Melissa Harris-Perry might be the new kid in town at MSNBC, but that hasn’t stopped the weekend host of airing her strong views of gun violence in the wake of the Aurora, Colo., shooting.
The host of the eponymous “Melissa Harris-Perry,” she devoted much of her show this weekend to the Friday shooting at a premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” that left 12 dead, The Huffington Post reported. She spoke out not only against the Aurora shootings but the gun violence that has swept the entire country.
“Tragic — that’s the word that comes to mind when we’re thinking about what happened in Colorado,” Harris-Perry said. “But, still we can’t lose sight of the shattered lives and loss that occurred there, we also have to remember the tragedy that happens around our country on a daily basis. Because both instances speak to the perilous state we’re at when it comes to violence.”
Harris-Perry cited statistics of the level gun violence found in cities including Chicago, Los Angeles and her home of New Orleans. Though she said the numbers can be enormous, it is important to remember “that people are not numbers.”
“The victims in Colorado, they were part of someone’s family,” Harris-Perry said. “These young men and women in cities across the countries had hopes and dreams that will never be met. And until we get serious about the causes and effects of gun violence everywhere, we’ll continue to compile statistics on the epidemic. What I want us to do, is start working to save people from it.”
Melissa Harris-Perry brings a unique background to her hosting duties, NPR points out. Still a full-time professor at Tulane University in New Orleans, where she is founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Projecton Gender, Race and Politics in the South, Harris-Perry commutes 1,300 miles each week for her show.
“Melissa Harris-Perry” runs live each Saturday and Sunday for two hours, featuring interviews, political conversations and essays, NPR reported. Though she is the network’s newest host, Melissa Harris-Perry has been no stranger to working in media in the past, contributing to the liberal Nation magazine and often serving as a commentator.
When the chance to become a television host rather than commentator arose, Harris-Perry said she couldn’t pass up “the opportunity to have a public forum the year in which we either will — or will not — re-elect America’s first black president.”
Even with her twice weekly television duties, Melissa Harris-Perry still said schoolwork comes first.
“I could have said no to it if it were an 8 o’clock [weeknight] show,” Harris says, “but there’s no way I could say no to it on the weekends.”
Though she has strong liberal leanings, Melissa Harris-Perry said she aims for a civil style on her show, NPR reported. She also wants to add more depth to complex issues.
“In a 140-character Twitter world, the rebound is depth. People yearn for depth,” MSNBC President Phil Griffin told NPR, “and Melissa — you know — is an academic. That’s what they do.”
Melissa Harris-Perry said as a woman African-American host she knows she will be held to a different standard, but if she can do a good enough job she can be a trailblazer for others.
“Ten years from now, being able to look back and say I, you know, did a good job will be if there are a lot more little black girls anchoring shows,” Melissa Harris-Perry told NPR. “All different kinds of shows — right? Not just liberal talk shows or whatever we are. All of it.”