Melissa Harris-Perry walked off of her MSNBC show or rather, she chose to keep walking firmly into her destiny. The rumor mill reports that MSNBC has severed ties with Melissa Harris-Perry. In her letter to her staff, Melissa shares why she left. She wants editorial control. She wants to be an intellectual and political scientist, and she refuses to be a pawn. She wants to reclaim the voice that MSNBC is trying to silence. She’s trying to live with integrity.
Let me tell you where Melissa is. She’s at an impasse. She knows the foolery she’s dealing with and how powerful those in charge are. She is also clear that though MSNBC may hold power, that they will not wield it over her, and that she too has tremendous power. I know that Melissa will come out on top and MSNBC is but one outlet for her voice, but let me share why we should stand with her, wherever she may land, and say to hell with MSNBC.
Melissa represents us – all of us, and that is difficult to accomplish. She is arguably the most intelligent, intersectionally-minded, humanitarian political scientist, academician, and television host there ever was. She deftly removes the “us vs. them” narrative and centers all of us on the “we” and why we matter. She helps us to see each other and ourselves more clearly. She champions the causes of the marginalized and highlights the greatness in us. She’s accessible and not in a fake, campy, “we’re BFF’s” sort of way, but in a “hey girl, let’s just get real for a moment” sort of way. If you have ever watched the MHP show, heard her lecture, been in her classroom, sat at her kitchen table or spoken with her in heated conversations, you know that Melissa genuinely cares and that she sincerely tries to understand the human condition and the politics around it. She embraces her struggles as well as her strengths. She embraces yours, too. She’s that new girl on the block that you want to hate on with her dooky braids and door-knockers, but she helps you earn an “A” in history and shares her Now-n-Laters with you. She’s that mama figure who loves you fiercely, shows you your best self and advocates for you relentlessly, but will lovingly check you when you’re in the wrong. She’s that sister friend who listens to you, keeps your secrets, understands that you’re human, cries with you, and fights with you. She’s that public intellectual who makes you wish that you read much, much more and who inspires you to step your game up. (She’s really not trying to be smarter or better than you – she just is, sometimes, but she’s too humble to say it.) She’s that B-Girl who knows the game, can get grimy when she needs to and ain’t afraid to pull out the proverbial Vaseline when it’s time to kick ass and take names.
Well, MSNBC, you’re next in line on the ass-kicking list. And all of us nerds are right beside her, battling with books, theorems, Giovanni poems, Kendrick Lamar CDs, and insurmountable blows of love. We ride with Melissa because she rides with us. She bravely gives us voice, shares her platform and reminds us that we, too, are important – that we, too, are America – despite the news cycle or election season or recent killing or water crisis or the power plays orchestrated in dark corners of MSNBC boardrooms. Melissa, like the titans before her, empowers us to transcend it all.
So, we will help Melissa Harris-Perry to fight this fight (as well as all of the other political front lines we’re needed on) by sending her love, and by writing, praying, politickin’, baking pies, and anything else that heals the spirit. We will stand together, possibly in Type “A” formation. And as a strong, proud unit, we will boldly sashay away in the spirit of Nina Simone because we know that love is no longer being served. We know that fighting for the self sometimes means knowing when to walk away. We will find new outlets for our stories, our voices, and our humanity. We will share our gifts widely, knowing when a room has gotten too small because there are no bounds except the ones we place upon ourselves. And as we venture, hand-in-hand into our collective destiny, we will allow Kendrick to remind us, we gon’ be alright. Melissa, girl, you will be just fine, and we’ll be right here with you. We love you and we thank you. #IstandwithMelissa #WhyMelissasVoiceMatters #mysisterskeeper #nerdlandfam #byeMSNBC