Recently both Star Jones Reynolds and Desirée Rogers–women known for their own exits– were back in the news. Johnson Publishing Company announced it was hiring the former White House Social Secretary to consult on their prominent publications Ebony and Jet, Star’s camp announced she will be writing a novel called The Lunch Club to be released Spring 2011. The book dishes the behind-the-scene drama of a nationally televised talk show hosted by a group of women–shelved in the fiction section, of course. Pardon my tone, but as soon as I saw Star’s press release I thought, “Dang girl, you really need to let it go.”

Star’s exit from “The View” happened in 2006, after ABC chose not to renew her contract and essentially gave her the boot from the show. After being told she could make a formal statement on the show’s Friday airing, Star broke the news early, letting out the details on a Tuesday to People to the surprise of the other women at the table. At the time, I felt for her. It baffled me they would keep right wing, wrong brain Elisabeth and let go of Star. I didn’t agree with everything she said, but give me a choice between her and the monster that is Rosie O’Donnell, I’d pick her no question.

But this next step? Sorry, I can’t support it. Am I hating? Not even. Frankly, it made me concerned because she chose to do so despite the success she’s achieved since leaving “The View.” The novel isn’t a bad move because of how she left “The View,” or even just as a matter of tact, it’s a bad move because it shows she hasn’t mentally left the situation. While she is a smart woman (and smarter than most people give her credit for), Star is making the mistake strong women make and make often– not letting go.

Despite personal fluctuations, you have to respect Desirée and for being a strong woman in public eye. As women in the workplace–especially women of color– we get at maximum, one incident before being labeled “the angry chick” in the office. It’s an unfair label but once it’s applied, it is a lasting one.

Say what you want about her debacle with the state dinner party crashers, Desiree’s name is back in the papers despite many who claimed she was destined for professional blacklisting. Working in the Obama administration was definitely a great look, but once it was clear the situation was winding down, Desiree did what Star Jones never got to- she made a graceful exit.

I’m being sure to use graceful, not perfect because once you have Congressmen calling for your resignation– you’re not able to waltz out to a thank you parade. But a week after the incident, Desiree was making arrangements to leave, tying off loose ends and allowing the staff to have as smooth a transition as possible. Star may have gotten the word of her departure out first, but Barbara Walters had the last word when she made the announcement on the air alone.

Four years ago, I watched as Barbara talk to viewers about Star’s departure, saying she had hoped Star “would announce it on this program and leave with dignity, but Star made another choice.” I didn’t like when Barbara said it then, but this time, I have to agree- writing this book is another choice and it’s only to make the same mistake twice.

I’m not worried about how the book will fare or what will be revealed. I just think about the energy Star will be expending writing it and how many times as women we put energy into something better left alone. Desirée didn’t do a media post game on leaving Washington. She did the best thing she could– move on. Claiming the next phase of your life means walking away from what’s still pulling you behind.

As strong women, we are used to handling our business and standing up for ourselves. We’re built tough and meant to withstand the trials that come. But sometimes the hardest thing for a fighter to accept is that the battle in front of her is not worth fighting. As painful as the critics can be and as much pride as we women have, sometimes leaving the room is the better choice.

I’m a proponent of strong women and a proud member of the tribe. Women who know what they’re worth exude a silent self-assurance from the minute they walk through the door. We are women meant for great things and meant to shine. As girls we’re told, “there’s nothing better than a woman who lights up the room.” But looking at Star and Desirée, I’ve come to amend that phrase. Because the truth is that a better woman knows when to leave, how to let go and that she can keep her light shining wherever she goes next.

The graceful exit is one of the most valuable weapons a woman can possess. There are some women who do it with ease. I am not one of them. On the scale of ohm through zen, I’m solidly behind Gandhi, the Dali Lama and Phil Jackson. Settling into my twenties, I’m starting to get why it’s so important to press the mental pause button and put things in perspective.

I’m no yogi, but even I know that if you’re trying to keep your balance, the worst thing to do is look away from the mirror. Keeping yourself focused is the best way to stay standing. So eyes straight, girl. The critics can’t take anything from you that you don’t give them.

Namaste, haters.

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  • lilkunta

    great points Edrina! She shouldnt be more high profile than the Obamas, since they are the reason she was even Social Sec. Thanks for the info.

    She’s lucky is was axelrod who shit her down as Ive heard rahm emanuel cursed people out and berated them harshly.

  • Esperance

    gret article but I understand why Star wants to turn a situation into cash gotta pay the damn bills lol

  • ceecee

    This is an outstanding article, and the underlying lesson is something I will be sure to remember. Another person who I respect is Judge Sotomayor and how she kept her cool throughout her high court judgeship interview proceedings with the Senate.

  • d.

    I loved the article and totally agree with your assessment regarding the power in a graceful exit. On the other hand, we can not determine when a person has the ability to let go of an issue. Perhaps the book will be that vehicle for Star Jones. What we might ask is why does it have to be done in the eye of the public? Or will we learn why such a smart woman decided to forgo what Walters calls “leaving with dignity”? As usual the question for me concerning Star is who gets to decide what is best for oneself, is it us (fans, media, press), it is Walters as she alluded to in her statement about what she considered to be beneficial for Jones or is it Jones? As a matter of fact, I believe Jones has been one of the first to publicly admits her shortcomings, i.e. allowing her marriage to become a media charade,as well as her surgery. Why would she stop at this? Perhaps this book is her way of getting it straight so we can see that her exit she chose was as graceful as she could have made it possible with no lost of dignity to herself. As for Rogers, graceful yes, respectable always, that is what is owned a friend (The Obamas) when we look out for one another. …And, by the way, there is nothing wrong with that!

    • lilkunta(@ d)

      @ d : I disagree.Star only admits her shortcoming when she stands to make $.
      when courtTV rebranded itself & gave her a flagship show is when she admitted to her marriage busting & her gastric bypass. For the past 5 yrs before that she didnt admit to it. She stupidly thought we would believe her intervention was a diet & exercise. GTFOOH.

      To me Star is doing this to make $.
      She is a lawyer, why not practice law? Why not write crime novels?
      Instead she wants to write a fictional version of THE VIEW. That to me says she hasnt let go.

      When Walters published her book Audition Star said this to US mag:
      “It is a sad day when an icon like Barbara Walters, in the sunset of her life, is reduced to publicly . . . speaking negatively against me all for the sake of selling a book. It speaks to her true character.”

      ..so now Star is the 1 coming out w a book, what does this say bout her character?

  • Lyoness

    Namaste Haters… Love it!!!

    I love this article. Always act like a lady even under the most unpleasant and unfortunate circumstances. That’s what people remember. Star still isn’t over it and now she’s writing a book…It’s been nearly 6 years. She needs to see a therapist.

    I still don’t understand why everyone was mad at Desiree. There were emails proving that the gatecrashers didn’t have tickets. This was before the event. Her office gave Secret Service a list of who was invited. They weren’t on the list when they got to the gate so bottom line Secret Service should not have let them through. The husband’s brother went on the morning shows talking about they were the black sheep of the family because they’re always out for attention and trying to cheat someone. Now these jokers are supposed to be on Real Housewives. Not Cool!!!