Black Weather Lady Fired Over Hair

Burn herSo you see a headline like “Fired From TV For Explaining Black Hair,” and the first thing you do (after clicking it, of course) is wonder, so someone must have been all DEAD HONKEY! right? Right? Sure, if you have the babelfish in your ear that translates really, really, really, ridiculously nice and patient and non-hostile-to-the-point-of-saintliness educational statements into thuggish Obama-style “jive.”

Hello, pretty meteorologist lady Rhonda Lee. What you doin’?

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.”

OH GOOD NOW WE ALL GET TO TALK ABOUT BLACK HAIR! We at Wonkette love talking about black hair, and how we think black ladies should wear their hair, but since only Jesse is black, we never actually talk about it out loud, because for some reason black ladies are not stopping us on the street and begging us to tell them what they should be doing with their hair. Which is on their heads. And for some reason they feel like they own it.

It is official Wonkette policy that the most beautiful way to wear black hair is in a magnificent Black Power Angela Davis Afro. The second most beautiful way to wear black hair is in a short crewcut, like Rhonda Lee’s very fetching do. (This is most awesome with giant hoop earrings.) The third most beautiful way to wear black hair is bleached blonde, because punk and hell yeah. And black ladies wearing their hair straightened makes us kind of sad, because we do not want them to have to conform to European beauty ideals, and it seems like they have to work really really hard at it. But then, it is their hair, and we do not make a habit of going up to them and offering our hair advice, especially since our own hair is kind of ratty and it sucks.

Also, we forgot: dreads and braids are fabulous ways to wear black hair too!

Oh right, so what happened to Rhonda Lee after she so calmly and nicely educated this probably well-intentioned but idiot person?

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?. . .”

Aw man. Then another person posted on the station’s Myface something else that was way more stupid and racist, and without the presumable good intentions, and Lee responded to that too, and now she is fired.

That’ll teach you, Rhonda Lee.


About the author

Rebecca is the editor and publisher of Wonkette. She is the author of Commie Girl in the O.C., a collection of her OC Weekly columns, and the former editor of LA CityBeat. Go visit her Commie Girl Collective, and follow her on the Twitter!

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          1. 4TheTurnstiles

            And straight women LOVE that. We don't bring it, and this is why straight guys can't have nice things (if you're wondering why we're always complaining we never get laid, it's because we don't, because we're assholes.)

    1. kittensdontlie

      Will this slippery slope which is black hair, not lead us to other commenting out loud on other hair further down the slope?! This is my fear.

    1. BadKitty904

      Down Here, that's something lil' ol' ladies put on folks they don't like. As in, "I think Miz Rosamaude put a root* on him."

      *pronounced "rut"

      1. BaldarTFlagass

        Sorry, I changed up on you. For you latecomers, Barb is not losing her mind; "jheri curl" was initially "Afro Sheen."

    1. Mumbletypeg

      get snatched baldheaded.

      = my favorite "threat" our mom used to heckle us with.
      Until I met Mumblet-ex, that is, whose best childhood friend's mother's "I'm gonna beat you til the blood runs down your leg!"** took the cake.

      ** she said it in jest… In both cases it was about "getting their point across…"

  1. Fukui-sanYesOta

    “. . . this world has . . . certain standerd (cq). if youve come from a world of being poor are you going to dress in rags?. . .”

    This is either one of the most insulting things ever or simply just a word salad. It does seem insulting.


    Holy shit, she really did get fired! I thought that was a joke.

    1. MegPasadena

      Black hair= wearing rags
      Being gay= murder
      These bigots seem to have trouble distinguishing what one is born with and what one chooses to do.
      But fortunately this guy is not a supreme court justice.

  2. TaggWatchesYou

    "I'm not racist at all, but this world has standards and OH MY GOD YOU ARE SO BLACK BLACK BLACKITY BLACK"

          1. Spider-Jerk

            Please tell me I'm not the only one whose first thought was that "Toad in the Hole" sounded like some kind of obscure sexual act.

