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Dr. Boyce: 5 Reasons Melissa Harris-Perry Is Perfect for MSNBC

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Reality check for black journalists:  It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.  Most major media decisions are based on money and politics.  Sharpton is able to deliver ratings, and he has so many connections he should be called the Human Facebook.  Both Sharpton and Perry bring liberal perspectives to the news the way a pastor brings Jesus to a congregation.  True journalists who seek this antiquated concept called “objectivity” are typically not given the time of day.

Media has become like a political basketball game where there are few referees, and nearly everyone is forced to put on a uniform.  Even I admittedly wear a uniform for Team Black America.  So, the truth is that if you are the right person, saying the right things, at the right time, you always fit nicely into someone’s political agenda.   But rather than seeking to find our ways onto the biggest, shiniest plantation with little freedom of thought, I argue that independent African American media, wealth building and sustainable political coalitions are the only way for black voices to truly be heard in America.  Black people and black media must find and maintain their own political voice.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here. 

 

James

42 Comment

  1. Hurrah Hurrah,,,,,I’m highly elated…..She is a true Journalist, a super intelligent lady and a Black lady….

    • I’m an African American/Black Woman and woman’s right as in reproductive justice and access to healthcare are very important to me and the other African American/Black women I know. That’s not a liberal issue, its a human rights issue.

    • I am so proud of her. Congraulations, Melissa and I look forward on watching you and Rachel on MSNBC. You keep up the good work and may you one day have your own show.

  2. I enjoy reading Dr. Watkins blogs often and agree with much of it. My issue, however, with him, Ms. Perry, and all of these Negro “intellectuals”, is that all they do is TALK. Whine, criticize, complain, moan groan, while the problems that affect us as a people remain unaltered. I work with black male convicted felons every day, and have gotten hundreds of them to pursue higher education and leave the crime alone over the last 9 years. I don’t see Dr. Watkins or anyone else here in the trenches, so excuse me if all of this banter between Negro intellectuals, while it entertains me, does not impress me. Get up off your ass and your classroom and come to the hood and transform human life. Until then, its just bitching and complaining.

    • Thank you brother, I too get tired of these black intellectuals with power and media at their finger tips who chose to talk petty BS about each other. Really Dr. Boyce could kept this little essay to himself. And keep up the hard work, I also worked in the criminal justice system with the formerly incarcerated and know how hard that work is.

      Be blessed.

  3. Michael Eric Dyson gets plenty of air time. He gets time on the night time cable circuit. Don’t hate on Melissa or MED. If you come off bomb throwing on ever topic to move the black agenda quickly the obstruction from white america will equally emerge in the opposing direction. Melissa has the ability to bring strong yet subtle inference to issues.

    • You definitely made a BRILLIANT COMMENT. Too many people are into themselves. They are not better than any other person who has a degree. Common sense is truly worth it’s weight in gold. HATS OFF TO MICHAEL AND MELISSA AND ALSO AL SHARPTON!! They will be seen and heard by many.

  4. Stop Whinning! I just read your article and it was truly a waste of my time. Hooray for Melissa Harris-Perry and Rev Al. Ms. Perry is bright, intelligent, well spoken and progressive. What does skin color have to do with anything fool! I am extremely happy that MSNBC signed her up for her own show. I would like to see more hispanics and other people of color moderating cable news shows. I am happy she criticized the carnival barker Cornell West. He is nothing as far as I am concerned. I am not light skinned nor am I elitist. I am a well educated black man from Buffalo, NY who educated himself, retired from an executive career working in the Govt. I am a firm supporter of President Obama and will work tirelessly for his re-election. Re-elect President Obama 2012!

    • Sir, Thank you very much! I whole-heartly agree.

    • HOORAY!!! GREATLY STATED AND SO VERY TRUE.

    • Yes!!

  5. Good advise that should be applied to you!!!
    Stop being a hater with your pants down below your knees.

  6. As always Dr. Boyce, I agree totally w. your commentary. Thank you again for all you do to try to enlighten us, because God knows you receive enough potshots, insults, & “hateration” from many of those same ppl that you try are trying to enlighten /help. Yet you continue with your efforts to help our community in spite of being accused by others of sitting on your @ss & doing nothing. It seems that we are always in defense of & in love w. those who mean us no good & don’t have our best interests at heart.

