25 years have come and gone and while I never realized my dream of flying to Chicago to meet Oprah, I hope to meet her some day so that I can say thank you face to face for giving this little black girl hope for the future, for paving the way for women of all nationalities to believe in themselves and live their best lives.
When Oprah announced that her show would be ending in 2011, I was left feeling empty. I have been a fan of the Oprah Winfrey Show since I was in grade school. Now at the age of 31, I wondered what I would do from now on at 4:00pm. I slowly realized that there would be no more beauty and fashion advice to keep me on trend and no more Dr. Oz or Suze Orman to help me make health and financial decisions.
I remember rushing home from school to turn the television to Channel 11 to watch the Oprah Winfrey Show, then rushing home from work or a doctor appointment to watch the Oprah Winfrey Show. For me, Oprah represented progress for African Americans and women alike. I understand our history as Africans in America and women in a man’s world and I was proud of Oprah.
I watched Oprah evolve throughout the years, all the hair styles, fashion and makeup trends, her struggles with weight loss, the triumphs and the celebrations. In that, I saw myself, my dreams and my hopes. If Oprah Winfrey can achieve super stardom after overcoming racism, sexism, abuse and poverty, so can I. I have endured some of the same struggles as an African American woman stepping out in the world to achieve professional and personal success.
The friendship Oprah has with Gayle is unmatched. I must say, I have my own Gayle King-a best friend. We have been best friends since the seventh grade. There is nothing like a good friend. As Oprah and Gayle have said many times, men come and go but a friend is forever. My best friend and I have laughed, cried, shared many secrets and have been there for one another. A true friendship is what a lot of people are lacking in their lives.
I have always admired the relationship Oprah and Stedman share. Their bond exemplifies dedication and longevity, which is virtually non-existent in today’s society. It is not often that you find two individuals who are as devoted to one another as they are. I am still waving the flag for them to get married, but respect their decision. Oprah and Stedman represent all that we should be- in love, honest and true.
When Oprah recently discovered that she had another sister, I admired her courage for deciding to share this private moment with the world. I then began to wonder if I too had another sister, a brother or a twin. OMG! The secrets we keep tucked away became apparent as I watched that show.
I was pleased that they found one another and hope that others begin to release the skeletons from their closets. The way her sister discovered who her family was is yet another example of how God works. Just when you think you have hit a dead end in your quest for to discover who you are, God shows you exactly who you are while watching television. Figure that. It’s like the whisper Oprah spoke about on her last show, we simply have to be still and listen.
It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye
I’ve never been good with goodbyes. Watching the last Oprah Winfrey Show brought tears to my eyes. I appreciated the fact that there were no guests so that Oprah could say goodbye. A comedian joked that he thought her last guest would be Jesus but no, it was Oprah herself.
I wondered like everyone else what would become of her staff and was delighted to hear that they would continue working at Harpo. Watching Season 25: Behind the Scenes showcased their many talents and it was clear why she hired them.
As Oprah said, life is a class. I have learned over the years, with the help of God, my family and Oprah, I only need to continue being who I am.
Success comes in many forms, so whether or not I become rich and famous like Oprah, I can be a super mother, a powerhouse professional, true friend, good sister, giving daughter, exceptional writer, excellent teacher, devoted business owner and profound leader.
Oprah has touched many lives, educated millions and renewed the hope of billions. To be able to accomplish all that she has, give without wishing for anything in return and continuing to dreaming bigger than life dreams reassures me that anything is possible as long as I believe. From Angel Lane to the Morehouse Scholarships to the Oprah Winfrey School for Girls, she has taught many individuals how to fish.
My journey with Oprah does not end with the last taping of the Oprah Winfrey Show, it continues as I apply the tips, principles and advice she and her guests have taught me about life, love, respect and faith.