All Articles Tagged "oprah"

Bye Chicago! Oprah Shuts Down Harpo Studios, Lays Off 200 Employees

March 4th, 2015 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Image Source: WENN

Image Source: WENN

“And you don’t get a job, and you don’t get a job! Nobody gets a job!” Oprah Winfrey, the talk show host legend, is laying off 200 employees as she shuts down the iconic Harpo Studios in Chicago and moves to Los Angeles, The Hollywood Reporter said.

This isn’t the end of Winfrey’s empire, though; it’s the beginning. Winfrey, creator of the OWN network, is expanding to newer horizons in a newly-constructed three-floor locale in West Hollywood.

“The time had come to downsize this part of the business and to move forward. It will be sad to say goodbye, but I look ahead with such a knowing that what the future holds is even more than I can see,” Winfrey told THR.

The Harpo offices in Chicago stopped shooting shows for OWN on Tuesday.

“Though the Chicago lease continues through April 2016, Winfrey and her key executives intend to stop the back-and-forth routine they’ve been balancing for nearly half a decade sooner than that,” THR added.

Two hundred employees will be left behind and a small number of Chicago-based Harpo staffers will join a team of 140 OWN members in Los Angeles.

The expansion to Los Angeles is a bittersweet moment for 61-year-old Winfrey. Chicago was, after all, Harpo Studios’ home for almost three decades:

“[Chicago has] been everything for me. I’ve spent more hours in this building than I have any other building on Earth. …We were here when there was nothing but hoes and rats on the street, and now it’s one of the hottest neighborhoods [in Chicago],” Winfrey said.

The 26-year-old multimedia production company sold its four-building campus to real estate developer Sterling Bay Cos. for $30.5 million.

Winfrey doesn’t have much time for tears, though; the talk show titan has a plethora of upcoming projects on her plate. The talk show titan plans to move in front of the camera as an actress for  OWN’s Queen Sugar, which is written, directed, and produced by Selma‘s Ava DuVernay.

“At OWN, Queen Sugar will join a quartet of Tyler Perry-scripted series — all of which recently secured additional episode orders — as well as the upcoming two-night Octavia Spencerled miniseries, Tulsa, already in development,” THR said.

Outside of OWN, Winfrey is slated to play Richard Pryor’s grandmother in Lee Daniels’ upcoming Pryor biopic.

“I love telling the real stories of peoples’ lives, and now we get to create them, make them up, and I get to be part of them as an actor…” Winfrey said.

Oprah Ranks Number 603 On ‘Forbes’ 2015 Billionaire List

March 2nd, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Today, Forbes released their annual 2015 Billionaire list and surprisingly Mother Oprah came in at number 603 ranking.

First, it should be noted that there are an eye-popping number of billionaires in the world. But besides that, Forbes has a detailed methodology that they use to compile their list: they value the individuals’ assets, which include stakes in public and private companies, their real estate, yachts, art and cash. They also take into account the billionaires’ estimated amount of debt. Instead of focusing on those who come from multi-generational families of wealth, Forbes ranks billionaires as individuals. Forbes also does not include royal family members or dictators whose fortune comes from their particular position of power.

Bill Gates continues to be the richest man in the world — a title he has had for 16 of the last 21 years. His assets have increased to $79.2 billion despite giving $1.5 billion to his charity, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Mark Zuckerburg is currently a part of the top 20 billionaires on the planet, a first for the millennial billionaire who invented Facebook while he was an undergrad at Harvard University.

Aliko Dangote of Nigeria saw his fortune decrease $14.7 billion from $25 billion. This was caused by a weaker Nigerian currency and lower demand for cement (where he receives his largest revenue from). Despite his assets decreasing, Dangote is still the richest man from Africa.

As for Oprah, she closed out 2014 by promoting the award winning film Selma, which her production company Harpo Films helped produced. Her OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) television company had low ratings when it initially started, however ratings are currently soaring through the roof thanks to actor/director Tyler Perry’s hit dramas and sitcoms.

Besides working on film and television, Oprah had a sold out 2014 ‘The Life You Want’ national tour of self-help teachings. Winfrey also earns funds from spin-off shows that she help create such as Dr. Phil, Rachael Ray and Dr. Oz.

Also worth noting, legendary basketball player Michael Jordan is a newcomer to the list, the 1,741 richest person with a net worth of $1 billion. Jordan makes $100 million from royalties from his Nike Air Jordan line. He also purchased 80 percent of the Charlotte Bobcats, which was valued at $275 million in March 2010. His ownership jumped to 89 percent in 2013, reports ESPN.

View the entire Forbes 2015 Billionaire list, here.

Give Them Their Flowers Now: Black Women Who Will Go Down In The History Books For Their Contributions

February 27th, 2015 - By Erica R. Williams
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They’re bold visionaries who are an inspiration to not just black women, but all women. And just like many of the women who have come before them, they will go down in history for their contributions and accomplishments. But instead of waiting to celebrate them long after they’re gone, it’s only fitting to recognize their accomplishments now.

Some are more familiar than others; but each of them are playing a major role in changing the world and the representation of black women, and we appreciate them for that.

So as we prepare to close Black History Month, let’s celebrate our sisters who are paving the way for us all.

Style To Steal Or Girl, Stop? Black Folks Doing It Big, And Bad, At The 2015 Academy Awards

February 22nd, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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It’s Hollywood’s biggest night, and while black folks might not have picked up many nominations (Selma is nominated in the Best Picture category, and “Glory” is nominated for Best Original Song), I was quite surprised to see how many of our stars showed up for the the big ceremony. What are they looking like? I have all their looks for you to see, and talk about, here. So who looked amazing and who didn’t? Let’s chat!


2015 Academy Awards


Lupita Nyong’o

In a custom Calvin Klein gown, Lupita returned to the Academy Awards red carpet a year after winning. Her heavily adorned pearl dress with its open back and keyhole detail is one-of-a-kind, and she definitely looks one-of-a-kind on the carpet. And while I like what they’ve tried to with her hair recently, I actually prefer this close, cropped and curled look. Steal!

You’ll Never Guess Which Hollywood Actresses Tyler Perry Selected To Be His Son’s Godmothers

February 16th, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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the legendary Cicely Tyson and I celebrating @tylerperry's new baby boy. Gospel christening !

A photo posted by Oprah (@oprah) on

Over the weekend, while you were enjoying Valentine’s Day festivities with your bae, Tyler Perry and his ladylove Gelila Bekele were celebrating the christening of their son, Aman Tyler Bekele-Perry. The star-studded ceremony was held in the backyard of Perry’s Beverly Hills home inside of a custom-built church.

“I had this church built in my backyard. It’s almost a direct replica of the one my Mother grew up in. It was in her honor. I know she was with us in spirit,” Tyler expressed on Facebook.

The program for the dedication ceremony included Pastor Smokie Norful, Vashawn Mitchell, Yolanda Adams, Jennifer Hudson and Bill and Kori Withers.

Tyler and Gelila decided to name Cicely Tyson, Oprah Winfrey and Oliver Ripley as little Aman’s godparents.

It looks like everyone had an amazing time. Check out photos from the ceremony below and on the following pages.

Cynthia Bond’s Novel “Ruby” Appears On Oprah’s Book Club

February 10th, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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WENN/Cynthia Bond

WENN/Cynthia Bond



From The Grio 

From the very first sentence, Oprah Winfrey loved what became her latest book club pick.

“I thought, ‘Wow, this is so good I have to wait until I actually have the time to absorb the language,’” said Winfrey, during a recent telephone interview with The Associated Press, of Cynthia Bond’s novel “Ruby.”

“I put it down and waited until I was in bed with the flu to start reading it. I found the language and descriptions so vividly compelling that sometimes I would have to take a breath and repeat the sentences out loud.”

Winfrey’s choice, coming out in paperback Tuesday and announced to the AP, is a debut novel published last year to positive reviews and moderate sales. Bond’s publisher, Hogarth, understandably expects that to change and has commissioned a paperback printing of 250,000 copies. The hardcover currently has 20,000 copies in print, according to Hogarth, an imprint of Penguin Random House, and is available as an e-book. As with Winfrey’s three previous picks since relaunching her club as “Oprah’s Book Club 2.0″ in 2012, she will focus on online promotion, through her own website ( and through Twitter, Instagram and other social media.

Read more about Cynthia Bond’s novel, “Ruby” at 

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?: Millennials’ Choice Of Guests Are All Successful African-Americans

February 5th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Millennials Reveal Who


Fusion conducted a poll of which celebrities or politicians millennials of all races (ages 18-34) would want to invite to dinner. The top three choices were surprisingly all African American : Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Beyoncé. In the report, President Obama received 11 percent of the millennial vote, Oprah Winfrey came in at second at three percent and Yoncé in third with two percent.

When tracking how the three earned their poll positions, Fusion sought out these factors: Obama, won 60 percent of the youth vote in 2012 Presidential election and can effectively relate to youths through his administration social media presence. As for Oprah, many millennials grew up watching her ABC talk show and saw how successful she has become in her acting career as well as launching her own television network. The latter depicts to the millennial generation how important it is to build a personal brand for business purposes. As for Beyoncé, the mega-star is the Jane Of All Trades. Most recently, the singer-songwriter-producer-actress has launched a vegan diet delivery business showing women all over the world that you can have it all and wake up flawless. Fusion also reports:

In the end, 22% of the millennials questioned either didn’t know who they wanted to have dinner with, couldn’t decide, or just flat-out refused to answer. You can’t blame ‘em—sometimes dinner just means binge-watching Netflix with a pizza for a party of one.