  7. Dr Boyce I have read a lot of your work and their are some comments you make that I agree with and their are other I do not. You often sound like angry black man. I have heard you cussing and being disrespectful to other professionals. Everyone has a right to their frame of references. You are always on the attack. MSNBC selected Melissa Harris-Perry to have her own show. For whatever reason they selected her instead of as you stated hating on her you should be congratulating her. We as black people are so hung up on lightskin darkskin material things I could go on and on. White folks do not define us as a people. So many of us seem to feel they do define us. It’s a damn shame that we as black folks continue to tear each other down. I am so sick and tired of listening to so call professionals having graduated form these big white universities and yet you get on the internet and write such foolishness. I will be the first to inform you of the fact that I did attend a Major White University I have served my county (UnitedStates Army) and I am a retired combat veteran I have accomplished what some Presidents of the United States will never accomplish. Therefore with the knowledge I have aquired I help people I dont care what race class or ethnic group to to kick the hell out of stumbling blocks. Insulting people and trying to destroy other humans beings is a waste of life. If you are going to help other people you must first get them to listen. No one can hear you when you are raging. I WILL LEAVE YOU WITH THIS THOUGHT TOLD TO ME THOUGH BISHOP TD JAKES SERMONS ” IF YOU ARE ON AN AIRCRAFT YOU MAYBE SEATED IN FIRST CLASS, COACH, OR THE LAST ROW HOWEVER IF THE AIRCRAFT CRASHES IT WILL NOT MATTER WHERE YOU ARE SEATED. CONGRATULATION DR. BOYCE I HAVE A PROFOUND RESPECT FOR YOU ALTHOUGH THEIR ARE TIMES WE SHARE VERY DIFFERENT VIEWS.

    • WONDERFULLY STATED!!!! Some people think that they are alway correct. GROW UP!!! YOU ARE NOT. That attitude is what is wrong with people today. Instead of pulling together and being happy for one another with whatever accomplishments they have made, they do the opposite. Also, people are entitled to like whomever they choose and they are also entitled to be envolved with the political arena they want.

  8. First, Melissa Harris-Perry EARNED her own show. SHE EARNED IT BOYCE! I have seen her substitute for Rachel Maddow and she is extremely good, absolutely better than Rachel.

    Second, Melissa will be the host of the only politically-themed show by an African-American woman on cable news. She educates her viewers about politics and how it directly affects the African-American Community and it’s future.

    Third, she wasn’t just hired by MSNBC, she was hired by Yvette Miley, the Vice President and Executive Director at MSNBC who is also an African-American woman.

    And lastly, instead of you being happy that Melissa, an African-American Woman’s accomplishment, you’re shitting on her over Cornel West, who doesn’t need you to defend him, I’m sure that he can defend himself.

    How would you feel if someone did that to you, what you are doing to Melissa? I no longer have respect for you.

    • IRIS — I agree with your comments — Melissa earned her show. She is a sharp women and will represent herself (and black people by extension) well. One thing I do not agree with you on is THIS: I will continue to respect Dr. Boyce. He has good intentions, but he needs to stop having temper tantrums. Melissa is an educated woman and she has her own legitimate reasons for supporting President Obama and not supporting Dr. Cornel West. Dr. Boyce ‘s loyalty to Cornel is fine but other people can have their own reasons to criticize Cornel West. Dr. Boyce comes across in this article as being more petty than necessary in critiquing Melissa over non-sense — she can think for herself, so stop assuming her views are dictated strictly by her acceptance in white media. AT the same timg, as Dr. Boyce says, it is important to have media led and owned by people of color: “rather than seeking to find our ways onto the biggest, shiniest plantation with little freedom of thought…independent African American media, wealth building and sustainable political coalitions are the only way for black voices to truly be heard in America. Black people and black media must find and maintain their own political voice.

