Drew Barrymore Under Fire for ‘Momala’ Reference to Vice President Harris

In a column published Thursday, New York Times columnist Charles Blow criticized talk show host Drew Barrymore for what he perceived as disrespect towards Vice President Kamala Harris during a recent interview, particularly for referring to Harris as “Momala.”

During Barrymore’s interview with the vice president, she remarked, “We need you to be Momala of the country,” referencing how Harris’s stepchildren affectionately call her. The audience responded with cheers to Barrymore’s comment.

Blow acknowledged that he didn’t believe Barrymore intended harm but argued that even seemingly gentle stereotyping could be harmful. He emphasized the importance of understanding why such comments might be offensive to others.

Blow accused Barrymore of disrespecting Harris despite her positive intentions, suggesting that Barrymore’s admiration for Harris exhibited “historical blindness.”

Blow referenced stereotypes faced by Black women, particularly that of the mammy figure, and asserted that Harris deserved a separation between her personal life anecdotes and her political obligations.

He criticized the expectation that Harris should comfort and nurture the country rather than solely represent it, deeming it demeaning and perpetuating harmful historical mythologies about Black women.

Blow argued that Harris should serve her administration like every White man before her and contended that Black women should not be burdened with the sole responsibility of comforting the nation during times of crisis.

In the interview, Vice President Harris emphasized the importance of retaining personal power and being unapologetic about individuality. She addressed comments about her laughter, expressing pride in her mother’s laughter and rejecting any pressure to tone it down.

Barrymore praised Harris throughout the interview for her historic role as the first female vice president and emphasized the importance of voting following the Dobbs decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade. She highlighted reproductive rights as a critical issue facing women under the current political landscape.

Overall, Blow’s column emphasized the complexities of public perception and the need to challenge stereotypes, even in seemingly positive contexts like Barrymore’s interview with Vice President Harris.