All Articles Tagged "oprah"

Renée Elise Goldsberry Will Play Henrietta Lacks In New Oprah-Produced Film

July 26th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: AP Images

Source: AP Images

Renée Elise Goldsberry’s career is white hot right now. After an astoundingly successful run on the smash Broadway hit Hamilton (for which she won a Tony), the Goldsberry is reportedly participating in a Netflix sic-drama series called “Altered Carbon.” But that’s not all. According to Shadow and Act, she will also take on the role of the late Henrietta Lacks in the HBO adaptation of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

The 2010 non-fiction book, written by Rebecca Skloot was optioned by Oprah’s Harpo Films the year it was published. And Oprah is set to play Lacks’ daughter Deborah in present day.

Goldsberry will likely portray Lacks in flashbacks as the HBO adaptation will chronicle her daughter’s search to learn more about her mother and to understand how the unauthorized harvesting of her cells in 1951 led to medical breakthroughs.

For those who haven’t read the phenomenal book, it recounts the story, from first hand sources, of Henrietta Lacks, a poor, Black woman from Baltimore who died from cervical cancer in 1951, at the age of 31. Lacks’ cells were removed from her body and used by doctors at Johns Hopkins University.

The study and manipulation of Lacks’ cells would lead to a cure for polio, breakthrough in AIDS medication, cancer research and much more. Her cells were also the first to be cloned in 1955.

George C. Wolfe will direct the film adaptation and Henrietta Lacks’ family members, including her sons Zakariyya Rahman, David Lacks Jr., and her granddaughter Jeri Lacks will serve as consultants for the adaptation. It will be produced by Harpo Films.

As of now, there is no release date. But we’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Watch! The Extended Trailer For “Queen Sugar” Is Here

July 20th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Watch The Extended Trailer for Queen Sugar

Source: OWN

Last month, OWN released the first trailer for their new series, “Queen Sugar.” Not only was it beautifully shot. Thanks Ava! The story, based on Natalie Baszile’s novel seems intriguing. As a recap, the book follows Charley Bordelon, who lives in Los Angeles but relocates to Louisiana after her father’s death.

The series though, will place Nova in the position of the protagonist.

The series, according to OWN’s YouTube page, chronicles the lives of the estranged sisters Nova and Charley. After the death of their father, the family must run an ailing sugarcane farm in Saint Josephine, Louisiana.

DuVernay served as the director for the first two episodes and all subsequent ones will be led by other women. DuVernay, Melissa Carter and Oprah Winfrey serve as executive producers.

The series will air in the Fall.

Watch The First “Queen Sugar” Trailer

June 23rd, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Queen Sugar Trailer

Source: Facebook/OWN

We’ve been talking about the arrival of “Queen Sugar” for over a year now. And while it’s not exactly here yet, the time for its premiere is nearing.

Just yesterday, via their Facebook page, OWN dropped the series’ first trailer. For those who’ve missed the news about it, “Queen Sugar” is inspired by Natalie Baszile’s novel, bearing the same name. It follows the life of Charley Bordelon, who lives a privileged life in Los Angeles. But things change after her father’s death in Louisiana, forcing her to move there with her child.

But the series is going to flip a few things on its head. Instead of Charley being the main character, her sister Nova takes center stage. Retina Wesley, best known for her role as Tara in “True Blood,” will take on the lead role. While Dawn-Lyen Gardner will portray Charley.

Check out the trailer for the new show below.

From this brief clip, it would seem that Ava, Oprah and OWN just might have another hit on their hands this Fall.

Who Run The World? The Highlights From The United States Of Women Summit

June 15th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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The Highlights From The United States Of Women Summit

Source: AP Images

Yesterday, in our nation’s capital, women took center stage as the White House hosted their first ever United States of Women Summit. Women like senior advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett, actress Amy Poehler, actress Kerry Washington, Oprah and so many more converged at the summit to speak about everything women.

There were so many highlights from the all day event. And the White House even posted a video of the entire thing. But since many of us are at work and don’t have all that extra time, here are a few of the highlights.

First, our little favorite Mikaila Ulmer, the 11-year-old founder of “Me & the Bees Lemonade” spoke about dreams and entrepreneurship before she introduced President Obama. She offered a bit of advice for all of us. “Only a kid would think you could change the world with a lemonade stand…My advice to anyone who’s looking to start a business, Be Fearless, believe in the impossible and dream like a kid.”

