Five Times ESSENCE Fest Speaker Melissa Harris-Perry Schooled Us

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We celebrate the former TV host's gems from "Nerdland" as we count down to her ESSENCE Fest appearance.

Melissa Harris-Perry brought black girl brilliance to MSNBC with the beloved Nerdland in an epic four-year run. Perry’s departure from MSNBC left a void for Saturday and Sunday morning television dedicated to the voices of people from marginalized communities. 

Nerdland may be gone, but the gems of knowledge she dropped will live on forever. This summer the Wake Forest University professor will hit the Empowerment Experience stage at ESSENCE Fest in NOLA on June 30-July 3. In the meantime, here’s an ode to the five times Harris-Perry schooled us. 

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1. On racism and the Charleston massacre

“The African Methodist Episcopal church is rooted in a specific history of resistance to American racism.” 

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2. On the politics of black hair

“The physical body of the president and First lady matters. The hair of the president and First Lady matters.”

3. On the perceived threat of black men

“Then it was a whistle at a white woman, now it’s a hooded sweatshirt or music being played loudly from the car. No presumption of innocence for black men, no benefit of the doubt.”

4. On Justice Clarence Thomas’ legal opinion on affirmative action

“Let’s be clear: devaluing the accomplishments of black people is not a legacy of affirmative action. It is a legacy of racism that continues to confound and challenge our nation.”

5. On fair housing 

“Where you live affects everything — your opportunities economically, your health, your safety and your children’s and all of theirs — all depends on where you call home. Fair housing is at the very core of every other civil right.”

 

Don’t miss Melissa Harris-Perry at the ESSENCE Festival 2016! Purchase your tickets now. 

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