MHP Exits MSNBC #MSNBCSoWhite

29 Feb

nerdland.png

It’s the end of an era. Sadly the Melissa Harris-Perry Show has come to an abrupt end after fours years on MSNBC. Early Sunday morning, Melissa posted the above picture on social media confirming what I hoped would not be, her farewell to #Nerdland. Over the past few weeks, MSNBC has preempted the MHP Show for extensive primary election coverage as well as coverage of the  Blizzard of 2016 (if my memory bank fails me not).

Although the details have yet to be fleshed out completely and who knows if they ever shall, Melissa Harris-Perry released a letter to her staff, later published on Medium.com. Check out this snippet.

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.

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.

Apparently MSNBC asked Harris-Perry to return to her show this past weekend. She declined. And it was announced that MSNBC had severed ties with the Wake Forest Professor, subsequently confirmed by Harris-Perry’s farewell post on Twitter and Instagram.

I am truly saddened to see the MHP Show end. I watched it religiously. Not only was it intelligent, diverse, progressive, and informative; the MHP Show offered a platform for all. It provided a necessary outlet for those typically ignored and silenced by mainstream media. The contribution of the MHP Show cannot be overstated and its impromptu demise shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Some on social media have called for a boycott of MSNBC. Melissa Harris-Perry’s departure is seen as pattern of the network’s poor treatment of its minority show hosts. Politics Nation with Reverend Al Sharpton was moved from weekdays at 6:00PM to a now Sunday at 8:00AM time slot. Joy-Ann Reid’s The Reid Report fizzled out after just a year. Now with Alex Wagner was cancelled this past summer. The Rundown with Jose Diaz-Balart was under fire at one point. MSNBC threatened to cancel and/or shorten the weekday show.  A former MSNBC employee shared that MHP Show staff members  “watched all of this happen and felt like it was only a matter of time for them.”

So yeah let’s boycott. I’ll miss the contributions of Joy-Ann Reid, Rachel Maddow, and Chris Hayes but I’ll live. There’s CNN and PBS for what it’s worth. And I follow them on the Twitters.

I wish Melissa Harris-Perry and her staff continued success. I thank them for tremendously blessing us with their painstaking, intellectually-vigorous, and groundbreaking work. The MPH Show was indeed a joy and a weekend highlight for me that will be missed sorely. Hopefully #Nerdland will reemerge in space where its valued, respected, and rewarded.

I’ve included below a public dialogue between Melissa Harris-Perry and cultural critic bell hooks on “Black Female Voices: Who is Listening.” It was filmed at The New School in 2013.

Who is listening indeed?

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