Ladies and gentlemen, Melissa Harris-Perry has signed off of MSNBC. Permanently.
MSNBC’s “High Priestess of Yasssss,” (that’s the name that I gave to her) walked off of her show following some schedule and format changes, in addition to loss of editorial control of the show. She clarified what that meant in a letter posted to Medium:
Here is the reality: our show was taken — without comment or discussion or notice — in the midst of an election season. After four years of building an audience, developing a brand, and developing trust with our viewers, we were effectively and utterly silenced. Now, MSNBC would like me to appear for four inconsequential hours to read news that they deem relevant without returning to our team any of the editorial control and authority that makes MHP Show distinctive.
In other words, they were trying to turn her into a Bryant Gumbell – just read the news, and lower her #BlackGirlMagic voice.
She went on to discuss more about MSNBC’s corny decision to snatch a sister’s show from her, while trying to turn her into a “Good Little Melissa,” and how the decision was hurtful to her.
The purpose of this decision seems to be to provide cover for MSNBC, not to provide voice for MHP Show. I will not be used as a tool for their purposes. I am not a token, mammy, or little brown bobble head. I am not owned by Lack, Griffin, or MSNBC. I love our show. I want it back. I have wept more tears than I can count and I find this deeply painful, but I don’t want back on air at any cost. I am only willing to return when that return happens under certain terms.
But what had me falling in love with her all over again was the end of the letter, where she put on her professor’s hat, and gave us some old school knowledge, while reading her victim(s) something ugly.
While MSNBC may believe that I am worthless, I know better. I know who I am. I know why MHP Show is unique and valuable. I will not sell short myself or this show. I am not hungry for empty airtime. I care only about substantive, meaningful, and autonomous work. When we can do that, I will return — not a moment earlier. I am deeply sorry for the ways that this decision makes life harder for all of you. You mean more to me than you can imagine.
After reading Melissa Harris-Perry’s epic literary read, all I had to say was, “Yassss!”
The best thing about her letter was the last paragraph, where she reinforced her belief in herself and her brand. No matter where you stand on the argument, there’s something to be said about a person who leaves their job because they think they’re worth more.
In fact, that takes guts. And balls.
Do you know how many people would have rather sat in her same seat each week while mumbling the news, just because they wanted a check? Those same people could have cared less about the fact that their community needed them to tell our story with thoughtful dialogue.
But she stuck by her principles, and would not just let them snatch her show, and tame her shine. She knew her worth, and she refused to cave. I respect the hell out of that, and that’s why I am so proud of her.
I really hope Melissa finds a new network, because her voice is needed. Especially today, as we’re having so many sensational headlines on race and police brutality. The fact that a black woman’s voice was silenced is a problem for her replacement, because I’m willing to bet that the networks is going to treat their next host the exact same way as they did Melissa.
Anyway, who would be so cruel as to cancel #Nerdland? Who was she working for? The Legion of Doom? Ugh!