A cou­ple months ago, the inter­net was ablaze in con­grat­u­la­tions for a Wis­con­sin TV reporter who addressed neg­a­tive com­ments a view­er made about her weight. But black mete­o­rol­o­gist Rhon­da Lee (pic­tured above), did the same thing to a view­er who made deroga­to­ry com­ments about her hair, and is now out of a job. Jour­nalisms reports;

A black female mete­o­rol­o­gist has been fired from the ABC affil­i­ate in Shreve­port, La., she told Jour­nal-isms, because she respond­ed to a racial remark post­ed by a view­er on the station’s Face­book page.

KTBS-TV’s action again­st Rhon­da Lee fol­lowed a pre­vi­ous respon­se by Lee to a view­er who ques­tioned whether she should wear her short Afro, sug­gest­ing she put on a wig or grow more hair… 

On Oct. 1, a view­er iden­ti­fied as Emmitt Vas­cocu wrote, “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).”

Lee replied the same day, “Hel­lo Emmitt–I am the ‘black lady’ to which 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.”

Vas­cocu replied that Lee was right to be proud of who she is and that he is not a racist, but “… this world has … cer­tain standerd (cq). if you­ve come from a world of being poor are you going to dress in rags?…”

Rhon­da Lee is a 25-year vet­er­an of the news indus­try.

Ladies, what are your thoughts on this?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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180 Comments on "Black Reporter Fired For Responding to Derogatory Comments About Her Natural Hair"

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Harold

Racist? Yes. When he asked, “if you­ve come from a world of being poor are you going to dress in rags?” He was sug­gest­ing she should fol­low the non-black indus­try stan­dard. Worse case, she should have only been rep­ri­mand­ed.

Tenisha
In the arti­cle it doesn’t spec­i­fy the rea­son she was fired. I felt like she was pro­fes­sion­al in her respon­se. Now if its pol­i­cy that com­ments made on the page are to be addressed by some­one else or all com­ments are up for review pri­or to post­ing? I get it,if not why can’t she address it? Here’s a bet­ter ques­tion why did­nt whoever’s in charge of the stu­dio page delete deroga­to­ry com­ments? And email the per­son ask­ing not to have com­ments that aren’t rel­e­vant removed for being abu­sive or in poor taste? Basically,its a shame her boss­es didn’t have her… Read more »
Liz

She was fired because her pride couldn’t let go of the fact that some­one had said some­thing. When we can’t help our­selves and have to have the last word, that’s when there’s more prob­lems.

Beulah
I’m sor­ry but I do not com­plete­ly agree with your com­ment. Dis­re­gard­ing the fact that every­one is opin­ion­at­ed, I don’t think she was proud or arro­gant or cocky. She didn’t have self-pride either; she was more proud of her roots and her her­itage and it was her choice to wear her hair in the way she felt com­fort­able. Her reply to the face­book com­ment of the naive indi­vid­u­al was very pro­fes­sion­al and I hon­est­ly can­not say that I would have been able to be the lev­el­head­ed if some­one made such a com­ment about MY hair. The stereo­typ­i­cal stig­ma that soci­ety… Read more »
Yeashan banks

So I hope there’s a peti­tion some­where to be signed or she suing the net­work. This is ridicu­lous !

Angelica Lewis

Out­ra­geous! I hope this Ms. Lee takes this com­pa­ny to court and receives every­thing she deserves. This indi­vid­u­al is obvi­ous­ly igno­rant and an idiot! Ladies rock your crown…the fros, locs, braids, short cuts, relax­ers because it we don’t love our hair no one else will. I hon­est­ly believe that God has some­thing bet­ter for Ms. Lee.

Janise K
So here we are again yet defend­ing our­selves to igno­rance. Rhon­da Lee had every right to state exact­ly how she felt. She was extreme­ly pro­fes­sion­al because if it was me I prob­a­bly would have told him to go straight to hell. Ref­er­enc­ing “can­cer ” is not fun­ny. It’s rude and dis­re­spect­ful to BLACK WOMEN!! I’m so tired of us as black wom­en hav­ing to set the record straight. Bot­tom line… We are a force to NOT be messed with. Please remem­ber my Black sis­tahs We are FABULOUS and every race wants to be us at the end of the day.… Read more »
Voni

I could not have said that bet­ter myself. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, peo­ple still have very small igno­rant minds.

Debbie

This is so shock­ing. Why is it that we as black wom­en always have to explain the rea­son for wear­ing our hair in it’s nat­u­ral state. When we wear the long weaves we don’t seem to be so out of place. Ridicu­lous!!!!

What

So Amber Rose gets all of the ad cam­paigns and looks oh so sexy, but when a black wom­an goes bald it’s ugly?? Oh, my bad, Amber Rose is white, right?

Coren Bell

I am in shock, I have watched her on TV very good Weath­er Girl. I don’t see the prob­lem with her respon­se. We need to stand up for our­selves more often in the South because they feel we should take what­ev­er is given to us. Some­thing has to be done Rhon­da Lee please don’t take this one qui­et­ly. I am only 30 min­utes away and have your back. Look­ing into this mat­ter now. Sad­dened I didn’t know

Shelle

She should have been com­mend­ed, not fired. If she were a white wom­an wear­ing very short hair she would still have a job!

