tension between herself and Issa Rae’s publicist, Vanessa Anderson. The actress felt the silent beef brewing, but things came to a head when she was physically removed from a Black Emmys party in 2019.

During the interview, Seales expressed her weariness in defending Rae’s reputation, understanding the significance of her role in Black culture. However, she was disheartened to find that after the party incident, Rae made little effort to mend the rift between Seales and Anderson. Despite suggesting a conversation, Rae remained steadfast in her decision to stay out of the conflict. 

Seales and Anderson discussed the incident, where the publicist admitted she did not like the actress, which was why she had her removed from the party. She also added Rae had nothing to do with the ordeal. Seales says that incident sparked a smear campaign against her, where Anderson told people that she was mean on set and difficult to work with. With the rumors in full circulation, Seales felt the sting as it started to affect her professionally and emotionally. Not only was she being iced out in the industry, but the tension spilled over while filming the show.

After another conversation with Rae, Seales implored her to intervene and ask her publicist to stop bashing her. Rae obliged and spoke to Anderson on her behalf. 

2. Amanda Seales reveals she was recently diagnosed as Autistic.

Amanda Seales opened up about her recent Autism diagnosis and how it’s helped her understand her behaviors and how she shows up in life. “Your brain functions in a different way. So you’re neurodivergent, and you also have certain tendencies that are considered outside of what the neurotypical way of thinking is. And a lot of times you can present in a manner that people misrepresent – which is the story of my life,” she explains.

Seales says heard the claims that she’s mean, difficult and unlikeable before, but her diagnosis offers a new perspective. In her heart she knew she didn’t hold those qualities, but her tone caused people to view her negatively. “I don’t cheat people. I don’t lie to people. I don’t stab people in the back. I don’t operate in mendacity. I am not duplicitous,” she says. “I don’t do none of this sh-t, but I have a certain tone about how I speak. And that makes people feel I’m mean because something about the tone I speak in doesn’t make them feel a certain way,” she continues.

In this clip, Seales champions the Black women who intervened and encouraged her to get tested for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

*Editor’s note– Despite Seales saying “I was just recently diagnosed,” a clip from an Instagram Live has resurfaced where the actress says she has not been clinically diagnosed with autism by a doctor. It is unclear if the live was done before her diagnosis or if she self-diagnosed. 

3. Hate it or love it, Amanda Seales is committed to her authenticity.

Seales finds life much easier to stand firm in her thoughts and beliefs, despite the public repercussions it has caused her. For the actress, it is much easier to be authentic than to conform to how society says she should act. 

“The person I am is beautiful because you don’t ever have to guess,” she tells Sharpe. “People like me are a blessing.”

4. Things are NOT cool between Marsha Ambrosius and Amanda Seales.

Both Marsha Ambrosius and Seales discussed the actress’s short run as a member of Floetry. But in her interview with Sharpe, the podcast host says she curved Ambrosius’ attempt to hug her at a recent Usher concert. 

“I actually saw her at Usher’s show recently, and she went to hug me, and I was like, ‘Nah, I’m good.'”

“Come on, you didn’t do that!” Sharpe exclaims. “Don’t be petty la’belle,” he continues.

“How is that petty?” she asks.

“After all them years?” Sharpe questions.

“Yea, after all them years. What am I hugging her for? That’s not my peoples,” she answers. “I’m not petty; I’m not phony. I’m not gonna hug people who are not my people.”

5. Amanda Seales says Black media gave her a nervous breakdown.

Seales took to Instagram a few weeks back, expressing her disappointment in the lack of inclusion within Black media. She explained that she doesn’t receive invitations to high-profile events that boast women’s empowerment or award shows that focus on Black talent. As someone who uses her voice to advocate for her community, she felt this was disheartening. 

The video birthed tons of think-pieces across Black media on Seales’ role in her seemingly undigestible personality. The actress saw the articles and voiced her disappointment in the publications’ lack of integrity and responsibility, citing that the articles are based on tweets from the internet and not valid sources that have documented experiences with the actress.

At this point, Seales grew tired of defending herself against people who appeared committed to misunderstanding her. During the interview, she admits the articles had a negative impact on her mental and emotional health. 

“You start to think to yourself, if this is what it’s like for me to be myself, then maybe I shouldn’t be here,” she says.