  9. One more thing, when you go back to church, you need to go to altar and ask for forgiveness for being a hater and ask God to deliver you from the bitterness you have in your heart toward your sister.

  10. Let me start off by saying that I am normally in agreement with many of the issues and stances that Dr. Watkins takes on a variety of issues. I think you are a smart man who cares a great deal about the treatment of black male athletes, the absence of black men in the household, and the African American community as a whole. But when it comes to your characterization of Perry I have to disagree.
    For one, I also recognize why West statements are problematic. I have no issue with him critiquing the president but when he resorts to putting his racial identity under the microscope that bothers me. As an educated black professional it should be possible for West to make statements without resorting to unnecessary name calling and race baiting. At the center of his analysis should be policy and not personal attacks on race. Because in the African American community attacking someone’s blackness is a completely low blow and is used as a way to discourage individuality. It also harms West’s argument for more focus on poverty and employment on the part of the president. Instead of sounding like a informed professional he sounds like someone who is bitter, and he’s too smart for that.
    Also, I think it is important to point out that Perry is biracial as well and prob. knows what it is like to have her blackness questioned. ALso, she has been critical of the president as well specifically when it comes to education and New Orleans. Its just that she tries not to throw personal attacks on his race while she’s critiquing his policy.
    I find you to be an intelligent man Dr. Boyce, but when it comes to Perry I always feel that there is a certain level of unnecessary venom in your statements.

  11. I have listened to Mrs. Harris-Perry and I can tell you, ain’t talking to me (Black male). She’s talking to white people about me.

    • I am a black male as well, and I have to disagree. It is true that she does focus on the issues facing black women but that does not mean that as a black male I can’t take something away from what she says. As someone interested in the uplifting of both black men and women I think Perry has something to offer.
      It is true that white liberals are comfortable with her, for a variety of reasons, but is that necessarily a bad thing? I think in all movements (call for equality/representation) you need to have those who are “radical” (in other words those that white folks are afraid of) and those who have more of a mainstream appeal.

  12. I’m stunned that the good Dr. Watkins (AKA, The Crab) would stoop to embrace self-hatred to justify his professional jealousy. I’ve heard enough about Cornell West and Tavis Smiley to last 2 lifetimes. They are entitled to their opinions about who should take the “window or the stairs”.

    Black unemployment is a disaster because Obama isn’t doing enough? Hmmm? Education (student loans) is as accessable as crack. SBA loans are just as accessable as retro Jordans. Health care is now more accessable than teen pregnancy. WE STILL HAVE TO DO IT FOR OURSELVES.

    OUR elected officials should be beating the bushes among OUR voters to make sure WE know about these programs. Insted, we get horror stories about OUR elected officials enriching themselves OR stealing and getting busted or defamed. Someone (YOU) should be writing a blog EVERY DAY about how Jessie Jr. threw away a chance to be the next Mayor of Chicago, Senator from Illinois and possibly President…AND WHY…Oh yeah…being married to a truly FINE sista just wasn’t good enough. He had to get some forbidden fruit…just to enrich FOX TV…..MORE.

    Soooooo, waz up Doc? Where’s your “in depth” takedown of the Black sell-out elected officials. And, more importantly WHO are those whom you think should replace them? THAT might be a little more helpful that putting MHP on blast.

    OK, tell me how many Black governors, senators and congressman we need to change that and I’ll tell you where Dr, Watkins, Dr. West and Mr. Smiley (all of whom I respect) should be putting their (considerable?) influence. Let’s see? We have (1) Black Governor (unless being lighter than coal and a friend of President Obama is ix-nay), no Black Senators and a smattering of Black Congresspersons.

    Among the (so-called) Black Congresspersons I seem to recall a lot of those hound dogs licking Mrs. Clinton’s boots and heaping tons of critique on Senator Obama, including to her eternal shame the VERY BLACK Rep. from Texas, S.J. Lee. Yeah…with (crabs) friends like the above mentioned “authentic negros”…..the (house) barrel just isn’t big enough for all their EGOS………!!!!!!!!!

