Melissa Harris-Perry gets a show on MSNBC

melissa harris-perryAwesome news.

If you are not familiar with Melissa Harris-Perry, you should be, because she is a baller. She’s long been a personal hero of mine, and I had the pleasure of meeting her in person a few years ago when Samhhita and I totally fan-girled her at YearlyKos. She was exceptionally gracious, and only marginally creeped out that we were staring at her intensely and whispering to each other before we mustered up the courage to go say hi.

In addition to her role at MSNBC, Melissa Harris-Perry is also columnist for The Nation magazine, and will continue to write her monthly column, titled Sister Citizen. Harris-Perry is also a Professor of Political Science at Tulane University, where she will continue to teach, and is the Founding Director of the Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race, and Politics in the South, housed at the university’s Newcomb College Institute. A celebrated author, Harris-Perry recently published her second book, Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America (Yale 2011), which examines the effects of persistent harmful stereotypes on black women’s politics. Her first book, Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought, won the 2005 W. E. B. Du Bois Book Award and 2005 Best Book Award from the Race and Ethnic Politics Section of the American Political Science Association.

In 2009, Harris-Perry became the youngest scholar to deliver the W.E.B. Du Bois Lectures at Harvard University, as well as the youngest woman ever to deliver the prestigious Ware Lecture. Harris-Perry received her B.A. in English from Wake Forest University, her Ph.D. in political science from Duke University and an honorary doctorate from Meadville Lombard Theological School.

Harris-Perry’s show is also a ground-breaking one. She’s not only a black woman headlining her own program, but she’s a staunch liberal whose politics aren’t just centered on the Dem/Republican horse-race du jour, but on anti-racism, gender and social justice. She is not the typical woman you see on news shows (even though I have great respect for horse-racers like Candy Crowley). And she’s definitely not the typical LOUD YELLY MAN who is a staple of Fox, MSNCB and other networks (see, e.g., Ed Schultz, Olberman, O’Reilly, etc etc). She’s not a rage machine. She’s thoughtful and incisive and intellectually honest, in the vein of Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes (and you’re probably already watching Maddow regularly, but this is perhaps a good time to point out that Chris Hayes’ show is a real gem, and he is the only white dude with a news show who I’ve noticed regularly features women and people of color as his guests, and not just as “colorful” additions to an otherwise mostly-white line-up).

Anyway, this is all very exciting. Congratulations, Melissa! I can’t think of a better person for the job.

18 comments for “Melissa Harris-Perry gets a show on MSNBC

  1. WitchWolf
    January 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Sister Citizen is a must read for well ANYONE!

    I love when she fills in for Rachel and Lawrence —

    I am very happy that she got her own show! WELL DONE. I had hoped that she would have gotten a slot after Rev Al instead of a repeat of Chris —

  2. January 5, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    So thrilled about this, although damn, do I wish they’d give her a prime time slot by say, getting rid of frigging Ed. BUT still…great great move.

    And I second WitchWolf’s rec on her book – it was a fascinating read and a very important one for anyone interested in social justice and intersectionality in movements. One of the best books I read in 2011, no doubt.

  3. January 5, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    I’ve also noticed that MSNBC is making more of a concerted effort to feature women and people of color in their shows. And not just as tokens, either. Someone has taken the time to ensure gender and race balance.

  4. Kristen J.
    January 5, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    That’s awesome!!!

  5. January 5, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Yay! This makes me extremely happy, but seconding Alison, I wish they’d given her a prime time slot instead of a weekend one.

  6. Miku
    January 5, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, and Melissa Harris-Perry are all awesome. Was never a fan of Ed Schultz or Lawrence O’Donnel (though the latter has grown on me a bit), but I liked Olbermann for being an angry, loud, annoying liberal when there weren’t enough. He really opened up this avenue for MSNBC (Melissa even being featured on his show in the picture chosen). Could it have been done better? Sure, that’s true of most things, but it’s history now, and I’m okay with how it’s turning out.

  7. Amanda
    January 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    I just about squealed when I saw the news on Twitter. I don’t usually watch TV on the weekends, but I’ll be dragging my old set back to college to watch this show!

  8. RyanRutley
    January 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Heard about it on Twitter this morning, and it’s GREAT news. I’ve been looking forward to her getting her own show since she started filling in for Rachel.

    I’ll second Miku about Olbermann opening the door for strong liberal voices on TV, even though I’m not a fan.

    Oh, and I should mention Alex Wagner — I think she has a daily on MSNBC now. Also awesome, and a regular on Up.

  9. Tony_
    January 5, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    One more reason for me to start watching TV again, lol.

  10. Lisa A.
    January 5, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    I love Melissa Harris-Perry! This made my day.

  11. number9
    January 5, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    This is awesome news! Finally a great use for my DVR! And who knows, maybe a prime time weeknight slot next? Surely she would be about a million times better than Ed?

  12. EG
    January 5, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Excellent! She is brilliant.

    I confess to liking Ed Schultz. On the one hand, he’s a demagogue. On the other hand, we could use one. And I love his coverage of union actions.

  13. FYouMudFlaps
    January 6, 2012 at 9:28 am

    As someone who has always loved her when she subbed for Rachel and Lawrence, this is great news!! I also have Sister Citizen on my book list. Although I must briefly stand up for Ed who I also love and strongly appreciate his focus on class and working peoples’ issues. No one else personally crafted their entire night’s show around multiple trips to Madison and Ohio to help kill SB 5.

  14. January 6, 2012 at 10:01 am

    It is about time Melissa Perry is given her own segment. She indeed has contributed so much to society through her various works. Surely with her knowledge of so many social issues prevalent nowadays, she can reach out to many through this. This author would surely never miss any of her segments in MSNBC.

  15. Drydock
    January 6, 2012 at 11:08 am

    A great day for feckless liberalism. Yah!

  16. suspect class
    January 6, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    I hoped her frequent guest-hosting on Rachel Maddow was leading to this. I’m so excited!

  17. EG
    January 6, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    A great day for feckless liberalism. Yah!

    Oh, I’ve always wanted to be feckless! I shall make an extra effort to catch Harris-Perry’s show, and maybe that will help.

  18. Jjuliaava
    January 12, 2012 at 1:33 am

    HELL TO THE YESSSSS! Sooo loving her new book too– Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America
    Rachel + Melissa = DREAM TEAM! WOOT!

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