          1. sewollef

            Phew, I'm glad you seem to be blaming the French and not the Brits. Even though half my family is French and lives south of the maison-diqueson line.

            I just want to point out the rest of us Europeans have nothing to do with this kerfuffle. Nothing at all. We banned slavery [and hair straighteners] throughout the British Empire in 1832.

  3. Not_So_Much

    Louisiana? She probably got off easy.

    She can come up here to my derrp state and whisper to me about the weather any time.

  4. ManchuCandidate

    This is why I avoid linking my work life to my Myface (Taco Corp TM pending) because it never works out well. Also, every time I call their legal department, he tells me to "Suck It" or asks if I were him would I trade RG3.

  5. BaldarTFlagass

    Complaining guy would probably rather see her with one of those Kid'n'Play high and tights so she looks like a golf tee.

      1. Rebootably_Joe

        Why does exactly nothing about that photograph surprise me, in the slightest?

        Seriously, that was so close to my mental image that I'm starting to think I might be clairvoyant, when it comes to racists.

  6. CrunchyKnee

    "what about letting someone a male have waist long hair do the news.what about that (cq).”

    You know who else had "waist long hair do?"

      1. sewollef

        I'da jumped 1968 Angela Davis's bones any day of the week. And weekends too. Her afro was a huge turn-on.

        Oh sorry, I was thinking of something else unconnected to this story.

        Carry on.

  7. noodlesalad

    To be fair to the viewer, he just got a color television. He's in for a real shock the next time President Obama appears on TV.

    Cajun crackers are the worst, btw.

  8. Goonemeritus

    Although I am personally uncomfortable with the hair and body God gave me, I have done almost nothing to change it. Yet my boss allows me the privilege of making my subordinates cry 60 to 80 hours a week

  9. Nibbler of Niblonia

    let's start a campaign on facebook to find this lady a new job at a news station that doesn't treat people like shit

      1. Chet Kincaid_

        Some of them white hipster boys with the bed hair could benefit from his advice:

        "Let's be real. You will achieve a higher level of respect with the proper grooming. Onlookers will see you as a man that is in demand, and in control. Success breeds success, and your confidence to approach the ladies and close business deals should improve with the extra attention that your waves command."

        1. Botlrokit

          You mean they're being encouraged to be stand-up citizens, and not rap artists or thugericans? The very idea…

    1. Negropolis

      My hair is naturally wavy (on the top with very shallow "c" shapped hairs on the side), but man can I make them deep if I train my hair.

  10. Chow Yun Flat

    I'm not racist at all = I'm a racist.

    this world has standards = you make me uncomfortable; I'm a racist.

    its not something myself that i think looks good on tv. = I hate you; I'm a racist.

    1. fatbob54

      Thank you for posting this. I'm surprised he didn't say "some of my best friends are black" or " I got nothing against the blacks, it's the Ni**gers I can't stand…"

  11. Tundra Grifter

    Wasn't it in Eddie Murphy's "Coming to America" where the Blah couple had the family Jerry Curl business and every time they stood up there was a huge oil slick on the back of the chair?

    Maybe this smokin' hot weather lady (whom I would HLTFOAAG) should have referred the jerk to Chris Rock's documentary on Black hair?

    Something tells me there is a lawsuit and a fat settlement in the works. Responding to racist insults shouldn't be against company policy – it should BE company policy.

    1. finallyhappy

      no, the family had a fake McDonald's- the older daughter (who Eddie Murphy liked) dated a guy with a Jheri Curl do. Also James Earl Jones played Eddie's father- the king. Ok- I watch older movies too much

  12. BigSkullF*ckingDog

    True conversation that I once had with a boss;

    Boss: "You shouldn't cut your hair so short. People might get the wrong idea about you."
    BSFD: "Oh yeah, what idea might that be?"
    Boss: "Oh, you know what I mean."
    BSFD: "No, I really don't. PLEASE EXPLAIN."
    Boss: "So, about that analysis you ran yesterday …"

    Later that year she attempted to have me fired and in the process of doing that got herself fired and me promoted instead.