    A pox on all of you who seek to undermine your own people. Dr. Watkins, get over the fact that Ms. Harris-Perry B-slapped you (with facts) during your debate. It happens. Grow up. Get smarter. And, for goodness sake don’t drop your pants (crab, orphan, self hater) like this..snif, snif… because a very cute, pedantic, smart as a whip, (married to a Black Man) “SISTA” kick-ted yo booty in a debate….BRO…!!!

    I might be mistaken, but, didn’t you just call Ms. Harris-Perry a TOM?

    Oh yeah, so MSNBC would only be authentic if they had hired YOU insted of Rev. Sharpton and Ms. (fine as she wanna be, smart as a whip) Harris-Perry. Brother, put your EGO back in your pants and strive to become as AUTHENTIC as you claim she isn’t.

    NO..SERIOUSLY? Brother Watkins, she’s married. Get over it…move on.

    Jus Sayin,
    Domino49

    • Domino49 and Nicholas — You both make some really good points in your assessments of this situation on different levels — great comments that add more depth to this conversation! Yes, black educated men can be envious toward black educated women. I still respect Dr. Boyce because I know he is highly intelligent too and has good intentions overall (the fact that he acknowledged that he was somewhat “hating” on Melissa is good because most people would have denied this) — but he needs to get a grip and stop thinking he can define who is black enough. No one is “blacker-than-thou” based on having a certain viewpoint.
      Melissa is smart, attractive and articulate — good for her! As a black woman and human being, I’m impressed with her intelligence. She makes more sense than most people I hear on TV shows.

    • Brother Domino49 do you have a website/blog/twitter? LOL I would love to read your posts. I am sickened by Dr. Watkins’ comments and find your comments refreshing and spot on…smdh

    • Domino49,
      Thanks for your analysis. I truly hope BW reads these posts and realizes the truly pathetic nature of position on Harris-Perry.
      Please add Black Pastors to your list of people ( eg Black governors, senators and congressmen, etc.) that should be educating Blacks to the resources and methods available to us. Pastors have the most consistent access to the largest audience. But instead of enlightening and mobilizing people, too many pastors are lullabying them into political and economic slumber. If Pastors are avoiding politics to preserve tax-exempt status, then the church serves the Gov’t, not God. Jesus didn’t avoid politics (read Dr. Obery Hendricks, Jr), why should today’s pastors be allowed to? How do we listen to our pastors weekly and forget that Jesus was born into political and economic oppression? (Matt 25:31.
      The chains are being reattached, while the Church that should be BREAKING THROUGH the Gates of Hell is instead promising fur collars for our neck irons.

      Tighten up BW and please re-read “the Miseducation of the Negro” by Carter Woodson.

  13. Dr. Boyce,
    You should be bigger than this little hater essay. Let’s just hope the sister uses her platform to bring relelvant issues that affect us to the table and wish her well. Remember, green is a very ugly color.

  14. Dear Dr. Boyce:
    Thank you for your website. I am happy that she has a show. But I disagree with you on one point. She may be a liberal, but she is a black liberal. As a black person, who has worked in establishments that are mostly white, your approach, how you talk, how you reason are judged differently when you are black. We care about blacks. We want to help blacks, but we strive everyday to do it in ways that may not be know to the general public or by blacks in the general public.

    • What do people like you want from a president–You called the people you say you want to help stupid for supporting Obama–You guys think you are superior to those you suppose to stand–up for–People like you hate it when poor people show they hace independent minds and know what is best for them–because you think they should not open their mouths–because only people like you know what is best doe them–By the way–why don’t yoi haters run for office-

  15. This article is full of nothing but envy. Dr. Harris-Perry does a phenomenal job of being a voice for Black people in an arena the doesn’t do often provide one. The fact that she isn’t an extremist seems to bother you a great deal. Your comment regarding her rallying for Troy Davis is a sad testimony of narrow thinking. She should have rally for him because his execution was UNFAIR, not simply because he was Black. And what exactly is “light-skinned liberalism”? She is an avid supporter of President Obama, a man who is doing everything he can while the entire system seems to fight against him. He’s President of the United States, not Moses taking us to the promised land. He’s also a politician and nowhere near perfect. You seem offended that she dared disagree with Dr. Cornel West. Where is it written that everyone of color has to blind agree with everything he says? He’s a great speaker and a great representative of our people, but he is still, like President Obama, not perfect. Hate like this is never a good character trait from an educated person. This entire article reeks of pettiness.

