Former MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry is far from quiet when talking about her recent departure from the cable network.
Harris Perry’s departure was made public after an email from her to her “Nerdland” staff was released. In the email she wrote, “The purpose of this decision seems to be to provide cover MSNBC, not to provide voice for MHP Show. I will not be used as a tool for their purposes. I am not a token, mammy, or little brown bobble head.”
On Monday morning, the college professor made her first television appearance since leaving the network and spoke with the hosts of “The View” to clarify the remarks she made. “I’m an African American politics scholar, so when I say mammy I mean something very particular. The history of mammy is that mammy is the Black woman who cares more about the master’s family than about her own.”
Harris-Perry, who was on MSNBC for four years, believes that the decision to have her show at a minimum was racially motivated. “Did I think it was racialized? Not in the sense of they’re coming after Melissa for being Black. Do I think it has racial implications? 100 percent.”
This was her first television appearance since leaving MSNBC and Harris-Perry compared her pre-emptions of her weekend political show to a confusing relational break-up.
“The easiest way to describe this is if you think about a relationship. Have you ever been dating somebody and presumably you guys are still dating but not really, like he hasn’t called. Y’all haven’t been out in months. And all the places where you used to go together, actually he’s out there with somebody else and you’re like, I am pretty sure we are not dating anymore,” she explained. “So that’s kind of what happened with the show. Like the show had basically been cancelled.”
She also noted that her show was one of the most diverse cable news shows in the terms of guest lineup. MSNBC President Phil Griffin argued that he couldn’t believe Harris-Perry left her show. Griffin stated the station belies in the values of today’s diversity and it is firmly planted in contemporary times.
“It’s just an empirical reality. Taking this how off the air, even if you put me individually back on as a host meant that the folks who sat at our table, whether they were transgender, women of color, Latino Republicans, they just weren’t going to be there anymore,” she said.