Rickey Smiley clears air with Ebony Steele over 2014 firing

Ebony Steele twitter

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Two years ago, Rickey Smiley dropped loyal sidekick Ebony Steele from his popular Atlanta-based morning show with nary an explanation.

She felt blindsided. Smiley received a lot of flak.

On his TV One reality show “Rickey Smiley For Real” that aired this week and was filmed a few weeks back, Smiley met with Steele and tried to clear the air.

UPDATE: Smiley was upset that I used the adjective “abrupt” before the word “firing” on my Twitter headline. He first wrote: “ you are very freekin negative and put a negative spin on everything. People like you keep people beefing.” Then he added “ I see you didn’t mention the fact that I raised two boys who’s father was killed. Too positive huh?” This was then followed by:  stop being messy and telling lies Rodney!! Using untrue terms like abrupt firing. Bs.” Then he blocked me from Twitter. 

I did have one defender:

https://twitter.com/ChefBing72/status/743415741127528448

After Steele’s mother died in April, Smiley reached out to her. “He was crazy about my mother,” Steele said in an interview. “He came to her service. That helped soften things between us. Our hearts were in the same place. At that moment, common ground was there to start a dialogue.”

Steele had no problem doing a rapprochement on his TV show. “I’m in the industry,” Steele said. “I know he was sincere. I felt he was sincere. The conversations off camera were consistent with what he said on camera.”

“Time,” she noted, “heals everything. He might not have been able to say what he did a year ago. I might not have been able to receive it a year ago.”

On the show, Smiley told her: “I have been trying to figure out how can I air this out. What can we do to build together?”

Steele: “You’re the only platonic friend I must tell you I’ve ever had that broke my heart.”

Smiley: “From the bottom of my heart, I sincerely apologize.”

Steele: “You don’t have to say anymore because I knew you may have been going through something… Whatever it was, it was your show. For whatever reason, you didn’t feel I needed to be there at that time. I had to accept and understand that. I also have to remember you were the dude who helped me and put me on. What hurt me the most I think was that I felt like you left me. I never stopped loving you.”

Smiley: “Same here. It’s one day at a time trying to right every wrong. I’m not perfect. I apologize for everything.”

Steele: “You don’t ever have to say that again.”

Smiley: “I know your heart.”

Steele: “There’s a difference between happiness and joy. I realized that the seven eight years we were on radio brought me happiness. But the 15 plus years we were as friends brought me joy. When you have joy, you can’t take that back. That was the what was so frustrating. You took my best friend way from me. You took that away from me.”

 

After some down time, Steele has found career momentum. She has joined an Atlanta-based weekly syndicated talk show called “Coffee With America” along with Sasha Rionda of CNNI and CNN Espanol. It airs on Fox 5 in Atlanta at 5:30 a.m. Saturdays.

And she is joining a new afternoon syndicated radio show out of Dallas with comic Rudy Rush called “Afternoon Rush,” replacing “The Doug Banks Show.” (Banks passed suddenly in April.) The afternoon show is not heard on Atlanta radio.

The video below of the scene between Smiley and Steele embeds poorly on WordPress so you only can see the top half of their heads. No idea why. But you can hear what they say.

 

 

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