Last Friday, EBONY 2022 Power 100 Media Maven awardee Tiffany Cross, author of Say It Louder! Black Voters, White Narratives and Saving Our Democracy and host of MSNBC's The Cross Connection, was let go from the network. Cross's show was one of the station's most popular shows amongst Black women, and had quickly gained notoriety due to her sharp viewpoint and keen intellect on socio-political topics.
Many folks believe that the station dropped Cross due to comments that she made regarding her station-mate, the conservative pundit Tucker Carlson. Apparently, Cross's critique of conservatives and Republicans was not favored by network executives, who stated that Cross had "repeated bad behavior on and off-air." After the news broke of her ousting, Cross released a statement on her social media platforms about the shock of discovering that her show had been taken off the air.
Since her abrupt departure, many of her fans have expressed outrage and sadness over the loss of a strong Black female voice on such a visible platform. The hashtag #WheresTiffany was birthed out of the shared sentiment of loss.
To make this move a few days before the critical mid-terms is just unacceptable. There is a larger issue of strong Black pundits, especially women, lacking the internal support to thrive.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) November 4, 2022
Keith Olbermann, a popular reporter and sports commentator, expressed his disappointment over the situation. "Where is the statement of protest about the firing of Tiffany Cross from Lawrence O’Donnell? Where is the anger from Chris Hayes? Where is the condemnation of a women’s voice silenced from Alex Wagner? Where is the threat to walk out, to boycott, to quit, to stand on principal from Rachel Maddow? Whatever happens in the voting tomorrow, remember at all times that you and I do not have a true friend or an ally at MSNBC, at CNN, at CBS, at ABC. We have television performers who will make sure they are seen in the easy fights," Olbermann said. "But when it is bad, who will draw a line and fight and protect one thing and one thing alone—they’re paychecks. In throwing out Tiffany Cross, they’re not only silencing a valuable voice who might have become an essentially one, but they’re warning everybody else on the air at MSNBC… We fired her and we leaked it to the Washington Post that she was fired by another African-American woman, in large part because she was controversial.' And NBC Universal cannot have controversial right now because, you know, fascists also buy Comcast cable packages."
There is a disgusting trend of silencing Black female voices that has begun to reach a boiling point. Without question, the blatant and sudden erasure of Cross at such a crucial time in our nation's political history is intentional. This is another example of not only how the powers that be—even if they are "skinfolk"—view Black women as a threat to their supremacy but a lesson in how truly powerful their voices are. Cross has efficiently and boldly used her platform to discuss a wide range of topics from the seeking of reparations by survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre to shouting out Black artists who do dope work like her fellow EBONY 2022 Power 100 awardee J. Ivy. It is because of her exemplary fierceness that EBONY made her a Power 100 awardee this year. It is also not lost on many of us that this decision to cancel The Cross Connection comes literally days before one of the most crucial midterm elections of our time.
In the midst of this controversy, it's been refreshingly beautiful to see so many folks band together to stand with Cross. Many of those at the forefront of the support have been Black female journalists and political figures—such as Melissa Harris Perry, Joy Ann Reid, Angela Rye and Jemele Hill—who have taken it upon themselves to call out MSNBC and uplift the work Cross has done. Sadly, these women are all too familiar with efforts to silence their own voices on their respective platforms as well.
As Tiffany Cross stated, this is not the time to shy away. While her platform, which had a following of 4.6 million viewers will be deeply missed, it's clearly not the end for her.
Let us all be reminded of the subtle yet weighted power that comes from supporting Black women. When we show up in full force and rally for one another, it makes the Black community even more formidable.
Black women, keep talking, keep sharing, keep calling truth to power.