Wendy Williams offered her a publishing deal with Hunter Publishing in conjunction with Kensington Books

By Natalie Stone
April 19, 2019 02:56 PM
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Wendy Williams is helping Dee Barnes get back on her feet.

Nearly a month after the veteran hip-hop journalist and rapper launched a GoFundMe fundraiser in an effort to avoid being evicted from her home, Williams surprised Barnes with a significant monetary gift.

On Thursday’s episode of The Wendy Williams Show, Barnes sat down with Williams, discussing her current financial state after opening up about Dr. Dre’s physical assault against her nearly 30 years ago.

“I wanted to put it out there because I knew it was going to get out there eventually. I had several jobs I couldn’t keep. I couldn’t keep the rent up. There was stuff that I was trying to do on the side, freelancing that wasn’t coming through,” Barnes said about why she started the GoFundMe.

In the fundraiser’s information section, she wrote, “Standing in our own truth not the definitions or the expectations is powerful, and this is my TRUTH … Yes, I did post the link to my PayPal, CashApp and GooglePay accounts asking for help because I am in the process of being evicted.”

“This page was created as an emergency fund to stop the process and the subsequent legal fees,” explained Barnes, who is known for having been part of the hip-hop duo Body & Soul, who released their debut single in 1989, as well as hosting hip-hop show Pump It Up! and, earlier, a radio show on KDAY.

During the episode, Barnes said she did what she could to pay the bills, including working at “several retail places” and “ringing people up” when Straight Outta Compton was in theaters. Dr. Dre was portrayed in the 2015 film and faced backlash for allegations of physical abuse. (In 1990, Barnes was physically assaulted by Dr. Dre at a party. She later sued Dre, which was settled out of court. Dre pleaded no contest to misdemeanor battery in the attack. He has since apologized.)

“They had no idea that I was ringing them up and they were talking about the subject and I was like, ‘Uh, will that be cash or credit card?’ ” said Barnes.

Although Barnes said that she asked for $5,000 because she “wanted to stop the eviction,” she admitted, “it didn’t happen.”

Dee Barnes and Wendy Williams
Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic; Santiago Felipe/Getty

Thankfully, though, the publicity surrounding her fundraiser — including Williams’ advocacy — helped raise money for Barnes.

HipHopDX, which put it out on their website, and you speaking about it, that affected it,” said Barnes. “The money went up … It went up to $30,000 and then I closed it off.”

Unfortunately, though, Barnes said that she and her youngest daughter still don’t have an apartment of their own. “I’m staying [at a] friend’s house and I’ve stayed in other places, like Airbnb or whatever until I find a place,” said Barnes, who added, “My youngest daughter is affected by it.”

At that, Williams, 54, surprised Barnes with a $15,000 gift — and said that she would publish her upcoming book.

“We’ve got these friends everybody. Our friends at HotelPlanner.com and they have this service where they help people find temporary and long-term housing. So to help you and your daughter, Dee, get back on your feet, they and we are giving you $15,000 towards a place to live,” said Williams. “And I honestly believe — and I know that you’re nervous to be here and there’s part of your story I’m kind of mad at you that you didn’t tell it — but we only have a certain amount of time before we get cut off. Are you writing a book?” asked Williams before Barnes confirmed, “Yes I am” and is hoping the book will be “out this year.”

Williams then surprised Barnes by giving her a publishing deal with Hunter Publishing in conjunction with Kensington Books: “I would like to publish your book and then have you back on the show once it’s published and then I would also like to produce the movie. I would like to produce the movie of the book.”

Dee Barnes
Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

The generous gifts come at a trying time for Williams, who is in the middle of a very public divorce from husband and manager Kevin Hunter.

Last week, Williams filed for divorce after two decades of marriage, a source confirmed to PEOPLE.

“Thank you to everyone for respecting the family’s privacy during this time. Kevin is supportive of Wendy and they are working through this process together,” the personal representative for Williams told PEOPLE in a statement. “No additional comment will be provided at this time.”

A representative for her show released the following statement: “Wendy and her family have been a part of Debmar-Mercury for over 10 years,. We respect their privacy regarding personal matters. As always, we remain committed to bringing an entertaining and topical show to our viewers.”

Also on Thursday, a spokesperson for The Wendy Williams Show confirmed to PEOPLE that Hunter will no longer executive produce Williams’ daily talk show. Hunter has held an executive producer title for the showsince it debuted in 2008 and the two also share a production company, Wendy Williams Productions.

“Kevin Hunter is no longer an Executive Producer on the Wendy Williams Show. Debmar-Mercury wishes him well in his future endeavors,” said the spokesperson.

Hunter allegedly fathered a child with his mistress.

On Tuesday, Hunter broke his silence on the split in a statement to PEOPLE, admitting he was “not proud of my recent actions” and apologizing “to my wife, my family and her amazing fans.”

“I am going through a time of self-reflection and am trying to right some wrongs,” he said. “No matter what the outcome is or what the future holds, we are still The Hunter Family and I will continue to work with and fully support my wife in this business and through any and all obstacles she may face living her new life of sobriety, while I also work on mine.”

The Wendy Williams Show airs weekdays (check local listings).