Michelle

She was very pro­fes­sion­al and I think her for­mer employ­er is an idiot.

Treasure Loudermilk
What hap­pened to this wom­an is an absolute out­rage. As usu­al, a mem­ber of soci­ety that has been white­washed into only believ­ing that Euro­cen­tric stan­dards of beau­ty are accept­able or even worth val­ue had to stick their igno­rant lit­tle two cents in. This news wom­an had EVERY RIGHT to not only respond to this clear­ly racist com­ment, but also to rock her nat­u­ral­ly beau­ti­ful eth­nic hair. The only prob­lem with nat­u­ral hair is the igno­rant nin­com­poops who oppose it, or don’t find it “nice to look at”. And if she some­how broke “com­pa­ny pol­i­cy” or some­thing like that by respond­ing,… Read more »
imani
On one hand I would have rec­og­nized his igno­rance for what it was and not replied. On the oth­er hand, its that type of racist com­men­tary that needs to be checked. To imply poor ppl wear rags bc they had no choice but once they evolve they did “bet­ter” is to equate wear­ing an afro as a harsh neces­si­ty or pun­ish­ment that at the time had no solu­tion and that once perms & wigs became avail­able, we blks now know “bet­ter” as if our nat­u­ral is LESS THAN…a prob­lem that now has a solu­tion? He need­ed to be checked! I… Read more »
Dana
Yeah, I was ticked off too when I read it on yahoo. There’s a peti­tion you can sign on Face­book so she can get her job back, but if I were her, I’d take it straight to the courts and sue the com­pa­ny for allow­ing it on the site because it’s clear­ly slan­der­ous and mis­align­ing her rep­utable name, and affect­ed her whole lifestyle now and source of income, etc.  If they were mon­i­tor­ing their mes­sage boards like they’re legal­ly respon­si­ble to do, she wouldn’t have even have had to defend her­self to the likes of that beast and the com­pa­ny… Read more »
Fredina

I am from Shreveport,LA and I enjoyed watch­ing Rhon­da Lee.She was very pro­fes­sion­al in her response.As far as the news sta­tions face­book page (KTBS 3)You would not believe the racist com­ments that are freely,daily made on any given subject.I’m talk­ing the N word,black folks on welfare,a black unarmed man was killed by police and com­ments like he got what he deserved ect.This is just one instance that it’s been made public.If some­one is respon­si­ble for mon­i­tor­ing what is posted,THEY need to be fired,not Rhon­da Lee.

Shannon

Peo­ple are so igno­rant! She deserved a pat on the back for not snap­ping on such an igno­rant com­ment. She was well spo­ken and poised the way that she should have been. It’s sad how soooo many peo­ple think like this guy. As black wom­en, we are still such a mys­tery to every­body and they’d rather con­tin­ue to keep us a mys­tery than to let go of their igno­rant mis­con­cep­tions and get to know us as a col­lec­tive com­mu­ni­ty and as indi­vid­u­als, because we’re both…just like every­one else!

Shannon

And by the way…she’s beau­ti­ful. I hope she uses this stum­bling block as a step­ping stone.

Kalilah
I can total­ly relate to this. I’ve been in media for over 10 years now, right around the same time I went nat­u­ral. My hair has always been an issue. I’ve had view­ers call the sta­tion and tell me to comb my hair. When I cut it short again two years ago, anoth­er view­er called the sta­tion to say that I look like a les­bian. For­tu­nate­ly, the places I have worked have actu­al­ly liked my hair. They didn’t come out and defend it, but they sim­ply didn’t respond to the dero­go­tary com­ments and nei­ther did I. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the sta­tion where… Read more »
Meteorologist Rhonda Lee

Kalilah! Please get in touch with me! Thank you. heyweatherlady@gmail.com or via FB or Twit­ter @Rhonda_A_Lee.

Thank you every­one for the sup­port! I HONESTLY means the world to me.

shelli

Pray for you? Why don’t you stand up for your­self and put your grownup thong on and refuse to have your hair fixed as you so put it? Some­times you have to standup for the right thing. Sue for dis­crim­i­na­tion!

Raneka Stevens

First and fore­most I love this site and it sucks that we still have to deal with the­se issues in the world we live in today. While im here I would also like to share this video I found online for an easy to do avo­cado hair mask that has worked for me.

http://youtu.be/L7slH3UfnFw

Hope this helps ladies!!!

Youngin girl
It’s her hair, let her wear it proud­ly. I liked her direct state­ment and How calm she was while typ­ing it. I can sense when some­one is offen­sive or calm when typ­ing their state­ment. I have seen more than one wom­an wear their hair short to their neck. Not in my area but it’s all about what works for you. What makes you hap­py. Nobody’s here to impress oth­ers, she was there to do a job and she was hap­py with her­self so she should be able to wear it. What she does with her­self is her choice, nobody doesn’t… Read more »
Ajah

Racist racist racist that’s all I have to say

Ajah

It’s a shame

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