Tag: “The Oprah Winfrey Show”

BHM: Let’s Honor Oprah! Entrepreneur, Media Maven, Philanthropist, Actor, Influencer… Genius

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

Not many people on Earth have their names become synonymous with genius in their profession, let alone genius in general. Einstein, Shakespeare, Mozart, even Spielberg and Prince easily come to mind. Notably, they are all men, mostly White, and only one is known by his first name. But when you say, “Hey, where are the women? What women do you think of when someone says ‘Who are the geniuses?,'” an immediate response would (or should) be… Oprah.

It may seem like opinion, but I want to go on record that saying “Oprah Winfrey is a genius” is a fact, and one that should be touted widely. Oprah’s status as a cultural icon, media mogul and inspirational leader is taken as a given, but when you look back and reflect on her journey from rural poverty in Mississippi to global icon, you too will recognize how much intelligence, excellence and genius it took to get there and what’s more – stay there.

What follows below in regards to recognizable achievement, vision and success rightfully will only add credence to the “Oprah Winfrey is a genius” fact, but I submit that the secret sauce of Oprah’s claim to that title has been best articulated (and realized) by Oprah herself:

Everybody has a calling. And your real job in life is to figure out as soon as possible what that is, who you were meant to be, and to begin to honor that in the best way possible for yourself. – Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Gail Winfrey, originally named “Orpah” after the biblical figure in the Book of Ruth but had it misspelled and mispronounced so much that “Oprah”  stuck, recently celebrated her 65th birthday on January 29, 1954. Winfrey was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, to Vernita Lee, an unmarried teenage mother and housemaid, and Vernon Winfrey, a coal miner turned barber turned city councilman who had been in the Armed Forces when Oprah was born.

According to wikipedia.org, Winfrey spent her first six years living with her maternal grandmother, Hattie Mae Lee, who was so poor that Winfrey often wore dresses made of potato sacks, and the local children made fun of her. Her grandmother, ever in Oprah’s corner, taught her to read before the age of three and took her to church, where she was nicknamed “The Preacher” for her preternatural ability to recite Bible verses and command the stage.

Despite parental neglect from her mother, sexual abuse by family members from the age of nine, and the stillbirth of a son at age 14, Oprah’s intellect and ability to speak powerfully in public earned her a full ride to HBCU Tennessee State University on an Oratory Scholarship.

As Oprah honed her skills through education and experience, she became the youngest news anchor and the first black female news anchor at Nashville’s WLAC-TV. Oprah then became an anchor in the larger market of Baltimore, MD before taking over the hosting position of low-rated AM Chicago in 1984.

Oprah aligned her talents, smarts, professionalism and relatability to catapult her over Phil Donahue’s long-venerated talk show Donahue for the top-rated slot. Oprah then wisely took advice from movie critic Roger Ebert to make a syndication deal with King World Media and have ownership in her program – the beginning of the Oprah brand.

The Oprah Winfrey Show debuted September 8, 1986 and topped daytime talk show ratings for 25 years until she retired from the show. Oprah really hit her stride and pinpointed her brand when she followed her instincts in the 1990s to shift away from “tabloid-style” shows to ones with a focus on literature, self-improvement, mindfulness and spirituality. Even though she briefly took a ratings dip during the change, she soared to the top again and outlasted several popular talk show hosts of the time such as Sally Jesse Raphael, Ricki Lake, Montel Williams, Donahue, Jenny Jones, and Jerry Springer. Continue reading “BHM: Let’s Honor Oprah! Entrepreneur, Media Maven, Philanthropist, Actor, Influencer… Genius”

Candi Carter Promoted to Executive Producer of ABC’s “The View” as it Heads into 20th Season

Candi Carter The View
“The View” Executive Producer Candi Carter (Photo COURTESY OF ABC)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to Variety.com, ABC has renewed “The View” for its 20th season, which will start in the fall of 2016,  and is naming Candi Carter as the show’s executive producer effective immediately.  Carter has served as the interim showrunner on “The View” since September, working with consultant Hilary Estey McLoughlin and co-executive producer Brian Teta, to help reboot the talk show, which has struggled since creator Barbara Walters retired in May 2013.  Carter is the first African-American executive producer in the show’s history.

