When I heard that Melissa Harris-Perry pitched a fit and walked off her own show on MSNBC, I shed a tear for #Nerdland. And then I pitched a fit of my own.
In an email to her staff, Perry blasted MSNBC for silencing her editorial voice. This was mainly due to preempted time slots in favor of election coverage. However, when they invited her back, she refused to appear, and hours later, entered into talks to cancel the show. There you have if folks, just like that. #Nerdland is gone. I still can’t believe it; but then again, I guess denial is the first stage of grieving.
I had been waiting patiently for #Nerdland to come back, so it came as quite a shock to find out that Perry had decided to quit. After all, election season doesn’t last forever. I would have much preferred for MHP to stick it out and fight for the show.
Her voice, her stance, and her measured deconstruction of race made for many thought-provoking weekend mornings. As a self-professed blerd (black nerd), I deeply enjoyed tuning in to Melissa’s show. I felt validated listening to her, because she gave voice to my thoughts. She was as careful to compliment as to criticize, and much of her content celebrated the beauty and complexity of African American culture and political thought.
Unfortunately, as she had pointed out many times on her own show, speaking up for one’s race is a difficult burden to bear. She stood in the gap, building bridges for over four years. It is a shame to see those bridges burning, mainly due to MSNBC’s misguided recommitment to white conservatism.
I suppose everything happens for a reason. And while I’m deeply disappointed at the demise of #Nerdland, there was obviously more going on behind the scenes than we will ever know. Farewell Melissa. You will be missed. I hope that after you get some rest, you’ll come back on the air with a new network and keep doing your thang! After all, I can’t think of a better way for you to stick it to “the man”.