Listeners Have Their Say

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Hear what listeners have to say about the program. This week the blog was abuzz with comments about the Mocha Moms and the politics of hair. Is it a statement, or just a new do?

MICHEL MARTIN, Host:

And now, it's time for BackTalk where we lift the curtain in what's happening in the Tell Me More blogosphere and get a chance to hear from you, our listeners. Lee Hill, our digital media guy, is here with me in Chicago. Hey, Lee. What's up?

LEE HILL: Hey, Michel. Well, it's good to be here in Chi-town. And I just took a peek at the blog and people are still talking about your commentary from earlier this week about the, shall we say, impassioned response to your new 'do. Here's the clip.

MARTIN: Can I just tell you, there is entirely too much meaning attached to black women's hair. What other ethnic group has to have so much conversation about wearing their hair in the manner in which it naturally appears.

HILL: Well, Michel, I think you spoke for more than a few with that. And Dara Baldwin is a young African-American woman who lives in D.C. She too recently cut her hair short and said some of the reactions reminded her what was really important.

DARA BALDWIN: I never thought it would be so controversial. How could you cut off that beautiful hair? Children are beautiful, art is beautiful, life is beautiful, not hair. I'm a policy analyst with two degrees from Rockbridge University. I want to discuss so much more than hair and I am capable of doing so. Get over it. It's just hair.

MARTIN: Well, you know, I'm over it. Thanks, Dara, for your comments. I can hear you exhaling all the way in Chicago.

HILL: You know what, can I just say, I just cut my hair down and no one said one word, so I think that's funny.

MARTIN: Let's not go there.

HILL: All right. Well, let's not and let's switch gears. CNN journalist Soledad O'Brien joined the Mocha Moms to talk about her new series, Black in America. And let's just say there was a spirited discussion about how the series portrays the black experience. Here's Mocha Mom Danette Tucker reacting to a part of the series focusing on a single mom raising five teenagers.

DANETTE TUCKER: That's what we face every day. When you put that on TV, I kind of feel like I'm on display sometimes when it's not a display I'm talking about. Let's talk about survival. This is not something for prime time.

HILL: Now, opinion was very divided on this and quite a few listeners agreed with Dani, but about an equal number thought the Mochas were way too harsh on Soledad. Like Mojie(ph). She says, she's generally leery of shows that attempt to dissect her race, but she thought the panel did not give Soledad O'Brien enough credit for a thoughtful look at a difficult subject.

MARTIN: Thanks, Mojie(ph). Finally, almost immediately after yesterday's broadcast from Wishbone, a hot spot eatery in Chicago, we were at the West Loop location, we received this note. Willy writes, I am crushed. I wish I would have known that you were going to do a live broadcast here in Chicago. Tell Me More is my favorite NPR show, and I would definitely have come to Wishbone to say hello.

MARTIN: Thanks, Willy. Maybe next time. And thank you, Lee.

HILL: Thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: Now, if you want to have your say, you can always share with us on our comment line. That number is 202-842-3522. Again, that number is 202-842-3522 or you can go to our blog at npr.org/tellmemore. Follow your mouse to the Send a Comment link and blog it out.

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