When President Obama took the podium, he commended Mikaila saying:

“I was just told backstage, when she was asked to introduce me, there were some folks who were organizing this amazing event that said, is she going to feel a little nervous speaking in front of 5,000 people?  And so they asked her and she said, oh, no, I just spoke to 11,000 last week.  (Laughter and applause.)  So we were looking backstage — she was on her tippy-toes with her entrepreneurial self.  (Laughter.)”

The little girl is not only a bawse, she’s an inspiration.

As for President Obama, he started by letting the room know where he stands. “I may be a little grayer than I was eight years ago, but this is what a feminist looks like.” speaking about one of the most recent milestones in his life, watching his eldest daughter Malia Obama graduate from high school.

“Some of you may know that on Friday, my older daughter Malia graduated from high school.  (Applause.)  And I sat in the back and wore dark glasses.  (Laughter.)  And only cried once, but it was — I made this weird sound because I was choking back — (makes crying sound) — (laughter) — and people looked at me, people sitting in front of us turned back.  And then I suppressed it.  (Laughter.)  But I was thinking about how she is graduating at this extraordinary time for women in America.”

He went on to list the road we’ve traveled and how far we’ve come, including women’s college enrollment, the availability of birth control and how his Affordable Care Act has made birth control free. But he also talked about the progress we have yet to make, saying:

“We need equal pay for equal work.  (Applause.)  We need paid family and sick leave.  (Applause.)  We need affordable child care.  We’ve got to raise the minimum wage.  (Applause.)  If we’re truly a nation of family values, we wouldn’t put up with the fact that many women can’t even get a paid day off to give birth.  (Applause.)  We should guarantee paid maternity leave and paid paternity leave, too.  That’s how you value families.  (Applause.)  That’s how employers retain great workers.  And it’s good for women — because when childcare falls disproportionately on mothers, as it often does, it makes it that much harder to advance in their careers.”

Then he got to the tougher work of changing our minds.

“We’re going to have to be honest with ourselves.  We’re going to have to change something else.  We’re going to have to change the way we see ourselves.  And this is happening already, but I want us to be more intentional about it.  I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but we’re still boxed in by stereotypes about how men and women should behave.

As the great Shirley Chisholm once said, “The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begin when the doctor says, ‘It’s a girl.’”  (Applause.)  And that has consequences for all of us, whether we’re men or women, black, white, gay, straight, transgender or otherwise.

We need to keep changing the attitude that raises our girls to be demure, and our boys to be assertive; that criticizes our daughters for speaking out, and our sons for shedding a tear.

We need to change the attitude that punishes women for their sexuality but gives men a pat on the back for theirs.  (Applause.)  We need to change an Internet where women are routinely harassed and threatened when they go online.

We need to keep changing the attitude that congratulates men for changing a diaper, stigmatizes full-time dads, penalizes working moms.  (Applause.)
We need to keep changing the attitude that prioritizes being confident, competitive, and ambitious in the workplace — unless you’re a woman.  (Applause.)

He made a point to speak to the girls and women of color.

“We need to keep changing a culture that shines a particularly unforgiving light on women and girls of color.  (Applause.)  About how they look, about how they feel, about what they should or should not do.  (Applause.)  Michelle will talk about this in a little bit.  She’s talked about this.  Despite her extraordinary achievements and success, the fact that she is — she is an American original, she is unique, but she still had times where she’s had doubts, where she’s had to worry whether she was acting the right way or looking the right way, or whether she was being too assertive or too angry.  You remember that?”

I particularly enjoyed the moment where he shouted out Harriet Tubman being placed on the new money and other Black women who’ve shaped our country.

But our country is not just all about the Benjamins — it’s about the Tubmans, too.  (Applause.)  We need all our young people to know that Clara Barton and Lucretia Mott and Sojourner Truth and Eleanor Roosevelt and Dorothy Height, those aren’t just for Women’s History Month.  They’re the authors of our history, women who shaped their destiny.  They need to know that.  (Applause.)

You can watch President Obama’s full speech in the video below.

As President Obama mentioned in the opening remarks of his speech, most of the attendees were there to see Michelle and Oprah. The two women sat down for a nearly 45 minute interview. Oprah started the conversation asking about the importance of loving yourself and the pressure of living up to other’s people’s expectations.

