Weather Woman Fired After Defending Natural Hair And Black Kids; Has No Regrets

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  • It’s been more than a year since Rhonda Lee was fired from her meteorologist anchor position after defending her natural hair and Black kids on her station’s Facebook page.

    If you recall, Lee made national news after KTBS 3 News, an ABC affiliate in Shreveport, La., fired her in November of 2012 after she responded to several racially insensitive messages on the station’s Facebook page. The first Facebook post dealt with a viewer who thought that she did a good job, but needed to change her hair style. Here is the exchange between that viewer and Lee:

    natural hair black weather woman

    The following month, Facebook commenter Kenny Moreland criticized KTBS 3 News’ annual “Three Minute Smile” segment, which awards children a 3-minute shopping spree at a local Walmart. Apparently, Moreland wasn’t pleased that all of the winners were Black children. Below is his comment and Lee’s response:

    rhonda lee

    Lee says her replies got her fired, ending her 14-month stint at the station. As NewsOne previously reported, the station’s official response was that she was fired for violating its social media policy. Lee, however, says she was never made aware of such a policy and feels the station became uncomfortable with viewer complaints over her hair and her reply to the “Three Minute Smile” post. She says she has filed an EEOC complaint against the station and is in mediation to resolve her dismissal.

    She has not held a TV job since and told NewsOne in an exclusive interview that her hair is still an issue–even with those who want to see her employed again.

    “Co-workers have had an intervention of sorts with me when I first started trying to get weather jobs,” Lee said. “They took me to lunch and told me, ‘You’re going to have to grow your hair out.’”

    She doesn’t see the point, though. Why should she have to wear a weave to deliver the weather? “I don’t know why they care,” Lee said of people offering advice on how she should deal with her job hunt. “I don’t know why anyone cares. As long as it’s well-kept and looks OK.”

    For her admirable stance of defending Black beauty, Lee is watching weather reports from home instead of delivering them like she used to. And it isn’t for a lack of trying, either. For example, a frat brother (Lee is a member of Zeta Phi Beta) talked her up to a station manager once, but that produced nothing. Another colleague hand delivered her resume to a news director at a Florida station, but she got radio silence from the Sunshine state, too. Lee even hired an agent after she lost the KTBS 3 News job, but it didn’t work out; she is on her second one now. Still, no job. Not even an interview.

    Lee went to the annual NABJ conference (the National Association for Black Journalists) in Orlando Fla., last summer and caught up with some friends and colleagues who were sympathetic to her situation. “‘Oh, I remember you. You’re not working yet?,’” Lee remembers people saying. After a week of networking at the largest stage for Black journalists, Lee still got no leads.

    While her meteorology career has stalled, Lee’s personal life has blossomed. She is engaged to a lawyer in Shreveport and gave birth to a health baby boy, Lewis; he is 5-months-old now. But she still misses being on television. “Maybe this will be my year, but it was a little shocking not to get anything from anybody,” she said.

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    17 thoughts on “Weather Woman Fired After Defending Natural Hair And Black Kids; Has No Regrets

    1. Moreland did not like the fact all winners were black but I bet if all three winners where white, he/she would not have cared. Idoit. Why do blacks have to try and justfy what we do but whites can do whatever they want.

    2. As an African American Woman with short hair and a Beautiful spirit, I commend Ms Lee for sticking to her guns. I have gotten every comment from I love it to, are u a survivor! I just want to say : Get ur head out of ur behind and realize for some of us we don’t need any hair. And some of us look and feel better without it. Going thru my personal season and exercising on the regular, I don’t have time nor patience to fool with my hair. Be concerned about what is in my head not on it! Not changing for anybody! Loving your short natural hair and beautiful face!

    3. It’s really sad to see that she’s out of a job. However, she should explre other career options within her field befoe too much time goes by. I think attitude goes along with the hairstyle. I am an African American woman, educated, and I have locs. Most of my friends have locs also and we are all employed and make a decent salary. Maybe TV is different, but that’s something worth hiring an attorney and fighting for change. What their saying is her hair isn’t good enough as it is. Stay away from companis who think this way. Continue to navigate career options. And figh for media change. There ar many ways to do this. I write to target, insurance companies, basically anywhere I spend my money demaning that they show us. Black women, who built this company and raised their children!!!!

    4. More people of Color that has money and power needs to stand up and assist with these types
      of Racial Issues, especially the Justice Department and the President.

    5. Ms. Lee should not have to change her hair in order to be employed. The real reason she is unemployed is because she is a strong black women and not tongue tied for the wrong. Rhonda Lee continued to sport your natural hair and speak up for what is right. Soledad O’Brien hair is not in the natural look and we all see what CNN did to her. Where are the people who have some authority that can help Ms. Lee? and countless others.

    6. my buddy’s half-sister makes $84 /hr on the internet . She has been fired for 6 months but last month her payment was $15821 just working on the internet for a few hours. published here………………….. Jobs84.COM

    7. Black women and everyone else have always criticized black men and boy for wearing their hair certain ways, especially wearing long hair… welcome to the party.

    8. She not getting hired because she has a history of suing everyone she’s worked for. No racism here, just poor judgement on her part.
      Holla’ at the Scholar

    9. I hope this story gets her a job. I have been proud to see so many BLACK people on TV with natural hair lately. Commercials, TV shows, news, etc. Im in St. Louis. Is the South still lagging behind when it comes to this issue?

    10. Freedom of Speech yes. Careful with that Facebook and try to be careful with choice of words. It can create issues later because there’s always somebody out there watching especially if you’re in the public’s eye.

    11. Why is it that feminist groups are always noticeably absent when women of color have discrimination issues, yet some women of color still identify with feminist?

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