Melissa Harris-Perry (1973- ), formerly known as Melissa Harris-Lacewell, is a Black American professor of political science. On MSNBC she was the host of “Melissa Harris-Perry” (2012-2016), a news talk show, also known as #Nerdland.
She has taught at:
- 1999-2005: University of Chicago
- 2006-2010: Princeton
- 2011-2014: Tulane
- 2014- : Wake Forest
She has written two books:
- 2004: Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought
- 2011: Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America
She also writes for The Nation, a White left-wing magazine.
#Nerdland appeared on Saturday and Sunday mornings. She used words like “marginalized” and “cisgendered”. She invited Sean Bell’s widow to the show. Amazing stuff for US television. Yet she never seemed to say much bad about President Obama:
- When she and her guests talked about the “epidemic” of public school closings in Black neighbourhoods, no one pointed out how it was driven by Obama’s Race To The Top Program.
- When Edward Snowden uncovered widespread spying by the US government on its own citizens, she made it about Snowden, not about Obama violating human rights.
- When Cornel West took Obama to task for doing little about poverty, she made it about West, not about Obama’s poverty policies.
It was not her MSNBC overlords who were making her do this either – the last one is from 2011, a year before #Nerdland even was.
Obama Era: It seems she was hired to help silence Black discontent over Obama’s policies. After all, MSNBC also gave a show to Al Sharpton, another Obama apologist. It got rid of Cenk Uygur, an Obama critic. In the week before the 2012 election, MSNBC did not report a single bad story about Obama, making it more unfair and more unbalanced than even Fox News.
Post-Obama: Now that Obama is on his way out, it comes as no surprise that Al Sharpton’s show has been moved to the weekend and that #Nerdland is no more. Joy Reid lost her show too. So did Touré. The only Black person who still regularly appears during the week is Tamron Hall, and she seems to have little control over what she reports.
Meanwhile, MSNBC just hired a former spokesman for Ted Cruz, a hard-right Republican, and cannot seem to get enough of Donald Trump, who is openly racist.
#Nerdland last appeared on February 7th. On that day Harris-Perry did a piece on Beyonce’s “Formation” video. MSNBC had wanted her to do only election news instead. Her producer had to fight for it.
The following two weekends, MSNBC put on election news in place of her show. They would not tell her why or return her telephone calls. Nor would they bring her on air to comment on the election itself – even though she is a professor of political science!
They wanted to keep her on, but did not want to give her back control of the show. She quit:
“I will not be used as a tool for their purposes. I am not a token, mammy, or little brown bobble head.”
But she had been a tool all along.
– Abagond, 2016.
- Rented Negro
- Fox News
- Beyonce: Formation
- The 2016 election for US president
- Donald Trump
- Ted Cruz
- Sean Bell
- Mammy stereotype
- 21 ways the US violates human rights