  16. This argument betwwen Melissa Harris-Perry and Cornell West is nothing strange to me. Here we have one Black tearing down another Black. An issue like this reminds me of how the White slave master tore slaved husbands from their wives and children from their parents. White love to see Blacks fights against themselves. Cornell West should have more common sense as a professor.
    Melissa Harris-Perry is a fine lady in my view and I have no criticism of her whatsoever. Professor West shouls focus on some of these Black conservatives like Rep. Allan West of Florida who degrade his own people and
    forgetting that he is also a black person. He only in congress doing what an average white congress person would. Shame on Cornell West!

  17. Oh My1 how your ceitique reeks of envy. No intellectual depth or objectivity. Maybe that’s because you are not a Journalist as you say. First we complain that TV only has Blacks as comics, stereo types, or in sports. well nnow we have them commenting on the new of the day. Leave them alone. They are commentators not reporters. If they are able to defend the first black president of the USA, sobeit. He is doing a great job and I will work my black ass off just like last time to get him re-elected. since you are not sure if you will vote in November, that’s incentive for me to go get 10 more people registered and to the polls. I assure you at age 70 I will do it.

  18. Based upon Cornell West talks in the past in regards to President Obama not helping the Blacks as he demands. As a contituent of the president and Cornell West as a professor he should know better that the white mainstream society would never go for that. Cornell West talks like President Obama is a Dictator whereas what ever he says it suppose to happen. I know better than that. For 5 decades I’ve been watching politics and read about numerous times
    and for Cornell West to think like that, he does not sound like a professor to me. We as a people and me as one individual. I tired of Blacks tearing down another instead of standing together. Some Blacks do this for benefit purposes and do not know what the mainstream society is thinking of them.

  19. how depressing can this be??What has Melissa done to displease you just because she holds a different view then she is a fraud. what is debate all about?is it not about exchanging views. you know your comments here and those of Cornel West disspoint a lot. how can Dr argue in such a shallow manner, instead of dealing with the issues you go on about her being lighter, is there any more lower level you could stoop to. i am dissapointed that people with such high qualifications acan argue like uniformed individuals klike me. all i can say is that you envy both Obama and Melissa, the only way you can deal with your discomfort is to say things both you and the other Professor is saYING ABOUT THEM, SORRY BROER get rid of envy and accept that other people will hold different views from yours and it is their right that it be so

  20. After reading your 5 Reasons article am now sure you showed that the very things you “dislike” about Melissa you fit so perfectly the “very same box”. I did not see the name of the “journalist” you would have anointed for a MSNBC show. If we are counting on a “Show” for education, better change the channel and go to an online unveristy for classes. I don’t count on your Website to be
    educated nor do i depend on MSNBC, FOX, or ABC for that matter. Get Real !! Get an Audience.

  21. Dr. Boyce:

    I respect your right to state your personal opinion; however, the blow by blow five reasons commentary is in poor taste. I am proud of Mrs. Melissa Harris-Perry accomplishment on MSNBC, as well as her personal and professional station in life. She earned it the hard way, when she proved to all the viewers that she could out shine the best of the best. I do not wish to take anything away from you, but would be remiss if I did not state factually, I interviewed you durin’ your first book promotion tour, but now, you have not had the courtesy to response to my request for another live voice to voice radio. Do I hate you? No, I assume that you are just tooo Big and tooo Busy to response, now that you have arrived!

    Granted, it is true to a degree, it’s who you know. Dr. Harris-Perry (Mrs. respectfully) was prepared and well endowed to deliver with what she knows once opportunity knocked. Moreover, it’s my firm unequivocally conviction, that in the future, she will extend a warm hearted invitation to you be a guest on her show when the topic arises in your area or expertise. Honestly, I sincerely Hope she does. BTW… Lest we forget that a day-side anchor for MSNBC and host of the program NewsNation is sister Tamron Hall.

