Thursday, December 2, 2021

R&B Singer Christopher Williams Talks ‘UnSung’ Spotlight, Halle Berry and Destroying Record Label [EUR Exclusive]

*TV One’s “UnSung” will take a deep dive into the early career of R&B singer and actor Christopher Williams, who emerged during the late 1980s with hits such as “Talk To Myself,” “Promises,” and “I’m Dreamin” from the cult classic film, “New Jack City.”

The nephew of jazz icon Ella Fitzgerald and the cousin of singer Al B Sure, Williams was known for his new jack swagger and pretty boy look, and baritone vocals that made him a fan favorite with the ladies. But scandals and baby mama drama with his ex, actress Stacey Dash, would derail his career.

Williams’ success hit a snag with an alleged rape charge and an arrest for child support, and he would find himself in a dark place as he struggled to manage his personal life while in the spotlight. Find out what led to his breaking point and where he is today on this revealing episode of “UnSung”.

We caught up with the Bronx native to dish about the episode, and he addressed rumors that he busted Halle Berry eardrum during their relationship back in the day. It was later assumed that Wesley Snipes was the ex who abused her. Peep what Christopher had to say about it below. 

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Recalling the highs and lows of your career for this episode of UNSUNG, was it therapeutic in any way?

I think it was, and it was also good to not feel like I was snitching. I was just being honest and I hope I didn’t hurt anybody.

In the past, when they said I broke Halle’s eardrum or I’ve been a drug addict, none of that stuff was true. It was nice to reveal it and have it fact-checked and to see that time reveals everything. Unfortunately, as a human race, we exalt negativity. We exalt people who worship deities and worship money — and money’s great. Everybody loves money. I love money. You need money to exist in this world but there’s a level that I don’t love it. In this business, you don’t see those kind of moral guidelines and usually the people who have them don’t win in this business.

There’s a reason why you have people saying… ‘Puffy wants to bring back real music.’ Okay, well… after 30 years of pillaging the village and stealing and not paying artists; whether you’re The Lox, or Faith or Craig Mack — and I’m not singling [P. Diddy] out. It is the nature in which this business was predicated on. And it’s not a Black thing. People think it’s just with us. No! We just get the grunt of it.

Just like Harvey Weinstein. He’s a monster too. Why isn’t he on Oprah’s show? Why is the most powerful man in Hollywood not on the biggest platform explaining why he was a monster? But yet it’s easy to bring the brother Robert Kelly on that platform, who also did some things that are monstrous unfortunately. I love Rob. I don’t know Harvey Weinstein, but it goes to show, though we’ve come a long way, we still got a long way to go.

Williams calls the next phase of his life, “Chapter 2,” which finds him producing music, working on films and “using whatever platform God gives me to be a blessing to somebody who needs a blessing,” he tells us. 

“I everyday try to wake up and say ‘Chris, this is just today’s circumstances. Tell your circumstances how great God is. Stop telling God about your circumstances,'” he added. 

christopher williams

This episode of UNSUNG explores the effects that the scandals had on your career, like the Halle Berry/Wesley Snipes controversy and the time you destroyed the offices at your record label (see clip above). Was it important for you to clear up some of the rumors and misconceptions that have clouded your career? 

I did not break Halle’s eardrum. I hope that got cleared up and I didn’t clear it up to hurt Wesley (Snipes). I spoke because I don’t want to leave things lingering. I did not do it. Wesley does action movies, I’m a real life action hero. You tell Wes and Halle to come sit in a room with me and see who’s shuddering, and the truth will come out. I’ve been doing this 30 years. I go to interviews and people want to spend 20 minutes asking me about Stacey and Halle and I’ll be like, ‘With all due respect, you’re a media person, when you get the chance to interview them, ask them about me. Ask them what was it like to spend a day or a night with me, and maybe you’ll get a different perspective.’ I know for certain Halle will be like, ‘Chris never touched my eardrum.’ And to this day, me and Halle and super cool. I just miss the window in time when she was really in love with me and I was in love with her but I was not focused on marriage, partly because I was signed to a record label who was like, ‘ You are for the ladies. We don’t even hear your voice.’ 

As a veteran, are there any words of advice you can give to young artists in the industry or for the up-and-coming artists who are already in the industry? 

Stay optimistic and keep that love for it in your heart because once you get bitter about it, you’re not going to make good decisions. I’ve been in that place before. It’s not a good place. It’s like a divorce from something you love. Like, I love music so much and then I divorced it. I remember a friend who I went to school with had seen me later on and said ‘It sucks that you let them take that away from you. You’re letting them take the best parts of you.’ And that’s when I took my first theater job. I stopped thinking, ‘Well, if I take this play they’re going to think I’m doing the Chitlin’ Circuit.’ And then I started saying, ‘Who cares what they say. They talked about Jesus, so let them talk.’ 

This episode also explains why you smashed up the offices at Uptown Records

I did wreck Uptown, because I was mad then, and I got out of my deal and I don’t owe any of them anything. People don’t realize, I got Teddy Riley out of his deal. I got Petra out of her deal. I got Kenny G and Grace Jones out of their deals, cause I found out how to amend record contracts through Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 from a jailhouse attorney. From a brother I was ministering to in jail and he brought up these clauses and I was like, ‘wow, I can reorganize — that means I’m void of this contract.’

So I shot New Jack City while I was voiding all my contract because my first deal was with a great guy, David Geffen but I was like, ‘They don’t know who I am.’ I walked in the office and Bobby Brown was hot then, so they was like, ‘Okay, we got somebody that’s gonna cut your hair like Gumby, we’re going to get you the Genie pants and you’re going to be light skin Bobbi brown.’ I was like okay, there’s one problem, I can’t dance. And there’s a second problem, we already got Bobby Brown. But they gave me a check for $5ok, told me to shut up, told my manager that if he doesn’t cooperate they were going to drop my project, and they gave me the song Talk To Myself, which was literally My Prerogative, with the words changed. And I had to swallow that apple as a singer and sing that stupid  song. That’s why when Promises came out I was like, ‘Thank you, God. Finally a Christopher Williams song.’ And it wasn’t the biggest song in the world. I was just happy that people recognized my voice. What little I had to offer, it was true. The problem is, no record company ever got behind me and saw my worth.

What do you hope viewers take away from this episode?

People say all the time, ‘Who are you?’ And I’m all like, out of all the things that I am, and all the things I pray to be, if you look into my heart. I’m really just a believer. All my faults, my womanizing, all the stuff I did in my 20’s, all the stuff I’m struggling with right now… that’s who I am, and nobody can change that.

Now people say, ‘oh he’s old, he don’t look like he did when he was young.’ I’m so glad, so now you can stop looking at me and god willing, listen to me. Cause I’ve never thought there was anything any more special about me than any other brother. 

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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