It’s been an up-and-down period for “The View,” which saw viewership decline in season 18 after Rosie O’Donnell rejoined then departed the Hot Topics seat last February, and Rosie Perez and Nicolle Wallace left over the summer. But the numbers have slightly improved this season to date. “The View” is ranked first in viewers (2.97 million) for the second consecutive week, and it has beat CBS’ “The Talk” in the key demographic for four of the last six weeks.

In season 19, “The View” has tried to regain heat with its panel of Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Candace Cameron-Bure, Paula Faris, Michelle Collins and Raven-Symone. The show has increased its political debates during Hot Topics and landed interviews with presidential hopefuls such as Bernie Sanders, Carly Fiorina and Martin O’Malley.

Carter spent 15 years as a supervising producer at “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” and has produced for BET. “It’s an honor to be part of the extraordinary legacy built by Barbara Walters, the exceptional, funny and smart women at the table led by Whoopi Goldberg and a terrific team behind the scenes,” Carter said.  “Every day is a thrill.”

To read original article by Ramin Setoodeh, go to: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/the-view-renewed-for-season-20-with-first-female-executive-producer-exclusive-1201712878/

 

Oprah Winfrey and Former Alvin Ailey Dancer Dwana Smallwood Open Performing Arts Center in Bedford-Stuyvesant

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Dwana Smallwood (back) teaches dance at Dwana Smallwood Performing Arts Center in Bed-Stuy (photo via 7online.com)

The “Oprah Effect”: we’ve all heard about it, but to experience it is quite a different story.  Your life can change on a dime.  And it did for Dwana Smallwood, one of the premier dancers for Alvin Ailey.

What started as invite from Oprah turned into more than a $500,000 donation to a dancer’s dream.  “Oh my goodness, what a journey from Green Avenue down the street to right now. It’s been an extraordinary journey,” said Smallwood.

It’s a journey that took Smallwood from the streets of Bedford-Stuyvesant to performing around the world as one of the premiere dancers for Alvin Ailey’s elite dance company for 12 years. She is considered one of the best modern dancers since Judith Jamison and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Her power and her grace are electrifying.  “Even though Alvin Ailey is one of the biggest companies in the world, and that was the only place I wanted to dance, and I kept thinking is that my life’s purpose to perform,” Smallwood said.

And that could be enough for some but not for Dwana. So when life came knocking at her door once again, she did as she always did. She danced her way to the next opportunity this time appearing on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”.  But that performance morphed into so much more.  “I said please, please, please would you go to my school in South Africa and teach my girls what you know,” Oprah Winfrey said.

And she did. Her passion took on a new form as a teacher.  But what was supposed to be a one week stay at the school, turned into a four-year odyssey.  “First I was begging for a week. Then I was begging for a year,” Winfrey said.

The lessons extended far beyond dance, even for Dwana.  “It unleashed this person that knew that I could reach young people. I could figure out what’s going on with a young woman and I could help her figure out the brilliance within her,” Smallwood said.

“What she did at my school, she came in to teach dance but she taught them about life, she taught them all of the social emotional skills that we know it takes to really be successful, and not only survive but to thrive in the world,” Winfrey said.

With her mission accomplished in South Africa, home was calling her back.  “I truly love Brooklyn and I love Bed-Stuy,” Smallwood said.

Continue reading “Oprah Winfrey and Former Alvin Ailey Dancer Dwana Smallwood Open Performing Arts Center in Bedford-Stuyvesant”

Oprah Winfrey Donates $12 Million to New African-American Museum

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Oprah Winfrey after delivering commencement address at Harvard in May 2013.(Photo: Elise Amendola AP)

In recognition, the museum’s 350-seat theater, intended to be a showcase for demonstrating how African-American culture has shaped the country and the world, will be named after her. The museum, the Smithsonian’s 19th, is due to open in late 2015. It will tell the story of African-American history from slavery to the post-Civil War period, the civil rights era, the Harlem Renaissance and into the 21st century.

Oprah has been involved with the museum since planning began a decade ago and joined its advisory council in 2004. She’s also a world-class philanthropist with her own grant-making foundation and the resources to make a difference. She says her gift demonstrates her pride in African-American history and culture.

