Revolutionary Melissa Harris-Perry challenges students to question the status quo


Quianne’ Holmes | Staff Writer

With mesmerizing dialect, exceptional wit, and womanly poise, Melissa Harris-Perry captured N.C. State students, faculty, and guests Monday night in Talley Ballroom for the commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The audience remained engaged throughout the entire presentation often vocalizing their agreement with Harris-Perry ’s analysis of African American leaders in addition to discussing the value of “black bodies” in the United States. Providing visual representations to physically embody the words and synopsis she created was only the icing on the cake.
While creating a visual picture of Martin Luther King’s statue on the National Mall in downtown Washington, D.C. and the lack of movement, Harris-Perry challenged the audience’s perception of this prominent representation. When Harris-Perry went into detail about King’s image, she spoke of two main points: his voice and his solidarity.

She explains that his voice had a major influence on his audiences. Melissa Harris-Perry has a voice of her own. Her voice in her commemoration speech “pinched us and thumped us,” said African American Cultural Center Assistant Director Darryl Lester in his closing remarks. “It was inspiring to see a woman of her caliber pay homage and commemorate the great Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., while simultaneously speaking about topics many are afraid to touch. I appreciated her ability to be down to earth yet still get her point across in an effective manner,” said Brayndon Stafford, Parliamentarian of the Afrikan American Student Advisory Council. “Where do we go from here?” is the question Harris-Perry asked her audience.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Disruptions of status quo provide opportunities for change.” Harris-Perry said,“We can’t breathe! So what must black bodies do to catch our breath? Does a marching black body still bring change? Does a broken black body still provoke moral outrage, when it didn’t even provoke an indictment?” Black bodies can bring change, but challengers of the status quo must be creative. Sometimes the things that worked many years ago don’t have the same effects. King said, “It’s the creative, dedicated minority who has made the world better.”