Although many Black people think that Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King are involved in a lesbian relationship, they make this assumption because they have never experienced true friendship. Many Black people don’t understand what true friendship is. Black women often hate on one another, so when they see Oprah and Gayle’s love for one another, the only thing that they can think about is they are lesbians. Oprah and Gayle have repeatedly denied rumors about them being lesbians. As a truly transparent woman, Oprah would not need to hide that she is a lesbian if this was true. When you think about it, if she was a lesbian, all she would need to do is say it and many women will go out and become lesbians. Oprah has a history of influencing millions of people inside and outside of America to do what she says, does, or recommends.
In an interview with Barbara Walters, Oprah was brought to tears as she reflected on her love for Gayle. Oprah expressed again that she is not a lesbian—not even somewhat of a lesbian. The reason why Oprah has to answer questions about her potentially being a lesbian stems from a social reality that many Black people don’t love their “friends”—not even their “best friends.” If your friend does not love you, then you don’t have a friend. Oprah and Gayle are showing us how friends, especially best friends, love one another. In the Black community, many of us need to stop rejecting things simply because we don’t understand them. If you cannot explain the friendship between Oprah and Gayle as nothing more than authentic friendship, then don’t simply resort to using a simple and unfounded explanation about it. Stop saying that they are lesbians—haters! I want you to be more nuanced in your thinking than that.
Many Black people are so envious of successful Blacks. Labeling is often used as a vehicle to attempt to engender negative perceptions of successful people. Many Blacks are using labeling as their medium to attack successful Blacks. Since Oprah has not elected to marry a man yet, many Blacks find that she must be a lesbian. They selectively choose to overlook the fact that Oprah has been involved with Stedman Graham for years, although she has not made public all of the intimate details of their relationship. Have you made public all of the intimate details of your relationship with your significant other? I am confident that your answer is no.
Oprah and Gayle are showing us beautiful Black love and we should embrace it, learn from it, and strive for it. In a time when we see Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj trying to bring one another down in public, we should find hope in such a great relationship that Oprah and Gayle have. Black people have to be willing to lift one another up if they expect non-Blacks to lift them up as well.
I have the fortune to share in the type of love Oprah and Gayle have with my Black male best friend. Many Black men and women have called us gay simply because they cannot understand how two men can love one another so much and not be having sexual intercourse with one another. While it certainly does not bother either one of us, it does demonstrate how many Black people need to elevate their level of thinking. If they would give themselves the opportunity, they could experience this type of friendship with others. While you can enjoy great relationships with your family members, there’s nothing like having a true best friend who you can share so much with that you cannot necessarily share with your family members. Just as Oprah said that Gayle is the sister she never had, my Black male best friend is the brother I never had. We love one another just like we are biological brothers. This authentic friendship that we have has developed such a bond between our families that one would think that we are all biologically connected.
I am, therefore, able to appreciate the love Gayle and Oprah share. It is a love that speaks to the best of what America is and can be. Give yourself an opportunity to experience this type of love with a member of the same gender. You will thank yourself later.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison