After a very public, and very ugly, departure from MSNBC, author, professor, and intellectual Melissa Harris-Perry has joined ELLE.com as the new editor-at-large. According to the fashion magazine and website, “Harris-Perry will focus on the intersection of race, gender, politics, and yes, even fashion, telling the often-overlooked stories of women and girls of color right here on ELLE.com and across ELLE’s social platforms.”
Job hopping isn’t unusual in the media, and across all industries 51% of Americans say they are at least “open” to taking a new job. But Harris-Perry’s split with MSNBC over editorial control was a particularly nasty divorce, especially since the host refused to sign a non-disparagement agreement she likened to a “gag order.”
After her eponymous cable show was preempted multiple times by coverage of the presidential primary, Harris-Perry accused the network of silencing and marginalizing her in February. The controversy led to a highly visible falling out with the liberal-leaning cable news network, which claimed the preemptions were a normal part of a primary campaign season.
“Our show was taken – without comment or discussion or notice – in the midst of an election season,” she wrote at the time. “After four years of building an audience, developing a brand, and developing trust with our viewers, we were effectively and utterly silenced.”
Since leaving MSNBC, Harris-Perry has launched a new interview web series and planned a series of events called “Nerdland Forever,” a play on the nickname of her former show. Harris-Perry said that she will be working with Elle part time and will write and host a web series in her new capacity as editor-at-large.
Harris-Perry is also the founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Center at Wake Forest University, which promotes research into race and gender issues “in pursuit of a national dialogue and positive outcomes,” as well as the author of the books “Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought” and “Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America.
In a statement on Elle.com, Harris-Perry wrote about the announcement:
“Joining ELLE.com is an opportunity to combine my expertise as a scholar, my commitments as a public intellectual, and my interests as a woman,” said Harris-Perry. “Politics, economics, and inequality will be important to the stories we tell, but so too will culture, community, family, and even fashion. I am thrilled to tell my loyal television audience where they can find me and to introduce myself to brand new audiences, all while telling the stories of extraordinary women and girls.”