Oprah Winfrey

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

The Revolutionary Paideia 2010 Person of the Year: Oprah Winfrey

Revolutionary Paideia is proud to name Oprah Winfrey as its inaugural Person of the Year. Each year, Revolutionary Paideia will select a Person of the Year who embodies the spirit of “unsettling, unnerving, and unhousing” that founded this blog. The person has to comprehensively represent that spirit too. Oprah Winfrey is truly deserving of this award because she has achieved such greatness in the face of such opposition. Oprah has done things her way and has not focused on those who have been passionately trying to change her. Revolutionary Paideia is always proud of those who are willing to be themselves, especially when those people continue to be themselves when individuals harshly criticize and attack them for being themselves. In 25 years of service, Oprah has received some of the harshest criticism and most vicious attacks known to man. Her success has far surpassed harsh criticism and vicious attacks.

Oprah could end the final season of her unmatched The Oprah Winfrey Show and do nothing else and she would still be one of the greatest people to ever live. She has decided to take a significant risk and start her own network, The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). Although she acknowledges that starting her own network could end up being a colossal failure, she is not afraid to experience this potential colossal failure. This woman has to be applauded for her courage because when you’re at the top of your game it takes great courage to risk it all for yet another investment in potential greatness.

Oprah has been through so much in her life, but God has saw fit for her to experience the fullness of life in exchange for her being willing to not allow the Devil to defeat her.

People can say what they want to about Oprah but the key to her success has been her faith in God and her willingness to be a cheerful giver. This woman has helped people to launch successful careers (Dr. Phil, Rachel Ray, Dr. Oz, and etc.). Oprah has given her entire studio audience cars that have not even come out on the market for other consumers to purchase. Her audience members were ecstatic, of course. Oprah was even more excited than they were. She was happy to be in a position where she could give to so many people and make a significant difference in their lives. Being a cheerful giver and making a difference in the lives of others is what it’s all about.

I wish Oprah great success in all of her future endeavors. It is a great pleasure to name her The Revolutionary Paideia 2010 Person of the Year.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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

Oprah’s No Phone Zone Pledge

Oprah Winfrey has engaged in an important effort to make our roads safer by starting a movement to get people to no longer text and use their phones while they are driving. When you are using your phone while you are driving, you cannot fully concentrate on driving. The short amount of time you are distracted from driving can cause people to lose their lives. You don’t want your unnecessary use of your phone to cause someone else to lose his or her life. Think about all of the people who will be affected by your “need” to simply use your phone while you are driving. Oprah’s No Phone Zone Pledge allows for one to pull over and use the phone. Although it may seem so convenient to use the phone while you are driving, this does not represent the best driving practice. I encourage you to go to the following website and sign Oprah’s No Phone Zone Pledge today:  http://www.oprah.com/questionaire/ipledge.html?id=4

When you sign the No Phone Zone Pledge, you will joining the many thousands of people who have been responsible enough to acknowledge the grave danger that the use of a phone while driving can cause. I support the passage of laws in every state that would outlaw the use of cell phones while driving. I do not want the federal government to pass a bill that would outlaw cell phone use while driving, but I would like for each individual state to pass a bill that would deny people the right to use cell phones while they are driving. Each state should rely on a vote of the people of the state to decide whether they want a bill like this to become law. I think that a bill like this would be one that could save thousands of lives each year, and I think it will bring down the cost of automobile insurance for most.

Far too often, I see people trying to do too much while they are driving. The passage of a bill that would not allow the use of cell phones while driving would be a step in the right direction for ushering in a safer America. Although I generally support the government staying out of our lives, I think that this is a moment when government should step in to make sure that it is doing all it can to protect the American people. Too many lives have been lost because people have thought that they could not wait until they parked their cars before they used their cell phones. The time to feel sorry for accidentally killing someone on the road because you thought you needed to use your cell phone while driving was before you actually picked up your cell phone to use it. I really don’t think hands-free cell phone use is any better because you are still so engrossed in the conversation you are having and are not fully involved in driving like you should be. Again, go to http://www.oprah.com/questionaire/ipledge.html?id=4 and sign Oprah’s No Phone Zone Pledge today!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Revolutionary Paideia October 2010 Person of the Month: Tyler Perry

Tyler Perry

Each month, Revolutionary Paideia awards a Person of the Month to someone embodying the unsettling, unnerving, and unhousing spirit that founded this blog. By winning the Person of the Month, an individual is not precluded from winning the Person of the Year award. It is with great pleasure that Revolutionary Paideia names Tyler Perry as The Revolutionary Paideia October 2010 Person of the Month. Tyler Perry’s willingness to tackle taboo topics in the African-American community has unsettled, unnerved, and unhoused many African-Americans who have wished to bury serious discourses about issues like homosexuality that too often make many Blacks very uncomfortable. Revolutionary Paideia is proud of Tyler Perry for going public about being molested as a child by both men and a woman. I believe many Black men will now gain the courage to speak about how they have been victimized by people who have molested them as a result of Tyler Perry speaking out on this issue. America needs to engage more with serious discussions about molestation, especially African-Americans. African-Americans often want to push the issue of molestation under the rug because of the shame attached to it.

Tyler Perry has a truly moving and uniquely American story. His story is one that proves that if you are willing to fight against great challenges in your life, no matter how disquieting they may be, you can be successful in America. This Black man has been tremendously successful in a White-dominated Hollywood. People told Tyler that his style of films would never make it in Hollywood because they are too deeply connected to the Black Church and to religion in general. His critics could not have been more wrong. This year he is the second highest earner in Hollywood.

One thing that I appreciate most about Tyler Perry is his unwillingness to compromise his personal relationship with God for Hollywood’s money. Today, he has been so successful with his television show, plays, and films. In all that he has done, he has never allowed himself to get bigger than the God who put him in the position he is in today. He allows the African-American presence to be depicted in such a positive and comprehensive way in Hollywood than was previously available.

Although there are many people who do not like Perry’s style, he has refused to change his style to pacify his detractors. I have heard some horrible criticism waged against him. Spike Lee has been one of most unfair critics, but Spike Lee is just hating on Perry because he has never experienced the level of success, including financial success, that Perry has experienced. Spike Lee simply needs to step his game up. Tyler Perry’s films help to reveal some truths about Black people that Spike Lee has not been willing to explore in his work. Therefore, Mr. Spike Lee, we need Tyler Perry to do what you lack the testicular fortitude to do.

Again, it is a pleasure to name Tyler Perry as The Revolutionary Paideia October 2010 Person of the Month. Revolutionary Paideia proudly endorses Tyler Perry and his excellent body of work.

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