Melissa Harris-Perry is going on the road this weekend, but the host Melissa Harris-Perry is staying right at home.
As part of the annual Essence Festival, msnbc has begun broadcasting Friday live from New Orleans, where our host spends most of her time as a political science professor at Tulane University. This Saturday, she’ll discuss and add context to a wild week of news with an incredible lineup of guests–ranging from a Real Housewife to an Awkward Black Girl–all of whom have arrived virtually on her doorstep.
Highlighting that list is Myrlie Evers-Williams, the chairwoman emeritus of the NAACP and widow of slain civil rights icon Medgar Evers–who will sit down with Harris-Perry for the first time since the presidential inauguration in January, at which Evers-Williams delivered the invocation.
That conversation will follow several others on topics both topical to this past week in news and to the Essence community that will gather live at our set. We’ll start with a look at the deposing of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi this week, leading into a conversation about the fragility of American democracy–specifically, for women. As voting rates for women have increased since 2008, they have increasingly (and understandably, considering Republicans’ assault on women’s health rights) sided with Democrats. Has this eroded or edified political power, particularly for women of color?
And how are black women faring in media representation? Harris-Perry will use the occasion of a festival put on by Essence Communications to have an extensive conversation about the public and popular image of black women with a panel featuring Issa Rae (above), the creator of the popular “Awkward Black Girl” web series. (The fact that actress and #nerdland fave Kerry Washington is on the cover of this month’s Vanity Fair may come up.) Then we’ll get very real, discussing the state (and plight) of black mothers in America.
We’ll also highlight public health through the lens of the free clinic offered this week by msnbc in New Orleans, and recap the latest in the George Zimmerman trial–including the Friday testimony of both the mother of the defendant and of the victim, Trayvon Martin.
Be sure to read what we’ve linked above–as well as Harris-Perry’s special Essence Festival post about broadcasting from her hometown–and watch Melissa Harris-Perry Saturday at 10 a.m. EST on msnbc! Also, don’t forget to join us on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #nerdland.