    1. finallyhappy

      That came up on The Walking Dead recently. Because in the zombie apocalypse- long styled hair still seems a possibility for any "real" woman who wants it.

    2. rebeccavegas

      When all the guys at my work told me I looked better with my hair grown out, I had it cut short again just to irritate them. Try to objectify me now! Ha!

  13. BaldarTFlagass

    What does it say about me that it took me 5 seasons of watching ST:TNG before it dawned on my that the actor playing Lt Worf was a black guy? Should I be embarrassed or commended?

      1. WhatTheHolyHeck

        …and most of the other Klingons.

        Also, nearly all the hunched-over, cheating, money-grubbing Ferengi were played by Jews. But that was totally coincidental.

        1. CthuNHu

          …and the half-Betazoid character just happened to be played by a brilliant, funny and smokingly hot woman. Total coincidence.


    1. fatbob54

      It's ok, he was really only half black, his mommy was black, and his daddy was Klingon. He was born in Kenya, and went to grade school at a madrassa in Singapore.

  14. mush2

    "And black ladies wearing their hair straightened makes us kind of sad, because we do not want them to have to conform to European beauty ideals…" So Michael Jackson makes you kind of sad? Wait, what?

  15. Ruhe

    After my initial repulsion at the sheer stupidity of this situation I'm getting to thinking that this weather lady, just like the novel writing teacher from yesterday, has actually hit the lottery. Perhaps the lawyers among us can confirm my suspicion… this seems like a case where the employer is going to get utterly crushed unless there's some very specific language in her contract.

  16. Caradeloca

    I remember in my youth pulling my hair out because a certain Klansman was seeking high office in Louisiana. I was confused about how his candidacy was not beyond the fringe in these United States. My wise father explained it to me, thusly, "Read up on history. It's Louisiana."

    Someone needs to get that nice meteorologist lady a plane ticket north.

    1. Guppy

      Typically this station does not comment on personnel matters, but due to the publicity and interest about this issue, the station has included the following statement.

      When the news becomes the news…

    1. kingofmeh

      that reply contained 9 million times the patience i would have in that circumstance. any reply to either of those comments that didn't involve the words "you racist motherfucker" should be grounds for a bonus, not a firing.

  17. BadKitty904

    This is some kinda sad, sorry shit. My bestest bud tells me my hair generally looks like I've been struck by lightening, but I doubt I'd ever be FIRED for it. All that aside, I still think she's extraordinarily pretty.

    So screw you, ya Cajun dickhead. And you, too, KTBS.

  18. JustPixelz

    Hey kids! Be the first person ever to complete this sentence in a non-racist way:

    "I'm not racist but…"

    1. memzilla

      Stop trying to trick us with a mu question. Except for those people who can be tricked with a mu question.

    2. fatbob54

      I'm not a racist, but I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls.

  19. christianmuslin

    I see a very lucrative legal settlement and a new job that doubles or tripples her recent income, paid relocation to a major city several hundred miles to the north too.

  20. SayItWithWookies

    Lee messaged Journal-isms on Saturday, "I had a meeting with my ND [news director] and GM [general manager] Friday trying to get my job back. They told me the policy I violated isn't written down, but was mentioned in a newsroom meeting about a month-and-a-half prior. A meeting I didn't attend. So when I asked what rule did I break there isn't anything to point to."

    Double-secret probation — now for black people, too! Seriously, Shreveport — this is the fuckin' 21st century — I'd like to see Grace Jones go a couple of rounds with Emmitt Vascou and see if he's still so condescending after they get him out of surgery.

  21. Baconzgood

    If anybody knows the Baconz he's all about the fro. In fact if I was black my stylst would need a protractor to get it perfect and it would be so big it would have small satelites orbiting it.

