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An Open Letter To Oprah Winfrey

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Dear Oprah:

I have been let down by so many of my idols throughout my life. I first learned celebrities weren’t perfect when Boy George, who embarrassingly became my first pop idol, was arrested for heroin use. I was even more let down when Michael Jackson, the self-proclaimed King of Pop, allegedly turned into the King of Poop, but paid his way out of it. By the time Whitney Houston became a crack addict, I pretty much grew immune to the fallen idol syndrome. I also believed you, one of my idols since the mid-eighties, would never let me down. Within the past couple of years, you’ve proven me wrong.

I know you want me to refer to you as God, since everything you do these days seems done for the sole purpose of promoting yourself as the Messiah, but I think you need to slow down. Earlier this year, you opened The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in Africa. I admit it was a good thing, but if your motives for opening this school were truly altruistic, then how come I had to see your face on every single magazine and television special advertising it? A true philanthropist doesn’t need to constantly brag about the good deeds he or she is doing.

You see, Oprah, if you are going to make such a big deal about your school, you need to pay attention to it after the ratings sweeps. Hearing your tearful apology when finding out that your school is nothing more than a playground for sexual misconduct was just about as believable as your pathetic frying of James Frey, the author of A Million Little Pieces. I truly believe you were hoping the information about the sexual misconduct wouldn’t come out.

I used to think you stood for the common people. Your show about the Los Angeles riots in 1992 was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen on television. Lately, however, you seemed to have lost your touch. You can speak out against poverty all you want while sitting on that golden toilet, but exploiting poverty for the sake of exploitation doesn’t help the problem.

I can also see how you use your show to brainwash your naïve viewers into buying expensive materialistic items for your profit and then preaching, the next day, how bad it is to get into debt. I’ll also never forget how you invited the alleged sexual predator on your show, Bill O’Reilly, to talk about — guess what — sexual predators! I also find it pretty hypocritical that, like the rest of the media, you blew the Imus controversy out of proportion and pretended to be the race savior of the world. Too bad you haven’t had a word to say about Halle Berry’s pathetic anti-Semitic remarks on the Jay Leno show. Tell me, Ms.“Racism is Bad,” is racism against one race more important than racism against another?

Let’s stick to the topic of race. You are the most successful African American personality to grace the television screen. You want us to believe how important your race is to you and, many times, have even acted as the savior of the African American race. Yet, I can think of at least five Black people I know who are absolutely disgusted with you. Five years ago, I would argue with them and defend you to the point of almost being hit.

I see you trying to be “Ms. African” by running to Africa and bragging about your charity school, while the African American children, here in the Unites States — you know, the country that you actually live in — are suffering from a huge dropout rate, horrific test scores, overcrowded classrooms, and violent school playgrounds. I don’t ever see you investing in the needy Black children of the United States because, of course, it wouldn’t garner publicity and ratings.

Oprah, you may think I’m being particularly hard on you when we have other fake celebrity philanthropists, such as Angelina Jolie and Bono. Angelina Jolie uses her adopted kids as photo ops while Bono is on a mission to save the world, not realizing that the world actually needs to be saved from Bono. Neither Angelina nor Bono, though, have the talent, charisma, and diverse audience that you have. That’s why your transparency hurts more.

About Daryl D

  • EA

    Interesting to read this now-in 2012. After we’ve witnessed Ophra’s self serving farewell to her own show, replete with Celebreties lavishly flattering her (they have to, she’s too powerful). Can you say “It’s all about ME!”

    Also after Ophra supported that horrid book ‘The Secret’-which postulated that if you suffer in life it must be your fault, and that you ‘get out of life what you put into it’-not in the normal sense, but in the sense that a person who went through the Holocaust, or say, has Cancer, experiences those things because of, what, their ‘attitude’?

    Recently I’ve felt that Oprah is distancing herself from anyone who isn’t rich financially-very materialistic…I often shake my head at the phrase ‘live your best life’. So many people are struggling just to LIVE period, and would be very happy to just be safe, comforable, have a house and a car and health insurance that was reliable and affordable. Universal health care, that would have been a cool thing for her to promote.

    I do appreciate her work on homophobia and racism. She has done a lot of good….but the hypocracy of telling other people how to live their lives, while sitting on a fortune that she could never possibly spend in her entire life, seems a bit nasty to me.

    Some people with large amounts of money see that using it for good is vastly more rewarding, and have realized that having more and more money does not really make them happy.

    I think Oprah is compensating for her childood, and also needs to feel she has control over her life, in order to feel safe (since she was sexually abused.)

    But by definition, if she truly holds to the ideas in ‘The Secret’, victims of abuse have brought it on themselves, because they must not have ‘put out’ the right vibrations to the universe.

    As a survivor myself, I do truly understand that need to reenact and or cope with trauma any way you have to. I understand that need for control.

    The whole African girls school, I think, was a recreation of her childood of poverty and having been abused. I remember she interviewed girls and picked only the ones that reminded her of herself. She needs to believe it was something extraordinary about herself that enabled her to ‘escape’. Yet she is not truly healed-otherwise she would not need to ‘re-resuce’ herself, symbolically, being the heroine.

    What is irksome about her is that she puts herself forward as this role model, but has lost the quality of being ‘one of us’-that quality which made her so popular to begin with.

    Maybe being THAT rich warps your thinking….when you can get anything you want anytime you want, that would be hard on you sense of proportion in the world….

    But always remember-she is just an entertainer. If any of us were on her show, and it suited her wishes, she would gladly skewer anyone……


  • EA

    Oh, btw-Oprah is not reading this, some people seem to think that they can get through to her by way of this site….fyi:)Not that anyone has commented since 2008 or so