Why I don’t dislike Oprah

Oprah with the flippy hair.

I can’t sit through an entire episode of Oprah. Not if I have a choice. There’s something grating about the audience; the fact that they punctuate every sentence she utters with vigorous applause annoys me like no other. I’m naturally wary of that sort of adulation.

But as her show wrapped up filming this week (and she was the cover story in the  USA TODAY newspaper I read this morning, while eating some surprisingly delicious French toast), the magnitude of Oprah’s impact really hit me. In lieu of all the negative black women crap I’ve been imbibing (a combination of taking the class “Morrison, Walker, and Lorde” and reading that ridiculous Pscychology Today article about the apparent scientifically proven unattractiveness of black women), Oprah stands alone as the big blazing exception.

Home girl grew up dirt poor in Mississippi. She got pregnant at 14. Yet somehow through all that she was able to rise and become the single biggest cultural phenomenon of our time. And I’m not being hyperbolic. There’s at least one political scientist that credits Oprah with bringing in 1 million more votes to Barack Obama’s campaign. She got 90 million Americans to buy Anna Karenina. (Anna Karenina! Does that strike you as the kind of book 90 million Americans would buy on their own accord?) She has unprecedented power and influence. And she is an unapologetic black woman.

Straight up undeniably, milk chocolate black. And voluptuously, convincingly, biologically woman.

That her show gets broadcast in 150 countries around the world (including Nigeria, where I was incidentally forced, for the first time in a long time, to sit through an episode) is ridiculous. That she can win 35 Emmys until she so graciously took herself out of the running is ridiculous. That she can grace Time’s list of 100 most influential people  an unprecedented six times is ridiculous.

I marvel at the kind of steely determination, cutthroatness, and arrogance that this woman must have to get so far. And yet I CAN’T watch her show. I’d rather watch endless episodes of Season 9 Scrubs and that’s pretty awful. I suppose that this blog post, then, is the closest thing to a tribute. 25 years, man. I must give props where props are due.


4 Comments on “Why I don’t dislike Oprah”

  1. R.Cohen says:

    You have summed up EXACTLY how I feel about her too.

  2. […] Like Oprah, Beyonce has become one of those black celebrities where you really just have to shake your head in resignation over some of her decisions and then give props where props are due. Whenever you want to cringe at her fashion choices over the years, the blackface incident , the whiteface incident, the fact that she stole that beat from Major Lazer…we could go on–you just have to stop. […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s