“One of the things that I always tell my mentees, I tell my daughters is that our first job in life as women, I think, is to get to know ourselves. And a lot of times, we don’t do that. We spend our time pleasing, satisfying, looking out into the world to define who we are, listening to the messages, the images, the limited definitions that people have of who we are. And that’s true for women of color, for sure. There’s a limited box that we are put in and if we live by that limited definition, we miss out on a lot of who we are…So for me, I came into this with a pretty clear sense of myself. So when I hear the smack talking from outside the world, it’s easy to sort of brush that off because I know who I am.”

Later she said,

“I knew that I would have to define this role, very uniquely and specifically to me and who I was. So I came in thinking about who I wanted to be in this position and who I needed to be for my girls first of all. You remember, Malia and Sasha were little, itty bitties, when we came into office.  It still moves me to tears to think about the first day I put them in the car, with their secret service agents, to go to their first day of school. And I saw them leaving and I thought, ‘What on earth am I doing to these babies?’ So I knew right then and there my first job was to make sure that they were going to be whole and normal and cared for in the midst of all this craziness. And then I started to understand that if I was going to protect them, I had to number one protect myself and protect my time…One of the things I realized is that if you do not take control of your time and your life, other people will gobble it up.”

When Oprah said she’s never heard men say ‘I just don’t have the time,’ Michelle responded, ‘You know why? Because they don’t have to balance anything. Sorry. I hope that that is changing but so many men don’t have to do it all.”

To that point, later in the conversation Mrs. Obama offered some advice to men: Be better.

“Be better at everything. Be better fathers,” she said during a conversation with one-time talk-show host Oprah Winfrey. “Just being good fathers who love your daughters and are providing a solid example of what it means to be a good man in the world. That is the greatest gift that the men in my life gave to me…”Be engaged. Don’t just think going to work and coming home makes you a man. Be better. Just be better. I could go on, but I’m not. You get the point, fellas.”

She also spoke about the advantage of having good parents but offered some words of encouragement for those who didn’t have them.

“But if you don’t have that parent, that mother, that father, then you got to find it. They’re out there. There is somebody out there who loves you and is waiting to love you. And that means you have to make room for them. And if you’re surrounded by a bunch of low life folks who aren’t supporting you, then there is no room for people that do love you.”

You can watch the full interview in the video below. It’s chock full of gems.

Start Spreading The News: Black Actors Win Big At The 2016 Tony Awards

June 13th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: AP Images

Source: AP Images

Last night’s Tony Awards were one for the record books. As expected, Hamilton cleaned up, taking home 11 awards. But the story behind many of the headlines you’ll read today is the history making moment as all four awards for actors and actresses in a musical went to Black men and women.

Check out the list below.

Best featured actor in a musical: Daveed Diggs, Hamilton
Best lead actress in a musical: Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple
Best actors in a musical: Leslie Odom Jr., Hamilton
Best featured actress in a musical: Renée Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton

Also, The Color Purple was awarded best revival of a musical and Eclipsed won the award for best costume design of a play.

In her memorable acceptance speech, Cynthia who promised not to cry, held up her award and said, “Hi Mommy, look,” before thanking all of the women, and a few men, who made her triumphant Broadway debut possible.

“To Oprah, thank you for giving me this opportunity. I would not be here if it wasn’t for you. For Alice Walker for writing a story that could last through time and time again. Thank you…To every single person in my cast. You are magnificent. Thank you so much for lifting me up when I’m tired, for holding my hands when I’m happy. For kissing me on my forehead when you know I just need some love. Danielle, Jennifer Hudson, Heather Headley, Joaquina Kalukango you are wonderful women and I thank you very much for looking into my eyes every night on stage, for making me a stronger woman on the stage.”

You can watch The Color Purple medley and Cynthia Erivo’s acceptance speech in the videos below.

Oprah Says The Key To Her Recent Weight-Loss Success Is Her Man, Stedman Graham

June 3rd, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Stepping out with my Valentine of almost 30 yrs! #iovinewedding

A photo posted by Oprah (@oprah) on

Accountability during the weight-loss process is everything. As much as we hate them during the process, people who stay on you about your eating habits and how often you’re active, whether a trainer or a good friend, are essential. If you’ve ever worked hard to lose weight but found that those close to you just want you to join them in going out to eat all of the time and they encourage you to indulge, chances are, you’re going to fall off the wagon hard. In the attempt to lose weight and be motivated to keep it off, you need support. Just ask Oprah Winfrey.

The Queen of Talk has a lot to celebrate these days. Not only is she the richest self-made woman in California with $3.1 billion to her name, but she’s also lost more than 30 pounds since teaming up with Weight Watchers late last year.

