Tomorrow will be the final episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show. It is signing off after 25 years on the air. The show has had an amazing run. No show with a black star as it's center has lasted as long as the Oprah Winfrey Show. I've never been a huge fan of the Oprah Winfrey show, mostly because I really don't care for talk shows. Yet, I've always been an admirer of Oprah herself. Last week one of my students called Oprah Winfrey a fake. I took offense to that. Here is why...
I am a poor little black girl from Mississippi. I, too, saw education as a way out; however, it was to help others get out. In Oprah, I saw someone who was not ashamed to be educated. I saw a woman who encouraged people to pick up a book and read. I saw someone who could sit down at a table with presidents and princes, but wouldn't mind shooting the breeze on the front porch either. She is everything to everyone.
You call her a fake. I call her real. She is a business woman who is smart enough to know her demographics. She never comes to the table without being fully versed about her guest or business partner. She carries herself like a lady. If her guest needs a shoulder, she gives them hers. If her guest needs a laugh, she gives them hers.
You call her self-serving. That may or may not be true, but at the end of the day, she is serving. She gives back and gives back. Mahatma Gandhi once said, "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." She made it possible for over 64,000 individuals to obtain a college education, including over 400 young men at Morehouse, she gave over 6 million dollars to help build the Oprah Winfrey Boys and Girls club in her hometown of Kosciusko, Mississippi, and she has the Oprah Winfrey foundation, which she started with 36 million dollars of her own money, which distribute $8 million to numerous educational, arts and medical venues to be used for her Oprah Winfrey Scholarships. She is giving back by helping make these children the best they can be and giving us all doctors, lawyers, judges and other professionals.
You don't like her message. What has her message ever been except to be the best you, that you can possibly be. I see nothing wrong with that.
I admire her courage, her strength, and her heart. I admire that she encourages not just children, but adults to be the best they can be. She encourages you to read and expand your mind. She encourages you to serve.
Thank you, Ms. Winfrey...
"Self-esteem comes from being able to define the world in your own terms and refusing to abide by the judgments of others." — Oprah Winfrey