Spotlight: Melissa Harris-Perry

I want to share thoughts today about someone who has come across my radar.  She is a brilliant Tulane professor, political scientist and expert in African-American history hosting a new weekend show on a cable news outlet. Melissa Harris Perry is her name and she is my new person to watch. Want to learn about politics without the spin? She is someone you can rely on to be truthful about history and be honest about her view of things without the kind of spin we see in most contemporary news analysis.

MHP speaks to you in plain language. She’s smart but, you don’t feel like less of a person to relate to what she’s talking about.  She engages us in global discussions about women’s issues, African American studies, important cultural challenges and political analysis.  She has a unique way of approaching contemporary themes like hip-hop and how it’s relevant in today’s culture. She illustrates how hip-hop is a part of the American quilt just like “Power to the People” was in the 70’s and Be-Bop of the 40’s.  She uses a refreshing approach to communicate with all races about American issues and does not focus all of her energy on the noise politics, yet she’s on it.

It’s not often that I see a political player with the ability to capture my enthusiasm.  Usually, I watch my favorite pundits to see how “off the chain” the circus will be for the day and I drift off into the abyss of Gmail.  Yes, I love Rachel; Rev Al will always be my man; Ed is my champion; and Lawrence my truth, but Melissa excites me.  She makes me want to get in action.  Why?  Well, a sharp grasp on what has actually happened in American culture historically. She tells the truth and corrects others that sometimes hold a revisionist view of history.   The others in the lineup do much of this as well, but she speaks to me in a special way.

MHP is a strong black female role model and reflects much more of the type of people I grew up with. Like me, she’s a strong back woman, but not ghetto and I’m proud of her. I was in the streets but not of the streets and was fortunate not to get caught up in the game.  She embraces her blackness without all of the significance I sometimes experience with black people. I appreciate my militant brothers and sisters, but sometimes I get overwhelmed by excess blackness. Not that I’m ashamed of being black, I just don’t want to beat people up with my blackness.  I’d just like to be another person in the room…just like anyone else.  Can I have a drink in public without it being about “my brotha or my sistah”?  Can two black people talk sans the black social club moniker?  Mrs. Harris-Perry frees me from the experience of necessitated blackness.  The geeky side of her is totally endearing and I appreciate that she is having fun with her new TV show while giving you a viewpoint of being an African American without the stereotypes.  She talks about a wide range of issues affecting all.  Education, gender equality…Beyonce’, it’s all in her show and I love her for creating this living embodiment of everyday blackness that Americans see but don’t acknowledge.  She is refreshing!

If you haven’t heard of her, I invite you to check her out.  If you have, please share your comments!  I’m including a link to her bio and her MSNBC website and am also including a link to her lecture at Chautauqua Amphitheater in upstate NY this past summer.

I salute you MHP!  Thank you for sharing your wisdom and perspective.  Keep on truckin’.  You’ve got a total MHP fan here tuning in every Saturday & Sunday at 10:00 am to watch you do your thing. Thank you for introducing us to a new crop of leaders who are fighting the good fight for positive change forAmerica!

Links to Melissa Harris-Perry

MHP Bio/Website:  http://melissaharrisperry.com/

MHP’s MSNBC Page:  http://mhpshow.msnbc.msn.com/

MHP’s discussion on Race Relations & Politics:  http://c-spanvideo.org/program/Meliss

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