The company has started a new program called the “Better Together” campaign where members are encouraged to get their family and friends on board and help one another lose weight by holding each other accountable. According to ABC News, Winfrey revealed that her “Better Together” partner is her boyfriend of 30 years, Stedman Graham. She shared this info while on a call with fellow Weight Watcher members since Winfrey is an ambassador and investor who reaches out to subscribers. Good Morning America was on hand to listen to the conversations.

Oprah Winfrey


“He kept asking me what every point was,” Winfrey said during a call when talking about her 65-year-old beau. “And I said, ‘Why don’t you just join?’ For me, it’s so much better when other people are also counting points.”

So Graham has been keeping her on her toes. As she said, “We do hold each other accountable.” He has been helping her as she tries to fight her cravings, some of the strongest being her love for sweets and salts.

“I’m like you Peggy. I really like salty and savory things,” Winfrey told a member during a call. “About 4 o’clock I feel like I need something to crunch.”

But the 62-year-old is holding it together and doing great. As reported by ABC News, she’s been seeing progress, including a dip in her blood pressure thanks to her walks with her dogs and getting on the treadmill before dinnertime.  And it shows!

Oprah To Star In “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”

May 2nd, 2016 - By Brande Victorian
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Celebrities attend the Tribeca Film Festival screening of "Greenleaf" Featuring: Oprah Winfrey Where: New York, New York, United States When: 20 Apr 2016 Credit: C.Smith/

Celebrities attend the Tribeca Film Festival screening of “Greenleaf”
Featuring: Oprah Winfrey
Where: New York, New York, United States
When: 20 Apr 2016
Credit: C.Smith/

It was six years ago, almost to the day, that we learned Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball had teamed up to produce an HBO film based on the non-fiction bestseller, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” Now the premium cable channel has announced the film has officially been greenlit and Oprah will play the lead role.

According to Variety:

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells the true story of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman whose cells were used to create the first immortal human cell line. Told through the eyes of her daughter, Deborah Lacks, played by Winfrey, the film chronicles her search to learn about the mother she never knew and to understand how the unauthorized harvesting of Lacks’ cancerous cells in 1951 led to unprecedented medical breakthroughs, changing countless lives and the face of medicine forever.

Filming is slated to begin this summer and Henrietta Lacks’ sons Zakariyya Rahman and David Lacks, Jr. as well as granddaughter Jeri Lacksare will serve as consultants on the project which has yet to be given a premiere date.



How Long Should You Wait for Him To Put A Ring On It?

January 27th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Image Source: Tumblr

How long is too long to wait for him to put a ring on it? How about seven years? Maybe 10 years? What about 15? We wonder if these stars had a number in mind before they joined the list of celebrities who waited the longest to get engaged. Some aren’t even interested in getting to married after many years together. Could you do it?

Image Source: WENN

Image Source: WENN

Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis

Can putting off marriage be a sign that something is off? Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis were together for quite a long time. We’re talking between 1998 and 2012. And despite that, and the two children they brought into the world during that time, the good-looking pair never married. Maybe Paradis never wanted to be Depp’s Mrs.?

But when Johnny Depp met Amber Heard, it didn’t take long for them to fall in love, and for him to put a ring on it, which shocked a lot of people. While he didn’t propose to Paradis during their time together, he proposed to Heard in 2014 and the couple were married in 2015.

Rutina Wesley To Star In OWN’s “Queen Sugar”

January 14th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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rutina wesley

Source: AP Images

In the earlier part of last year, we brought you the exciting news that Oprah and Ava DuVernay were partnering once again (after they worked together in Selma) to bring Natalie Baszile’s Queen Sugar to OWN.

And today we learned that the role of Nova Bordelon will go to actress Rutina Wesley, best known for her role as Tara Thorton on HBO’s hit series “True Blood.”

Though in the book, Charley is the main character, a press release from OWN states that Wesley will play the lead as Nova.

In the series, Nova is a “formidable journalist and activist based in New Orleans. Her life, and that of her brother and their extended family, undergoes significant change when her sister Charley, returns to Louisiana from Los Angeles to help run the family sugarcane farm.”

Oprah who executive produces along with DuVernay, will also appear as a series regular.

Ava DuVernay developed Queen Sugar for television by writing the pilot episode. She is set to direct several episodes throughout the show’s first season.

