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.