Rhonda A. Lee (pictured), the Black woman who was fired from her meteorologist job in Shreveport, La., after defending her natural hair on the station’s Facebook page, has just accepted a job with a national weather channel in Colorado.
Lee announced on her Twitter and Facebook pages that she has accepted a meteorology position with WeatherNation in Denver. “By all accounts, it is my dream job and I am thrilled to be a part of the WeatherNation family,” she said Thursday night on Facebook. Lee told NewsOne that she accepted the position a week ago but wanted to fine tune some particulars before making an announcement.
The offer came soon after the veteran weather woman had lost hope of ever working in television again.
“A month ago, I told my husband that I’m pretty sure I would never work in weather again,” she said. “I had completely lost faith, but in a matter of a week or so, all of a sudden, three people showed interest in me. It was an awakening is what it was. I really had given up.”
Lee had several offers in other markets, including a chief meteorologist position, but went with WeatherNation because it’s a national network that reaches millions of homes. Lee doesn’t know when she will be on-air, but says she will be on Channel 361 on DIRECTV. She, her husband, and their 10-month-old son will be moving to Denver in a few weeks.
More than a year and a half has past since Lee was fired from KTBS 3 News, an ABC affiliate in Shreveport, after she responded to users on Facebook who complained about her natural hairstyle. The station said Lee was fired for violating its social media policy. She has filed an EEOC complaint against the station and is in mediation to resolve her dismissal. Lee said she has no regrets about defending her natural hair and says her dispute with the Shreveport station hasn’t been an issue with her new employer.
“It wouldn’t require anything more than a brief explanation,” she said. “My new boss said, ‘I heard about that,’ and we moved on so that was it. Every once in a while in life, you find good people with good sense who know talent when they see it and know a good employee when they see it.”
Despite the frustration that comes from refusing to change her hair style to have a more mainstream, broadcast aesthetic, Lee says sticking to her values made the pain of unemployment worth it.
It’s revealing to me that you should never give up,” she said. “I tell people that all the time in any speech that I give. For me to actually follow my own advice is a pretty beautiful thing.”