Amber Rose has been keeping pretty quiet since her stint on last season of Dancing with the Stars. It ended in her new relationship with professional dancer Val Chmerkovskiy, which ended a few months later. She and Wiz Khalifa are still setting a really high standard for co-parenting with their son Sebastian. Her Loveline with Amber Rose podcast is still going strong and according to the website, planning for her 2017 Slut Walk is underway. However, there has been no word on the project that I was most excited about, The Amber Rose Show.
The model’s VH1 talk show was produced by Stage 29 Productions and Dr. Phil, of all people. In an official statement after the show was announced, Rose billed it as a program that would “redefine late night.” And let’s be honest, the late-night circuit could use a little bit more definition. At this point, it is a shining example of what’s wrong with the entertainment industry: It’s almost exclusively white and male. In dark suits and gelled hair, traditional late-night hosts have stood as the gatekeepers of American mainstream pop culture and politics, deciding who and what is worthy of our attention.
Enter Rose, in a red bodycon dress with designs etched into her blonde buzz-cut, helming a show about sex and relationships with a celebrity spin. The show banked on Rose’s own celebrity for its success. She made waves with her staunch rejection of slut-shaming. And despite her presumed objections, her relational proximity to the Kardashians via Kanye West is a thing. Everything about The Amber Rose Show was a reflection of this. Her set was colorful and so were her outfits. Instead of A-list actresses, Rose would ask rappers and models questions about their love lives. It was Dr. Ruth meets hip-hop Instagram meets celebrity feminism. And I was here for it.
So where’d it go? At this point, VH1 has yet to release an official verdict on whether or not The Amber Rose show will be renewed for a second season. I reached out to the network for a comment and have yet to receive a response. But I have some theories about why we may have to stick to Snapchat if we want to watch Rose. With a delayed premiere and a weekly Friday night time slot, The Amber Rose Show wasn’t put in a position to rake in the same viewership as Kimmel and Fallon.
Rose’s brand of feminism also wasn’t really up to the task of keeping a late-night show afloat. First, the majority of her guests were men. When operating on a platform of women’s empowerment, it might help to have a show that is less about discussing women’s sexuality with men and instead letting women discuss it amongst each other. While Rose’s show was on the air, the 2016 election was ramping up to full speed. It changed the public conversation about women and feminism from representation and personal liberation to reproductive health care and equal pay. It was the conscious uncoupling of pop culture and feminism that put a show like Rose’s in limbo.
But I still have hope. I think with more women guests and co-host who could add some political nuance (hi Janet Mock), The Amber Rose Show could rise again.