In case you turn off your television (or social media) before sundown, you probably missed one of the most interesting news pieces of the day. It’s a rule of thumb that those who report the news should never become the news, but one viewer just couldn’t help it. When Jan Shedd took to Facebook to air out her grievance against Demetria Obilor the new morning traffic anchor, she had no idea she’d join her as a news item! It was a simple post, one of personal opinion and conviction. She just had it wrong. Let’s face it, women in the news have a really hard time. A lot goes into the camera ready look: extensions, lashes, makeup, waist slimmers are all part of the enhancement regimen for many anchors and reporters and to still be criticized for their appearance is insufferable!
If people are wigging out about Obilor’s traffic look, they would spontaneously combust watching the weather in Mexico! Perhaps, this is just another case of people needing to get out more! It’s a lot more common to see attractive women in the news doing traffic and weather in other countries. Shedd’s body shaming post was coldly received by almost every person that saw the post. Support for Obilor poured in from viewers and broadcasting colleagues from everywhere.
Let’s be clear: The problem is not what Obilor wears, it’s the body and skin in the dress. Non-black women wear the same dresses in smaller sizes everyday and the moment a confident woman fills out the same dress with more curves, it’s too much for television! I’m not buying it!
Shedd’s post was a simple one, the replies were not. Before long, Shedd was swatting insults as if she’d been swarmed by gnats. And before sundown, she herself was a news item! People took issue with Shedd’s appearance and labeled her envious of Obilor’s body build, style and even labeled her racist. News magazines like Ebony, Essence, The Root, The Dallas Morning News and others picked up the story and chimed in! It was big news and as Chance the Rapper tweeted in response to the story on twitter, Jan was BIG mad! Everything is truly bigger here in Texas, even stories like this one that would otherwise have flown under the radar and existed in the microcosm of Jan Shedd’s friends list.
Though she is proficient at reporting (and probably stopping) traffic, she is receiving most of the attention about her appearance. She’s a woman of color in the news for all the wrong reasons and we’ve got to be careful here. It’s 2017 and almost daily there’s a new confession or accusation in Hollywood, even Capitol Hill about sexual improprieties or harassment.
Before her arrival, news watchers had their sights set on the morning broadcast at Dallas’ WFAA station. Now that she’s here, she has no doubt garnered her fair share of attention, because she’s actually doing her job well!
Though Obilor is young, vivacious and voluptuous, our defense of her has to toe a line as well. There’s been an uptick on my timeline of men suddenly interested in News 8 Daybreak? That’s the way everything works, I guess. I have yet to personally catch Obilor in action. Though the morning hashtag is #IAMUP, I am NOT up in time to catch Daybreak. I’m working on that, though! (LOL)
So, while we’re defending her let’s make sure we don’t do so by objectifying her. She is smart, she is proficient and she is our sister! Obilor joins the suddenly diversifying landscape of people of color in the news here in the area. WFAA is also home to 2017We love what we’re seeing and we’re glad for this level of on-camera representation!