Happy Birthday, MHP!

Did you know that she was born one day after you?? Okay, even though I’m a total stan of hers, I didn’t actually know that until Josiah saw this picture of her as The Root’s #1 of their top 100 and asked me how old she was, and I didn’t know. So he looked it up on wikipedia (a much trusted source of almost all information) which said that her birthday is October 2nd! No wonder I love her so…

So you know how when you love something or someone so much that you get jealous when other people feel the same way? Like a kid, like “No, I like red!” or “Nuh-uh! That’s my favorite song!” That’s pretty much how I feel about Melissa Harris-Perry. When people were reading her latest book or talking about her show on MSNBC, in my head I was all, “That’s my book! No, I stream that show! From Paris! I have it bookmarked!” But one of the pitfalls of idolizing someone or something is that you expect everything they do to be perfect and awe-inspiring and it sets up an unfair standard that makes you judge them for being human (which she also talks about in her book).

Josiah teases me as whenever I’m reading or watching something, he says,

“What’s that? Did Melissa Harris-Perry write it?”

“Who’s that? Melissa Harris-Perry or Beyoncé?” (She would love that!)

“In our house, I get a wall for all of my Star Wars books and you can have one for all of your nerdy Melissa Harris-Perry books.”

“You’re not doing work; you’re just reading Melissa Harris-Perry.”

Even Andre calls her “my girl.” He’ll say, “You see your girl politicking today?” And sheepishly I’m like, of course.

Even in my reading log, she has her own tag! Mostly from her contributions to The Nation. And when her show was announced, three different people from three completely different spheres of my life sent me an e-mail, a text, and wrote on my Facebook wall saying, “This seems like something you’d be interested in.” And my response to all of them was, “Already!”

Ever since she spoke at Fordham back when I worked there and she was still at Princeton and Union, I’ve been in awe. And I got to talk to her a little bit afterwards and she was so cool and seemed genuinely interested in what I was doing and told me to e-mail her. A short time after that I was visiting Mom & Dad and saw her as a guest on Bill Maher’s show, so I e-mailed her. She never responded though. 😦 It’s okay, because the next I heard of her, her name had changed and she was leaving Princeton, so I’m thinking she had more important things going on than responding to my lowly e-mail.

In her commencement speech at Wellesley in May, she named herself in a way that I totally loved and completely resonated with me, as a global citizen, a black feminist, an inclusive christian, an activist for social justice, an aspiring academic, etc. I already called her speaking at Spelman’s this year. Watch. She was also the first person who came to mind when they sent out the call for honorary doctorate nominations.

I would absolutely love to work with her and her Anna Julia Cooper Project at Tulane – too bad Josiah’s a jazz musician who doesn’t want to live in New Orleans…crazy…maybe I can convince him to come with me if I apply for a post doc or something, just like he says I dragged him to Paris.

Anyway, you should definitely read her book. You bought it, right? Because you can’t have mine…

You can also thank her for being a further impetus for this blog’s existence, because she used to have one with a friend of hers back in the day called The Kitchen Table, so I figured if MHP did it, so can we. 🙂


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