- ‘Really, Really Messed Up My Life’
- Quick Start to Healthy Weight Loss
- Black Men Can Beat Prostate Cancer
- Health Screenings for Older Black Men
- Healthy Man of the Month for July 2016
- HIV Testing is HIV Prevention
- Your ‘Mental’ Endurance
- Bisexual Health Priorities
- Entertainment CEO DonJuan Clark
- New Drug Helps Men with Melanoma
25 Years of Oprah!
It is done. Twenty-five years of The Oprah Winfrey Show has come and gone. If you are like me, you should be nearing the “acceptance” stage on the grief scale. One of the longest-running daytime television talk shows began its national run on September 8, 1986. A former journalism student, I recall the initial show topic was “How to marry the guy/girl of your dreams?” or something like that. Obviously I was not part of the intended demographic but I’ve been a student for 25 seasons!
“The Oprah Show” was never just about “talk.” There were many, many valuable life lessons that really could only have been done by Ms. Winfrey. During a time when so many other talk shows sensationalized and riled the viewer, I recall Oprah reading from the Bible, introducing us to new ways of thinking about relationships, sex, money, and developing a better sense of our own purpose. Through the fun, hoots, and ugly cries, there was a great deal of practical accomplishments that no other TV talk show can boast.
There are lots of reasons to laud the iconic television talk show. Here are some of mine.
- The book club that inspired millions to read and (re)discover the old and “new classics”
- The Angel Network charity that helped thousands after Hurricane Ivan, Andrew, and Katrina and other causes
- Gave safe harbor to victims of sexual abuse, addiction, violence, making it okay to talk about it and heal
- Raised awareness of women and children’s issues domestically and worldwide
- Took on mental illness and substance abuse issues with guests like Trudi Chase and Backstreet Boy, A.J. McLean
- March 2010, Winfrey began a campaign to stop drivers from talking or texting on their cell phones while driving
- Testified before Congress on behalf of the National Child Protection Act (known as the Oprah bill) which became law in 1993, creating a national database of sex offenders for law enforcement
- Giving spiritual teacher, author, and counselor Iyanla Vanzant a platform to speak to millions
- Demonstrated to an entire generation the value of being “your authentic self” in a culture that doesn’t celebrate overweight
black women with wide noses and funny names
- Inspired millions to support education for young people domestically and abroad. The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls is a global model for girls and education
- Used her own money ($100,000) as reward to catch several notorious child sex offenders
It was the best example of a platform being used to teach, support, and to try again. We all know Ms. Winfrey has amassed a financial fortune and will be working on her Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) so there are no telethons for her but a solid “thank you.” It’s not every day that an African American person has such influence on a culture in a way she has and it should not be understated that she used her power for good. So as Ms. Winfrey and we all move to the next chapter, I am taking this lesson to heart—“when you find your life’s passion, your purpose, embrace it and follow it fully.” Life is not just about living, it’s about being ALIVE.