An Arkansas KATV news anchors Chris May and meteorologist Barry Brandt decided to celebrate the summer heat breaking and the return of seventy-degree temperatures by appearing on-air in Afro-hairstyle wigs as a “return to the 70s” schtick. And in spite of the long history of extremely bad white afros that covered the breadth of the decade and even lived on in legendary painter Bob Ross and workout mogul Richard Simmons, activist Abbie Hoffman, and comic Gene Shalit see this was interpreted as somehow offensive to black viewers. Naturally, Sinclair Broadcast Group overreacted faster than Superman on laundry day, fired its longtime news director Nick Genty, and indefinitely suspended broadcasters May and Brandt. Isn’t it strange how a cultural phenomenon which albeit originated as a black style, but was widely adopted and embraced by every culture around the world in the age of disco, is suddenly offensive in 2021?
According to baller alert, the forecast “attracted the attention of African American activist Dr. Anika Whitfield, who filed a complaint with WATV, alleging that having a “European American man” wear an Afro wig was a continuance of “systemic racism.” And the extremely predictable #cancelculture sequence began. But there’s a bit more to it. Apparently, a much quieter battle was already taking place.
According to The Daily Mail, “The controversial segment came weeks after KATV executives responded to an employee’s report of a Mammy doll – a racist caricature of a black woman – hanging in a cubicle shared by photographers and reporters.
The company investigated the doll in June, but did not figure out who put the doll there or why, although Seabers acknowledged to the Post that the doll was ‘racist and offensive.’
Because of the situation, he said, managers in July made a formal presentation to all KATV employees, training them in inclusion and hidden bias.“
Dorothy Tucker, president of the National Association of Black Journalists, tweeted that she had asked Seabers and Labbe about the doll in their meeting, and noted that the station employs more than 40 people, only eight of whom are black.
That accounts for less than 20 percent of the staff in a city with a population that’s 42 percent black.”