Melissa Harris-Perry is gone from MSNBC, but I hope she will not be gone long from broadcasting. Her energy and sharp intelligence, the critical eye she brought to questions of race and gender, and her alertness to dynamics of inequality are too important to be lost. She asked questions that too few in television news ask.
I was lucky enough to sit across the table from her once, and while many of my memories of that day are about how MSNBC’s hair stylists coaxed my hair to heights that it had not reached since the late eighties and its make-up artists painted entire sunsets on my eyelids, I will also never forget the intense power of her focused attention. That day, we talked about accommodations on the job for pregnant workers who need them, but she brought the same intense, smart attention to all her work, and she gave a platform to diverse voices on under-reported issues of critical importance to the nation.
Whether she is on television or not, Melissa Harris-Perry will have plenty to do and will continue to make a deep impact. She heads the Anna Julia Cooper Center at Wake Forest University, which is dedicated to “advancing justice through intersectional scholarship,” focusing on lifting the voices and addressing the needs of women and girls of color.
But her absence from the airwaves is our loss, as she brings a perspective that was all too unique in network news.