“I admit I am tired of changing my voice and wearing a wig in order to report on TV.” – Tiffany Noble-Jones
Former co-anchor for WJTV This Morning Tiffany Noble-Jones was courageous enough to break her silence about the discrimination that she had experienced on her job. It was all because she chose to wear her natural hair.
Her story adds to a long history of black women journalists whose advancement in our media and political culture has been no easy task.
If you aren’t familiar with the Noble-Jones story, it swamped the internet after she finally decided to fight back.
The noble journalist, her name on Instagram, was fired from her job after complaining about being treated unfairly and filed a case against her former bosses with EEOC.
She reported that she was pressured to straighten her hair and look like a beauty queen. Not only was she allegedly treated unfairly for her hair-texture but for her pregnancy on the job.
In an emotional Instagram post, she shared her story:
“It took me 8 long months to finally find the courage to explain why I suddenly disappeared from WJTV as the Morning Anchor,” she wrote. “I was living in shame, embarrassed that I no longer wanted to work in local TV news after my family & NABJ poured everything they had into me. I knew God wanted me to write down my story – but I kept running,” she continued.
Noble-Jones, who was named the 2015 Emerging Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), had the privilege of covering the infamous #MikeBrown story. This opportunity would be an honor for any journalist. The high profile case gave her valuable exposure.
As a journalist, it is already incredibly hard to make a name for yourself, especially as a black-woman. So Noble-Jones’ protest was an act of bravery. You’re faced with many risks when complaining of discrimination. No one may believe you or you may be blackballed by networks and ruin your career.
Noble took that chance!
“I did it. I finally told #Mississippi why I was forced out. I explained what it’s like to report in the south. The confederacy is alive and well y’all and it’s impacting the way we share stories.”
For a long-time, it has been no secret about what will happen when black journalists fight back. Allegedly, Noble-Jones was fired after complaining about several incidences of harassment and abuse from her bosses. She later said her hair was called into question when she told her boss she was pregnant.
“After announcing that I was pregnant, I was no longer included in commercials. I felt the need to starve myself to fit in. I now weigh only 108 pounds. I did eat while I was pregnant and while carrying my son and postpartum, I wasn’t allowed to represent the station and my events were given away to another white reporter,” she wrote.
When she asked why she was being left out of work promos, her boss gave a surprising response.
“At 34 weeks, I asked my boss why I was being left out of work promos — I am the target audience as a young mom,” Noble told Yahoo Lifestyle. “He told me, ‘Why should I? You’re not a mom yet.’”
Many people are inspired by her bold and courageous move and took to social media to tell their own personal stories.
After Noble-Jones’ son, Michael Fulton Jones III, was born on October 16, 2016, she ran into more problems.
“Let’s be clear, my look has never been unprofessional on TV. But my boss would invite me into his office for closed-door meetings where he got away with saying extremely unprofessional comments,” she posted. “After having my son, I asked my news director if I could stop straightening my hair. A month after giving me the green light I was pulled back into his office. I was told ‘My natural hair is unprofessional and the equivalent to him throwing on a baseball cap to go to the grocery store.’ He said ‘Mississippi viewers needed to see a beauty queen.’ He even asked, ‘why my hair doesn’t lay flat.’ When I asked him how I should address the change on social media he told me to write ‘I was told to change my hair back to the way it was because that’s what looks best.’ I chose not to post his suggested line because it would be hurtful to other black women who share my 3c hair texture. I admit I am tired of changing my voice and wearing a wig in order to report on TV,” she wrote.
Ms. Noble-Jones’ story comes shortly after an incident in the news with three black journalists in 2018.
In an article in the New York Times, “When Black Journalists Fight Back,” the author brought attention to the struggle for black women to create a name for themselves in media and in our political culture that date back to two centuries, using the 2018 midterms as an example.
It talks about when the president sparred three times in three days with Yamiche Alcindor of the PBS NewsHour, Abby Phillip of CNN and April Ryan of the American Urban Radio Network — “denigrating the reporters and their questions in terms that included ‘loser,’ ‘stupid’ and ‘racist”
Greats like the first black woman to publish a newspaper, Mary Ann Shadd Cary, experienced these same issues with her debut, The Provincial Freemanit. She later migrated to Canada West (today’s Ontario) to avoid U.S. laws against independent black activism in order to become successful.
What about Ida B. Wells whose aim to defend the rights of black Americans nearly threatened her life?
This is why Tiffany Noble-Jones’ story is so important! Because it is personal!
Currently, Noble-Jones’ case is on hold due to the shutdown. She works part-time at Michael Kors while her 2-year-old son is staying with his father. She is currently staying with a friend, according to BET. What are your thoughts?
Pray for Justice for Noble-Jones