Tag: inspirational speech

Oprah Winfrey’s “The Life You Want” Tour Inspires Thousands

Iyanla Vanzant and Oprah Winfrey. Photo Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc. / George Burns.
Iyanla Vanzant and Oprah Winfrey. (Photo Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc. /George Burns)

Empowering. Enlightening. Magical. These three words only begin to describe this past weekend’s two-day event hosted by Oprah Winfrey.

Thousands of ticket-holders witnessed Winfrey’s wisdom during the icon’s official ‘Life You Want Weekend.’  Winfrey and her team of trailblazers took their wit on the road as they traveled nationwide for an unprecedented eight-city arena tour.

Friday and Saturday, Oprah took over Newark, New Jersey’s Prudential Center. People packed the stadium to embark on a journey of self-discovery, motivation and empowerment.

With the help of her popular panel of leaders — which includes Iyanla Vanzant — Oprah led the crowd through a remarkable series of events all aiming to help individuals discover their best selves.

During both days, attendees were invited to walk through the wonder of O Town – an interactive pop-up town square bustling with activities ranging from self-pampering beauty stations to networking opportunities with inspiring entrepreneurs.

Each guest was also given a special wristband programmed to dazzle with colors during each rousing segment, making the experience even more magical.

But it was Oprah’s personal speech Friday night that delivered the most noteworthy moments. She was welcomed by a spectacular, roaring greeting from the crowd as she graced the stage in a flattering, floor-length purple gown and led her legion of fans through lessons of struggle, revelation and triumph.

Oprah told listeners the story of her own journey to success — sharing personal anecdotes, photos and videos that resonated with gusto, even to those already familiar with her tale.

“I’m a huge fan of Oprah, so I knew her story already,” one attendee, Arleener Hall admitted to theGrio. “ I knew where she came from, I know everything about her, but just to be in her presence and hear her say it was even more amazing to me.”

In the videos, viewers saw a young and ambitious Oprah early in her years as a career professional yet well on her way to living a life she wanted. She was becoming a master of her own fate.

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Gabourey Sidibe’s Speech On Confidence Is Incredibly Moving

GABOUREY SIDIBE CONFIDENT

We’re just going to say it: Gabourey Sidibe is awesome.

She’s made to put up with a lot, but she doesn’t let the haters get her down. Not anymore.

Once again, the 30-year-old actress proved why she’s one of the strongest women in Hollywood with a powerful and moving speech about confidence at the Gloria Awards and Gala in New York City on May 1.

Sidibe opened by declaring that she loathes questions about the source of her confidence.

“I hate that,” Sidibe told the crowd. “I always wonder if that’s the first thing they ask Rihanna when they meet her. ‘RiRi! How are you so confident?’ Nope. No. No. But me? They ask me with that same incredulous disbelief every single time. ‘You seem so confident! How is that?'”

After telling a story about the cruelty of children and the importance of thinking highly of yourself, she circled back:

“Gabourey, how are you so confident?” It’s not easy. It’s hard to get dressed up for award shows and red carpets when I know I will be made fun of because of my weight. There’s always a big chance if I wear purple, I will be compared to Barney. If I wear white, a frozen turkey. And if I wear red, that picture of Kool-Aid that says, “Oh, yeah!” Twitter will blow up with nasty comments about how the recent earthquake was caused by me running to a hot dog cart or something. And “Diet or Die?” [She gives the finger to that] This is what I deal with every time I put on a dress. This is what I deal with every time someone takes a picture of me. Sometimes when I’m being interviewed by a fashion reporter, I can see it in her eyes, “How is she getting away with this? Why is she so confident? How does she deal with that body? Oh my God, I’m going to catch fat!”

The former “American Horror Story” star went on to say that every day she went to school, people made fun of her, and that she had to go home to a place where everyone made fun of her as well. But when she moved in with her aunt, Dorothy Pitman Hughes, whom she described as a “feminist, an activist, and a lifelong friend of Gloria Steinem,” a portrait of her aunt and Steinem together gave her hope and strength.

The actress closed out her speech returning again to the question of confidence — something she hopefully won’t have to address again.

“How are you so confident?” “I’m an asshole!” Okay? It’s my good time, and my good life, despite what you think of me. I live my life, because I dare. I dare to show up when everyone else might hide their faces and hide their bodies in shame. I show up because I’m an asshole, and I want to have a good time. And my mother and my father love me. They wanted the best life for me, and they didn’t know how to verbalize it. And I get it. I really do. They were better parents to me than they had themselves. I’m grateful to them, and to my fifth grade class, because if they hadn’t made me cry, I wouldn’t be able to cry on cue now. [Dabs tears] If I hadn’t been told I was garbage, I wouldn’t have learned how to show people I’m talented. And if everyone had always laughed at my jokes, I wouldn’t have figured out how to be so funny. If they hadn’t told me I was ugly, I never would have searched for my beauty. And if they hadn’t tried to break me down, I wouldn’t know that I’m unbreakable. [Dabs tears] So when you ask me how I’m so confident, I know what you’re really asking me: how could someone like me be confident? Go ask Rihanna, asshole!”

To read Sidibe’s entire speech, head over to Vulture.

article by Stephanie Marcus via huffingtonpost.com

Soledad O’Brien Gives Harvard Speech, Tells Grads Don’t Take Advice, Listen to Your Heart

SEVERAL YEARS AGO when a women’s magazine asked CNN special correspondent and 2013 Harvard Class Day speaker Soledad O’Brien ’88 about the best advice she ever received, she recalled what her tough Cuban mother once told her: “Most people are idiots.”

The words were a bit too harsh to make it into the magazine, but O’Brien said the advice has stuck with her because it rang true: Most people are idiots, she said, because instead of building you up, they will tell you why you will fail.

“Do not listen to others people’s take on the life you should lead,” O’Brien told the audience of seniors, families, and friends gathered in Tercentenary Theatre today for the Class Day ceremony. “By not listening, you can figure out what your heart is telling you to do.”

O’Brien called her own parents excellent role models in not listening. Her Cuban mother and Australian father were a couple in Maryland in 1958, when it was illegal to be in an interracial relationship. As they walked down the street together, they were regularly spit on and called names. When O’Brien—one of six children who all graduated from Harvard—asked her mother how she dealt with such racism, her mother replied that she knew America “was better than that,” and wanted to be part of the change.

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