Dumbass Diaries part 13

Weatherperson Rhonda Lee

Weatherperson Rhonda Lee

This might also qualify as the beginning of the Pissed-Off Princess series.

You might recall my documenting my natural hair journey back in October. While I am not fully comfortable with all of the style possibilities on myself, I have seen other women wear them fabulously. Such is the case for weather reporter Rhonda Lee. Unlike myself, being perfectly content to work behind the scenes in the television industry as I contend with this hair, Ms. Lee is right out in front of the camera wearing a close-cropped cut (known as a teeny-weeny Afro or a TWA).

There is at least one viewer who did not agree with her standard of beauty, and he felt compelled to comment on the station’s Facebook page:

    -“the black lady that does the news is a very nice lady.the only thing is she needs to wear a wig or grow some more hair. im not sure if she is a cancer patient. but still its not something myself that i think looks good on tv. what about letting someone a male have waist long hair do the news.what about that (cq).”

Ms. Lee chose to respond to the “well-meaning” viewer with the following:

    “Hello Emmitt–I am the ‘black lady’ to whom you are referring. I’m sorry you don’t like my ethnic hair. And no I don’t have cancer. I’m a non-smoking, 5’3, 121 lbs, 25 mile a week running, 37.5 year old woman, and I’m in perfectly healthy physical condition.

    “I am very proud of my African-American ancestry which includes my hair. For your edification: traditionally our hair doesn’t grow downward. It grows upward. Many Black women use strong straightening agents in order to achieve a more European grade of hair and that is their choice. However in my case I don’t find it necessary. I’m very proud of who I am and the standard of beauty I display. Women come in all shapes, sizes, nationalities, and levels of beauty. Showing little girls that being comfortable in the skin and HAIR God gave me is my contribution to society. Little girls (and boys for that matter) need to see that what you look like isn’t a reason to not achieve their goals.

    “Conforming to one standard isn’t what being American is about and I hope you can embrace that.

    “Thank you for your comment and have a great weekend and thank for watching.”

A very straightforward, polite response to a very insulting comment. Her reward? She was fired.

Now several months ago, when Jennifer Livingston was ridiculed by a viewer for being overweight, she came out ON THE AIR with a five-minute commentary…and was lauded as a heroine and a champion against bullying as the video went viral. The story was aired on many local and national news outlets, and she was even invited to be interviewed on Good Morning America. So if Ms. Livingston standing up for her image is to be applauded, why then was Ms. Lee fired for doing the same thing? It’s not OK to tell a television news personality that they’re fat, but it IS OK to say a perfectly healthy, attractive, well-groomed woman looks like a cancer patient and needs to wear a wig? And what if she HAD been a cancer patient? What does the length (or presence) of hair on her head have to do with her skills as a weatherperson? I’m pretty sure it was not her hair taking notes and passing tests and earning that meteorology degree.

Frankly, I’m more insulted by Ms. Livingston’s situation being classified as bullying. Don’t get it twisted: the “concerned viewer” was as wrong as two left shoe for calling her fat–in fact, I believe the word used was OBESE. And while she looks like she may be over her optimum weight, all I saw was a beautiful woman who was quite capable at doing her job. That being said, I take issue with her comparing those viewer remarks to bullying. Yes, they were certainly insulting, sexist and condescending–but I can’t agree with them being lumped into the bully pile. If anyone was bullied, it was Ms. Lee–and sadly, THAT was by her own employers.

I spent a few good years up in Central Louisiana, and left a lot of family and good friends I would like to visit. You can be sure when I visit, that station will NOT be on my list of things to watch. Not even if it’s exclusive coverage of the Second Coming.



7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Air Cooled Underware
    Dec 13, 2012 @ 05:54:37

    Three Things – 1. your first statements answered my own question about your NEXT post for mike check day……2. I like Rhonda’s hair in that photograph you have here…. 3 THEN was shocked to read your next statement that she was fired. she was probably on someone list anyway- that just gave them their “justification” . I personally don’t see the problem with it but as I am sure you know those who are “out there” every day have to pretend that idiots don’t write nasty stuff about them. (a possible reason why many of us Blog Under Cover).
    4. I like your way of thinking Princess! Keep it up. ( ok ok I can’t count – wink wink)


    • dramaqueen1913
      Dec 13, 2012 @ 13:17:09

      In New Orleans there’s a word we use: lagniappe (pronounced LAN-YAP), which means a little something extra. So a little lagniappe in my replies is no problem at all. 😉

      It troubles me that the station continues to hide behind this verbally transmitted, still yet to be in official writing social media policy–had Rhonda not addressed these posts, would they have ever been acknowledged by their “appointed liaison”? I mean, what’s the purpose of having a Facebook platform if you have no intention of having a dialogue with your viewers?


  2. Allison Hubble
    Dec 12, 2012 @ 19:26:05

    Actually, I think she was fired for a reply to a comment on the stations FB page that implied the station only picked black children for something called a “three minute smile”. Her reply to that comment was no less dignified or classy than the one about her hair, but it was I think the final excuse the station used.


    • dramaqueen1913
      Dec 12, 2012 @ 21:19:39

      The whole “social media policy” is the excuse they used–they just highlighted that particular post to take the focus directly off of her defending herself. It doesn’t matter how they try to dress this up–bullshit in designer wrappings is still bullshit.


  3. Entice
    Dec 12, 2012 @ 13:21:43

    That is RIDICULOUS!! I’m appalled…. I was subjected to watching the news of the OBESE lady multiple times on my local news channel here in Canada, and this issue with Ms Lee didn’t even make it to to the back page of my local newspaper. Thanks so much for sharing this!


    • dramaqueen1913
      Dec 12, 2012 @ 15:16:11

      The station “claims” that she was fired for violating their social media policy. Did I mention that not only is said policy NOT in writing, but at the staff meeting it was supposedly brought up at, Ms. Lee was not present? But even if there had been such a policy, this whole situation is ass-backwards and wrong.

      There are some more developments in this case that I will be following up on, so keep your eyes peeled. Thanks for reading!


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