“I am deeply appreciative of those who paved the path for me and all who follow in their footsteps,” she said in a statement. “By investing in this museum, I want to help ensure that we both honor and preserve our culture and history, so that the stories of who we are will live on for generations to come.” Continue reading “Oprah Winfrey Donates $12 Million to New African-American Museum”

Happy 59th Birthday, OWN Network CEO and TV Host Oprah Winfrey

Oprah WinfreyOprah Winfrey (born Orpah Gail Winfrey on January 29, 1954) is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist. Winfrey is best known for her self-titled, multi-award-winning “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which was the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011. She has been ranked the richest African-American of the 20th century, the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and was for a time the world’s only black billionaire.  She is also, according to some assessments, the most influential woman in the world.

Winfrey was born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother and later raised in an inner-city Milwaukee neighborhood. She experienced considerable hardship during her childhood, claiming to be raped at age nine and becoming pregnant at 14; her son died in infancy.  Sent to live with  her father, a barber in Tennessee, Winfrey landed a job in radio while still in high school and began co-anchoring the local evening news at the age of 19. Her emotional ad-lib delivery eventually got her transferred to the daytime-talk-show arena, and after boosting a third-rated local Chicago talk show to first place, she launched her own production company, Harpo, and became internationally syndicated.

Credited with creating a more intimate confessional form of media communication, she is thought to have popularized and revolutionized the tabloid talk show genre pioneered by Phil Donahue, which a Yale study claims broke 20th century taboos and allowed LGBT people to enter the mainstream.  By the mid 1990s, she had reinvented her show with a focus on literature, self-improvement, and spirituality. Winfrey later joined with the Discovery Channel to start her own network, the aptly-titled OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network).

To learn more about Winfrey’s life, career and philanthropy, click here.

Oprah Kicks Off 25th and Final Season With A Bang!

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Oprah Winfrey opened her talk show’s 25th and final season Monday with the surprise of a lifetime for her audience, a favorite tactic for the media maven. The 300 audience members will travel to Australia in December — courtesy of Winfrey — on an eight-day, seven-night trip that has been in the making for nearly a year, according to her production company, Harpo Productions. While there, the Sydney Opera House will be the site of a special “Oprah Winfrey Show” taping before thousands of Australian fans.

Monday’s surprise trip rivals one of Winfrey’s most famous episodes, when she gave away cars to each of her audience members to open her 19th season in 2004. She’s also known for giving away thousands of dollars in gifts to the lucky audience members who attend her annual “Favorite Things” show.

Winfrey announced last year that she would be taking her longtime talk show off the air.

“Twenty-five years feels right in my bones and it feels right in my spirit. It’s the perfect number — the exact right time,” Winfrey said in a statement at the time.  Since then, the television mogul has said her show will go out with a bang. As of January 1, Winfrey will move on to her new OWN network, and as a result, she told TV Guide that she has different standards for her guests for the upcoming season. “This year will be about creating moments,” she said.

The premiere week of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” will feature an appearance by country stars Naomi and Wynonna
Judd; a return visit to Williamson, West Virginia, where Winfrey did an episode on HIV/AIDS in 1987, to talk with the guests of that show; a one-on-one with Bethany Storro, a victim of an acid attack caused by a stranger; and the announcement of Winfrey’s latest book club selection, according to a press release. The premiere episode is supposed to be filled with celebrity guests and a surprise musical performance. “The Oprah Winfrey Show” first hit national airwaves on September 8, 1986.

“I was beyond excited … and as you all might expect, a little nervous,” Winfrey said in her statement announcing the show’s last season. “I knew then what a miraculous opportunity I had been given, but I certainly never could have imagined the ‘yellow brick road’ of blessings that have led me to this moment with you.”  Winfrey told TV Guide, “the show hasn’t been a big part of my life. It’s been my life. I didn’t have children. I had the show.  “I don’t intend to be crying the whole season,” she told TV Guide. “The only time I get really emotional and nostalgic about the show is when I think about the viewers. Hopefully some of them will follow me to OWN, but I know not everybody will.”

But leaving behind “The Oprah Winfrey Show” won’t be the end of her entertainment career.  OWN, short for the Oprah Winfrey Network, is touted as “a multi-platform media company designed to entertain, inform and inspire people to live their best lives.”  It launches on what is currently the Discovery Health Channel.