  22. Mumbletypeg

    Julianne Malveaux sported very very short hair when she regularly appeared on To The Contrary but I was too busy getting excited about women discussing politics in a bipartisan, articulate, poised-with-occasional-hissyfit manner to take much notice.

  23. memzilla

    Speaking as an OG (Old Guy — OWG, if you want to get technical), the speed at which, if permitted, I would engage in shenanigans with the close-cropped Ms. Lee cannot be measured with current scientific instrumentation. As was said in Seinfeld, "It's not racist if you like their race."

  24. Lot_49

    When you think of black women with short hair and hoop earrings, it's hard not to hear Odetta singing. And that is a beautiful thing.

    What makes this particularly infuriating is that Ms King took the time to write a thoughtful and serious response to an illiterate moran typical Louisiana redneck bigot.

  25. mrpuma2u

    WTF is next? This station goes with an "all white, all Missouri-Synod" line up???? Poke these jaggoffs in the eye with red hot votes pokers.

  26. Terry

    "It is official Wonkette policy that the most beautiful way to wear black hair is in a magnificent Black Power Angela Davis Afro."

    The most beautiful way for a black lady to wear her hair is however she feels like wearing it.

    I do like the letter writer's suggestion about male newscasters wearing their hair down to their waist. I want to see Brian Williams that way, for a start.

  27. HistoriCat

    but since only Jesse is black,

    You guys have had three or four Jesses with posts this year. You might need to be more specific. (OK, not that it matters but you wouldn't say "that idiot commenter" would you? No one would know who you meant. )

    Also, the Angela Davis fro is impressive but might not be good for a television meteorologist – blocks out too much of the weather map.

  28. american__mutt

    My girlfriend, who has an afro, was recently told to put her hair up because it's "not professional". Mind you, she now works in an office cubicle with only a dozen people. While other women in the office don't need their hair up, she has the unique honor of her natural hair being characterized as "unprofessional". Yeah, it's bs.

    1. finallyhappy

      Are you in a bad red state? "put your hair up'??? seriously?? in 1969, I worked for an insurance company in their file room and was told "ladies who work here must wear stockings". but that was in the old days.

  29. Pat_Pending

    I once shared a restroom with Angela Davis. I was sufficiently flustered to say nothing, figuring it was better to just appear a typical uninformed white girl than give her the black power salute. She had her hair in corn rows that day.

    1. CrunchyKnee

      Nah, shaved heads w/goatees are the way forward for most redneck cracker ass crackers these days, mullets are so 90s.

  30. DahBoner

    Rhonda Lee

    Maybe people would like her more if she changed her name to something more "ethnic", like 'Ann Curry'…

  31. johnnyzhivago

    BTW, is there REALLY a need for weather people – or – news people at all anymore?

    My understanding is that the reason the Weather Channel is now mostly Coast Guard Rescue Porn and Dirty Jobs takeoffs is that nobody watches it anymore. I believe that Weather.com was the most highly valued piece when it was sold to NBC/Blackstone/etc….

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      Back when it was on cable before satellite got big, it was the shit. Now, it's "Oh, it's raining, better look at the radar on the Weather Channel to see how big the storm is. Oh, it's raining. No fucking signal."

  32. Lizzietish81

    Isn't it awesome that we don't live in one of those Muslim countries which force their women to dress a certain way?

      1. Mumbletypeg

        Some viewer-feedback forums really should cut back
        on the lamer contributions or try to filter the stoopid ones out; it's close to devolving into shear

  33. Toomush_Infer

    Then another person posted on the station’s Myface something else that was way more stupid and racist, and without the presumable good intentions, and Lee responded to that (nicely) too, (by texting: "Yeah, and fuck you, too, Cracker.") and now she is fired….


  34. Chet Kincaid_

    I like how everybody here is going along with the farce that the most important thing about a weather LADY is that she be pretty, however that's defined. (OK, there's a booby weather lady on the local morning news here that I fancy, I'm not proud of it.)

