Gayle King

An Early Review of The Oprah Winfrey Network

First, I have to say that I’m tremendously proud of Oprah Winfrey for having the courage to start her own network because she could have just went off the scene and basked in her great success. I do like the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) but I would like to see some significant improvements with the programming on the network. Although Gayle King is a member of this network, I want to see more of a Black presence on the network. As an African-American woman with over $2 billion, Oprah Winfrey has the opportunity to bring a greater Black presence into the homes of members of the dominant culture and non-members of the dominant culture. Right now, however, she has not capitalized on an opportunity to do this. Oprah also needs to make it much more affordable for more people, especially low-income people, to be able to purchase OWN.

Right now, the network looks too much like the Style and Food Network channels. I would expect Oprah to be much more creative than appearing nothing more than a mere copy or extension of the Style and Food Network channels. I understand that food and the type of programming on the Style channel are top interests of Oprah, but I would have expected her to give us more of the creativity that has made her other ventures such a success.

I’m a big fan of Oprah and not one of these people who just likes to negatively criticize people for no reason at all. This piece simply reflects my honest early reaction to OWN. No matter what Oprah does with OWN, I’m going to continue to love her and support her. I just want her to make significant improvements to her network. I know that her network is in its infancy and this is why I’m going to continue to follow her network to see how it evolves.

I very much encourage you to check out Oprah’s new network. For those who have had an opportunity to watch OWN, I’m interested in your early thoughts about it.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Oprah and Gayle Epitomize True Friendship

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

Thankful for Oprah Winfrey

English: Oprah Winfrey when she was with Barac...

Although there is a tremendous amount of negativity everywhere about Oprah Winfrey, I decided to take a few moments and compose some thoughts about this great woman with a beautiful spirit. It seems like everyone has some kind of opinion about Oprah. I have one also but elect to have a positive opinion about her. Regardless of whether you like her or not, her “rags to riches” story represents the quintessential American success narrative. Oprah makes me proud each time that I see her. Her life informs us that miracles can happen and that one can overcome experiencing severe traumas.

When some African-Americans say that Oprah is not a “real Black woman,” it makes me so angry because they overlook the meaningful contributions she has made to Black people, including giving millions of dollars to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and the reality that she played a significant role in the election of Barack Obama, the first Black President of the U.S. NAACP put her in its Hall of Fame. I listen to her acceptance speech of the NAACP Hall of Fame award every morning before I leave home. It’s so inspiring. If you have not listened to it, then you should search for it on YouTube. You will be so glad that you did. To the Black people who question Oprah’s authenticity, please stop this and recognize the love this woman has for Black people and everyone else too.

I love how Oprah has become more and more open about her personal relationship with Jesus. On her shows, she will not hesitate to mention how much she loves Jesus or to suggest Jesus as a means of helping people to deal with difficult issues and problems. I really appreciate her transparency about her love of Jesus on and off of her show. Her love of Jesus is one of the fundamental reasons why she has been successful. This love of Jesus is evident through her tremendously giving spirit. She is not a billionaire who keeps all of her money to herself—she shares her money with others in a meaningful way. Oprah, you will be continuously blessed for giving to people so freely as you do.

When people say that Oprah and Gayle, her bestfriend, are involved in a lesbian relationship, it makes me angry. Calling Oprah a lesbian just because she has a true friendship with Gayle suggests that such a relationship can only emerge from a sexually intimate relationship. This is such limited thinking. Although this is such limited thinking, many people engage in this limited thinking when it comes to Oprah’s friendship with Gayle. Grow up people! Move beyond the superficial and move toward the substantial. The haters of the true friendship Oprah has with Gayle simply long to have a friendship like the one they have.

Oprah deserves your support and appreciation for the great things she has done for so many people. Today, Oprah, I salute you for being a great American and electing to be such a compassionate woman. I look forward to the many great things you will do in the future.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison