How did a retired teacher with dementia become one of Charlotte’s top social media influencers?
It all started when Mix 107.9 host Ramona Holloway’s mom, Wheezy started reviewing “American Idol” during her daughter’stop-rated radio show. After the singing competition ended listeners demanded more Wheezy. So every Wednesday she’d take to the airwaves to educate the audience about everything from parenting to sex with her own segment called, “The World of Wheezy”. She had her own website, her own merch and even her own sponsor, an upscale cocktail lounge. Once the radio segment ended, Wheezy’s star didn’t fade.
She was frequently photographed at festivals, parades and charity events around the Queen City. She even assumed co-hosting duties on stage at the Southern Women’s Show.
Her transition to social media sensation came naturally as Ramona continued to showcase her mom in inspiring and funny videos on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. It was no surprise when a video featuring the self-proclaimed Cougar and her sisters Linell Walker and Ada Dixon went viral over Memorial Day Weekend. It was Wheezy’s expression during a serious 2019 discussion about potato salad that captured the attention of “Black Twitter” with an assist from Charlotte’s own Leslie Mac.
Tens of thousands of shares and millions of views later Wheezy, Linell and Ada eventually wound up on the syndicated TV show, “Right this Minute.” Former Fox 46 Charlotte’s Charity Bailey nailed the reasons why people were so captivated by what’s now being called #ShrimpGate
Axios Charlotte had fun with it too.
Kardea Brown, AKA “The Delicious Miss Brown” on the Food Network weighed in on the viral video. Even Youtube’s #CrankLucas took a side in the potato salad controversy.
Ramona and her radio partner Matt Harris served up the whole VIOLENT history of Shrimpgate in their “Off Air Podcast” episode called “Shrimp Free At Last”. The title was inspired by Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr who’d paid tribute to America’s new favorite aunties on Twitter.
But this isn’t Wheezy’s first time going viral. Her savage honesty about NOT loving her ex-husband has racked up over 3 million views on Tik Tok alone.
It turns out that Wheezy is still educating with the help of her daughter and the Alzheimer’s Association. She was featured at in a #Alzheimersandbrainawareness month story about a new drug called aducanumab. The drug was just approved by the FDA on June 7th.
The Alzheimer’s advancement and all the media attention come at a painful time of transition for the Holloway family. Aunt Nell “Carrie Linell Walker” passed away on Thursday, June 3rd at the age of 88. Like Wheezy, Linell suffered from dementia. The Holloways are hoping that the viral video serves as a reminder of the importance of brain health, finding a cure for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and of the value of preserving family traditions and recipes.
– Ramona Holloway
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