    1. fatbob54

      You're right, but if you're not pretty, you're not on TV to begin with. Unless you're an old white guy…

  35. pdiddycornchips

    Do we have a picture of the person who fired her? I want to see if his/her (probably his) hair conforms to our standards

  36. sullivanst

    From the link:

    "We do not comment on personnel issues out of respect for the employee and the station a desire not to have the holy fuck sued even harder out of us."

    FTFY, station General Manager.

  37. not that Dewey

    As Rhonda Lee awoke one morning from uneasy dreams she found herself transformed in her bed into an unemployed person.

  38. PubOption

    If I ran a TV station I would get rid of other staff first: any male reporter with an obvious hairpiece, and any reporter who has had his/ her nose filed down until it looks like Voldemort's or Michael Jackson's. Examples are still working at St. Louis stations.

  39. feminazipenishrinker

    That station needs a swift kick in the junk and/or a visit from American Hero Union Punching Guy (with votes!!). From the linked piece:

    "Oddly enough, the station “liked” an earlier comment from a viewer that said Lee needed 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.”
    Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/434790/rhonda-lee-ktbs-t… "

    Fuck those assholes.

  40. Chet Kincaid_

    We already knew that one Jesse was black, Mommy Editrix, but why won't you ever officially introduce us to any of the Wonkette authors?! Is it because you don't want us to get attached to these new posters you're bringing home all the time, in case you have to throw all their shit out on the front lawn? Half of them have names that could be any cisgender also. (I say this as someone who was shocked to find out Alex Pareene was a dude long after he left the Wonkette.)

  41. Jus_Wonderin


  42. Secluded Compound

    I'm not sexist but she can forecast my front moving in any old time she wants.
    I'm not sexist but she can have a look at my doppler.
    I'm not sexist but she can.. something something… high pressure system?

  43. sewollef

    I'm a white people.

    But I'm a good white people, since I've had the shit kicked out of me by Brit cops while demonstrating against the fascist National Front in the UK. I've also been arrested, jailed and had my camera "accidentally" broken for the same "offence" by the UK's Special Branch [political police].

    Cops everywhere seems to have a strong streak of racism running through their ranks. I know they're probably reading this, so, fuck you copper!!

  44. eaglewon

    Black hair is not all alike, there's kinky, to curly, to wavy, to straight. You can't tell a person how they should wear their hair. Actually, I would never have responded to that viewer. Total waste of time.

  45. TribecaMike

    According to the the Star Trek Memory Alpha Wiki, "CQ is a 'general call' signal sent by wireless radio operators using Morse code."

    Though Samuel F. B. Morse was a rabid racist and antisemite, it's still nice to know that quaint old Morse code will be back in use by the 23rd century.

  46. bargal20

    I'm trying to imagine looking into that Siamese kitten-grade adorable face and saying "you're fired".

  47. smokefilledroommate

    I used to work at a Sally Beauty Supply eons ago and nobody wanted the Black hair section, so they gave it to me (which I soon ran like a tight ship, tyvm. Customers would compliment me on ordering all the right products and how that part of the store seemed "new" to them–before it was shitty, neglected and in total disarray). I learned so much about African-American hair–the relaxers, grease, weave, hot irons. Imagine putting sodium hydroxide (lye) on your kids' head so they can have straight (caucasian) hair! That shit can blind you.. I concluded that if I were Black, I'd probably have the biggest, most unapologetic Afro known to man. (Might sound disingenuous coming from whitey, but fuck you. I know my Black hair products and the massive amount of maintenance required).
    Ms. Lee is gorgeous, obvs. She shouldn't even have to respond to such utter bullshit.

  48. littlebigdaddy

    How can you even have a blah weather lady? Is she all like, "my rheumatiz is actin' up so it's gwina rain"? hengh!!!???

  49. ttommyunger

    Just spitballin here, but I'm guessing the real reason she was fired was for not putting out. Seriously.

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