“The last ten years have been beyond anything I could have imagined, and I’m grateful. I’m also very excited about the next chapter. To all my great colleagues, I will miss you and I will be rooting for you.” –Tamron Hall
That was the statement given by Tamron Hall days after the news broke that her hour of NBC’s the Today Show would be eliminated to make room for former Fox News host, Megyn Kelly.
Hall, 46, made history in 2014 after becoming the first African American woman to serve as co-anchor of the ‘Today’ show – a show that’s been around for 65 years. It was reported that Hall was offered a multiyear, multi-million dollar contract by NBC – one which she declined and exited the program weeks before her contract was due to expire.
Megyn Kelly has gone on record stating that NBC executives are the ones responsible for choosing the timeslot in which her new show – premiering this fall – will air. So is Tamron Hall the casualty of network slot maneuvering? Or, is this the case of an African American woman being seen as dispensable despite her dedication to her network and years of experience?
“This news is more than disappointing, since the two most prominent black faces on the ‘Today’ show are losing out to accommodate a white conservative with a history of questionable rhetoric with regard to race relations in America,” wrote Paula Rogo for Essence.com.
This sentiment is echoed on social media where regular Today show viewers seem to think Hall and Al Roker’s replacement has less to do with scheduling conflicts and more to do about race. While other spoke out in support of both Hall and Roker:
Hall is not the only person of color or minority to leave the network in recent years. Alex Wagner, Ann Curry, Melissa Harris-Perry, and Michael Eric Dyson have all left the network in recent years – leading to what is becoming a lack of diversity on the network. No matter what side of the fence you’re on about this topic, there’s a lot we can learn from Hall leaving NBC after learning her job would essentially be eliminated to support someone else’s dream.
Know Your Worth
Despite reportedly being offered lots of money to stay with NBC after losing her co-anchor slot – Hall decided to walk. This lesson is so important for minorities (heck for women, in general). People will think they can take away your dreams and just toss some money at you to rid themselves of guilt. By walking away— Hall proved that her dreams and self-worth aren’t for sale and this is important for any working woman.
We’ve Come a Long Way – But Haven’t Reached The Promise Land
Although no one likes to talk about it – race is still a big issue in our country. In Hall’s case, she worked for NBC for 10 years. It took seven years for her to be named a co-anchor and took Megyn Kelly less than a month to undo all of that progress. Understanding that minorities have significant challenges with being viewed as invaluable in their workplace is the first step to finding a solution to this widespread issue.
Always Be Gracious
This is a tough one. With her job basically stolen, Tamron exited ‘Today’ with grace and dignity. Her statement offered support to her colleagues and appreciation for her 10 years at the network. Being gracious even in the face of adversity will give you all sorts of professional capital in your new endeavor and show that you’re far greater than the unfortunate circumstances you were dealt.
There are still more changes to be made to the ‘Today’ show lineup – hopefully the remaining changes won’t do anymore to ruin the diversity the network was once known for.