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Friday, April 15, 2011

Oprah's Place All Her OWN

by Cyrus Webb for the March/April issue of Conversations Magazine

For 25 years the world has benefited from the talent and tenacity of the Queen of Daytime Talk, Oprah Winfrey. She has managed to acquire adoring fans from every corner of the globe and in the process made us feel as though on some level she could identify with us. Isn’t that after all the source of her power? The ability to be all things to all people? I would say so, and whether you have followed her over the years or just recently joined the Oprah bandwagon, there is no doubt that she has changed the way most of us look at life.

For me Oprah represented the very essence of what is considered the American Dream. She came from extremely humble beginnings to achieve a level of wealth, prestige and power that few can truly comprehend. Over the past couple of decades we have witnessed her tackle her own personal demons while helping us battle our own. Year after year her loyal supporters united in with their time and their hearts, and she gave of herself freely and willingly with each and every show.

There has been talk over the years about the level of influence that Oprah holds, and some have wondered aloud exactly where would it end. She has denied any political ambitions for herself, but in the 2008 election it was undeniable that her support of then Senator Barack Obama over then Senator Hillary Clinton contributed to his amazing victory. Though some criticized her decision to openly back a candidate, in many ways I feel it would have been “unOprahlike” for her not to do so. As she said time and again her heart told her it was the right thing to do, and we know her to be an individual that goes with her heart.

Due to listening to her heart, Oprah announced that her 25th season of her talk show would be her last. In January 2011 a new chapter of her life began: that being the birth of the Oprah Winfrey Network or OWN. Here was a channel devoted entirely to content approved by Oprah herself and it featured a mix of docu-dramas, reality shows, movies and of course talk shows. Among the stars supporting the network are journalist Lisa Ling, the Judds, Shania Twain and Rosie O’Donnell. Currently the only live show is The Gayle King Show which brings her popular radio show to tv.
As someone who was excited about the new endeavor I have found my favorite programs that speak to me and my own interests (namely Season 25: Oprah Behind The Scenes, Our America hosted by Lisa Ling, the reality show Your OWN Show and Master Class). Regardless of whether I can relate or enjoy everything on the channel, there is also a certain excitement in knowing that no matter what day you might tune in you are getting a glimpse into the wide-ranging demographics that Oprah has managed to speak to and inspire over the years.

So what is next for the woman that seemingly has everything? It’s hard to say, but regardless of what she chooses to do next, you can believe that the world will continue to watch, take notes and talk about how the little girl from Mississippi was able to conquer the world.

Find out more about Oprah, the network and her current projects at

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