    It’s worth noting, COLOR DOES MATTER! I appreciate factually that you rightfully invoked mainstream media outlets should mix it up with sisters and brothers of all pigmentation. It is important that our children to see peoples whose faces/images in print as well as electronic media are reflective of all them from regions of the African Diaspora. HUE is powerful too

    I appreciate the opportunity to voice my personal opinion on this thread and believe your opportunity will present itself for you to provide a voice to a wider audience .

    All the best to you Dr. Watkins.

  22. Dr. B – this is the lowest that you have gone. As a black man, i had mad respect for you when you first popped up on the scene. Your deal with Syracuse was something I “felt”. Black Phd in a field where there are few – I felt that too.

    But dogging out MHP in such a juvenile fashion is below the level of a mean girl/boy in the 3rd grade. “Light skinned liberal” component? Come on….its time to be a man again. You were once. Untuck and try again.

    You are becoming an embarrassment. I will not read you again.

    • Hausa! What ever you’re talking about it doesn’t seem to fit. First of all,are you a Black American? If so you just don’t know the issues Blacks has faced in this so-calle “The Land of the free and the Home of the Brave. Be
      outright truthful to yourself first and then others.

      • Chuck,

        Yes, I am a Black American; but why would that even matter? I’m fully versed in the issues “we” face in this country and the world….still don’t agree with Boyce bashing a Blk woman who has done nothing wrong….he’s moved from being an informative advocate to simply being an entertainer….

    • Hausa! Thanks for responding.
      You mentioned that Dr. Watkins is bashing her. In what way? From what I read,he’s more agreeable towards her rather than what Cornell West is about.
      I know that we all does not agree on everything, but I do not see anything that Dr. Watkins speaking any negatively talk about her. I love her as an educated Black Lady,(Melissa Harry-Perry). My comment I hope, did not offend you in no type of way. I do not know how old you are but I’m 60 and believe me
      we have came a long way. I too is an Black American where I see that in order for us Black Americans to prove that we are somebody, we must stop downtrodden another. As I mentioned before I’m 60 years of age from the patriotic South and now live in a northern state. Back then it was not easy for Black Americans. And today being that we have our first Black American President, the hate for Black Americans are worse now than they were when I
      young and without understanding why this mainstream society hate us so much.
      So let’s hang in there and let’s what is right and some day we’ll have something to proud of.

  23. This will be my second and last time reading your rants and jealous divisive tirades. Your comments about MHP and everyone that has a different opinion or a real job are very unprofessional and borders on juvenile. I am surprised at you sir. I thought you to be a sound and fair critical thinker; but you are really a frustrated gossip/entertainment columnist.

    ” ….White people, as a collective, have never like me very much and advocating for black folks has never been an easy way to pay the bills.” -Dr. Boyce Watkins

    Just as you left out the “D” in LIKED here you have also left out the professional approach to fair journalism. Your admission to being a ” Hater” is absolutely unconscionable as a journalist. That type of energy an avarice is reserved for children. I also don’t think anyone has asked you to be an “Advocate” to the black community. And if you actually think that is your job here, your fired.

    I can count my commentary to such internet tripe on one hand. but I felt overpower by my professional respect for MHP and the much new an improved Rev. Al Sharpton my Brooklyn buddy. One day your ship will come but in the meantime don’t pollute the ocean with your trash. Good luck and be well with yourself.

  24. Wow, Doc you do sound like a up happy person, not a hater but someone who can not appriciate the success of someone different.

    I have a lot of respect for you and am proud that this web exit, it has opened my eyes to many things in the world that i was ignorant of. However, reading you vehemently scold someone that you don’t think is Black enough scare the living sh**% out of me. You are now stating to resemble a bitter old man, This lady can not change the fact that she born black, but she may one day change her politics.

    My grandmother tought us that when we point one finger at another person it might be smart to examine the other three pointing at ourself.

    Just a little something to think about from Grandma

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