According to the press release, Wesley also had a recurring role on the NBC drama “Hannibal” and recently guest starred in multiple episodes of The CW/Warner Bros. Television hit action-drama “Arrow.” Wesley co-starred in the hit 2015 Screen Gems film “The Perfect Guy” and previously appeared on Broadway in David Hare’s “The Vertical Hour,” opposite Julianne Moore. She began her career with a starring role in the independent feature film “How She Move,” which debuted at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. Wesley is a graduate of the drama division of the renowned Juilliard School.

Personhood, Weight Loss & Melissa Harris-Perry’s Thoughts On Oprah’s Weight Watchers Commercial

January 8th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Melissa Harris-Perry's Thoughts On Oprah's Weight Watchers Commercial

I know I’m not the only one who is tired of Oprah’s Weight Watchers commercial. It is literally everywhere. But we shouldn’t be surprised really; it’s Oprah, and she does pretty much everything big. I mentally wished Oprah success on her journey but; aside from the fact that I was bored of it, I didn’t really pay the commercial much mind.

Interestingly enough, professor, news anchor, author, etc. Melissa Harris-Perry watched the commercial and took something else away from it.

She had an issue with one line in particular.

“Inside every overweight woman, is a woman she knows she can be.” 

Oprah goes on to say that you can get to a point where you look in the mirror and don’t recognize yourself.

On her MSNBC show, Harris- Perry is known for her open letters. And last week’s was directed to Ms. Winfrey. She said after watching her commercial, she was “a bit distressed.”

She began by running down a brief list of Oprah’s accolades. Noting that not only is Oprah a billionaire, she’s one of the most philanthropic people on the planet. And she talked about Oprah’s influence, her ability to jumpstart careers, change lives through education and catapult authors out of obscurity with a book club recommendation.

She bad.

So when Oprah said inside of her there’s the woman she wants to be, Harris-Perry said,

“I’m thinking to myself ‘But O! You are already precisely the woman so many are striving to be. Who you are, what you have accomplished, how you have influenced and altered the world is all so much more important than your dress size. There is not one thing that you have done that would have been more extraordinary if you had done it with a 25 inch waist.” 

She continued saying, “I worry as a mom and as a woman about the messages our daughters receive if they think a woman as phenomenal as you is still not enough unless she is thin.”

I watched Harris-Perry deliver her open letter and at the end of it, I was like “Damn.” There’s some truth there. To me, and many others in the public, skinny Oprah was no different than overweight Oprah. So for her to say that she felt or continues to feel like she isn’t the woman she knows she can be because she’s not thin, is concerning. When I think of personhood, weight has very little to do with it. The spirit, soul, essence doesn’t change because you lose or gain weight.

Maya Angelou said something along the lines of you’ll forget what a person said, even what they do but you’ll never forget how that made you feel.

I know that to be true. When my grandmother died, months after her passing I was freaked out when I found I couldn’t remember certain elements of her physical features. Then it occurred to me, likely through Divine revelation, that a person is not their body and I could and still can access the way my grandmother made me feel heard, loved and important.

A quote that is often misattributed to C.S. Lewis says, “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul; you have a body.”

One is eternal, depending on your beliefs, and the other is not, regardless of your beliefs.

I don’t think there are thin or fat souls, as we define them in the physical sense.

That being said, I’ve never been heavy. I don’t know what it’s like to struggle with weight in that way, particularly as a public figure, on television every single day for 25 years. I know what it’s like to look in the mirror and not recognize myself but not because of weight.

I imagine that being frustrated with an area of your life and seeking to change it goes beyond just the physical component. We all know that achieving a goal, is very rarely about a physical feat. Most of the time, there is mental, emotional, psychological and even spiritual satisfaction that comes from achieving a goal, even if you may use your physical body to do it.

For many people, weight is more than just weight. It might represent something emotional, some type of bad habit, a lack of control or discipline in their lives. So then losing weight is less about appearance and more about the internal work of addressing those habits, emotions or lacking.

That’s something you don’t have to be overweight to understand.

Despite what we, the public, have witnessed Oprah accomplish and become, most of us can’t argue that we know her well enough to know what feelings, goals and desires she has for her personal life (that she just might happen to share with the world.) If, despite all of her accolades, accomplishments, influence and power, Oprah still wants to prove to herself that she can be the type of woman who is not burdened by excess weight and wants to relieve that burden by losing the weight, then that’s certainly not shallow. It’s admirable. And to Melissa Harris-Perry’s point: The woman who made the decision to lose weight and the woman who will ultimately do the physical work to do so, is the same woman who built an empire and changed the game. She doesn’t have a dress size.