On Friday (February 26), journalist and scholar Melissa Harris-Perry asked a former colleague to publish a letter she wrote to the staff of her eponymous MSNBC show. In it, she said that her felt marginalized by network brass and that the show had been quietly removed from the lineup without discussion or notice. She was slated to appear this past weekend to cover the South Carolina Democratic primary—where the Black vote was key—but she wasn’t interested, saying, “I will not be used as a tool for their purposes. I am not a token, mammy or little brown bobble head. I am not owned by Lack, Griffin or MSNBC. I love our show. I want it back. I have wept more tears than I can count and I find this deeply painful, but I don’t want back on air at any cost. I am only willing to return when that return happens under certain terms.”
But a goodbye tweet from Harris to her #Nerdland followers and a subsequent article from The New York Times confirmed yesterday that the show is now permanently off the air.
Farewell #Nerdland. Inviting diverse new voices to table was a privilege. Grateful for years of support & criticism. pic.twitter.com/DJ7MMvVreN
— Melissa Harris-Perry (@MHarrisPerry) February 28, 2016
Fans quickly jumped on the #IfNerdlandWasOn hashtag—started by Advancement Project co-director Judith Browne Dianis—to discuss just what will be missing from media now that Harris-Perry’s show has been canceled. Here are a few choice tweets including the one that started it all.
#IfNerdlandWasOn this would have been discussed https://t.co/k8YAp7rU5F
— Judith Browne Dianis (@jbrownedianis) February 28, 2016
.#IfNerdlandWasOn @OWNTV, @CENTRICTV, @tvonetv or @BET perhaps we wouldn’t need this hashtag! #doforself pic.twitter.com/tGjROE72R8
— Attorneymom (@PinkCottonMom) February 28, 2016
#IfNerdlandWasOn @lsarsour would be dissecting how baseless fear is our prime political motivator pic.twitter.com/HtjR2S8SLT
— Vince Warren (@VinceWarren) February 28, 2016
#ifnerdlandwason we’d be getting the illest mix of hyper-intellectual, political analysis & social commentary mixed w/ #BlackGirlMagic
— Janai S. Nelson (@JNelsonLDF) February 28, 2016
#IfNerdlandWasOn I might still have hope for uncensored media & balanced discussions on the topics the truly matter to me.
— Herb Brown (@RealFreshNPO) February 29, 2016
#IfNerdlandwason I would have a reason to continue watching @MSNBC but now I do not.
— James Neal (@james3neal) February 28, 2016
Harris-Perry had a response of her own, rallying #Nerdland to show its support by donating to worthy causes.
— Melissa Harris-Perry (@MHarrisPerry) February 29, 2016