Charisse Gibson, a Louisiana news anchor, was criticized for wearing a pendant in the shape of Africa last week. Gibson, who anchors the evening newscast at WWL-TV in New Orleans, shared on Twitter a screenshot of an email she received from a viewer who indicated that her Africa pendant was un-American.
“If you persist in wearing a medallion of Africa please know that I will change channels,” the viewer wrote. “You are an American first and should be proud of that.”
“Nah,” Gibson wrote on Twitter in response to the viewer. Her fellow journalists and fans praised her for her response. Gibson said she wears the Africa pendant regularly and thinks the viewer is not comfortable with it because of its links with the slave trade, according to Nola.com.
“I’m African-American,” Gibson told Nola.com. “It’s what I’m rooted in, and where I came from helped build this country.”
The New Orleans native, who said she can trace her family to St. John the Baptist Parish and Mississippi, is not the first Black journalist to be criticized over appearance. In 2017, Mississippi newscaster Maggie Wade was told that her hair, weight and wardrobe were “offensive.” In 2020, reporter Amanda DeVoe of WKRG in Mobile, Alabama received an email from a viewer who asked the station to “not let the black girl lead the Morning news!”
The viewer went on to call DeVoe “illiterate” and added: “We do not need/want to see Her Kind Every morning we start our day here in South Alabama.”
Gibson has said that she has no plans of arguing with the viewer who sent her the disgusting email message.
“I’m not arguing this,” Gibson said, according to Nola.com. “I’d never deny my culture.”
Gibson, whose career in journalism has taken her to Cincinnati and Shreveport and New Orleans, is a national Murrow Award and Emmy Award winner. She is also president of the New Orleans Association of Black Journalists.