Shocker: Abraham Lincoln came in fourth place and Angelina Jolie, fifth. To see who else millenials would invite to dinner, click here.

Are you surprised by the results?

Happy Birthday O! Inspirational Quotes & Takeaways From Oprah Winfrey

January 29th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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How To Run Your Life Like A Business


Happy birthday Oprah!

The entertainment mogul turns 61 today and continues to inspire millions around the globe. In honor of her special day we’re taking a look at some of her motivational quotes and takeaways over the years that continue to remain relevant.

Read 10 Important Things We Can Learn From Billionaires

Where Oprah Went Wrong With Her Leaderless Movement Comments

January 5th, 2015 - By Charing Ball
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Helga Esteb /

Helga Esteb /

Is there a generational divide with the current movement for Black civil rights? (And that’s exactly what it is.)

It’s really hard to say. We know that the Washington Post, and other media outlets, believes there is a divide and thus far, has published multiple pieces, highlighting the supposed generational infraction. In short (and as told by that paper), the younger activists are attempting to chart their own destiny (as it is the young, who will inherit the earth) and take the reigns from the older activists, who feel like the younger generation really doesn’t knows what they’re doing, so we’ll take it from here, kids…

Honestly, it is a story older than time – and in fact, pretty much reflective of all movements for liberation, probably worldwide. And if history is a teacher, there is likely a bunch of big egos as well as other -isms helping to facilitate whatever conflict that is allegedly happening.

However, I would be remiss if didn’t acknowledge that in spite of what could be media sensationalism around this supposed divide, there are signs that folks, particularly of a certain age and era, just don’t get it. And it may very well be generational, but not necessarily.

I think nothing highlights this more than recent comments made by media mogul Oprah Winfrey, who in a recent a press junket for the film Selma, which she co-produced (along with Brad Pitt), told People (as later transcribed by the Washington Post):

I think it’s wonderful to march and to protest and it’s wonderful to see all across the country, people doing it,” she said in a video interview posted Thursday on the magazine’s Web site. “But what I’m looking for is some kind of leadership to come out of this to say, ‘This is what we want. This is what we want. This is what has to change, and these are the steps that we need to take to make these changes, and this is what we’re willing to do to get it.”

The irony of Oprah promoting the film Selma, which is all about marching and stuff, while giving the whole “marching is nice but…” speech.

More directly, there are a couple of things wrong about her statement, which I believe are worth mentioning. First and foremost, those who did not start the movement really should be more thoughtful about critiquing these young activists about what they are and aren’t doing correctly. I mean, it is not like Oprah and the rest of the “you’re doing it wrong” brigade haven’t had decades of time to show the youth how to “effectively” put themselves on the line for justice in this fight against police brutality. Nope they were too busy making money and building empires, which is also glorious and empowering, but fails to be the shield against the global mistreatment of darker skinned people. We saw that very clearly during the Switzerland incident in which a boutique shop keeper wouldn’t show Oprah and all her money bags an expensive purse because Oprah “looked” like she couldn’t afford it.

The second, and probably most important, point is this idea that the radical movements of the past, particularly the Civil Rights movements of the 1960s, were about the efforts of one man. This kind of narrative is pervasive and both troubling within the Black community and in the larger society in general. And it is one spurred on by our broken educational system, which does a broad stroke over anything that has to do with Black history. In fact, this thinking reminds me of the old Chris Rock joke about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. being the correct answer to every and all questions about Black history.

But the truth of the matter is that one man does not, and has never, made a movement.

There were others. And their individual and group contributions were just as instrumental to developing the Civil Rights movement as the people, who ultimately became the face of it. Like Claudette Colvin, who was the first person to get arrested for failing to give up her seat. And Ella Baker, the mostly behind the scenes grassroots leader that not only organized King’s new organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), but also served as advisor to the students who ultimately founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

Then there were some of Dr King’s closest advisors as well including James Farmer, Hosea Williams and Clarence Benjamin Jones. While many of these activists (and so many more) are not easily recalled to the mind as Dr. King, their mostly behind-the-scenes organizing and sacrificing are the foundation for the movement’s most iconic moments. Like Bayard Rustin, who worked tirelessly and without mention, organizing the 1963 March on Washington, which provided a platform for Dr. King to make his historic “I Have A Dream” speech.

I don’t think Oprah is trying to be malicious. She is not Don Lemon or some other shuck and jive opportunist looking to disrupt and divide. It should be noted that Oprah has a long history of supporting the Black community specifically including financially supporting multiple hard-to-fund Black film projects, donating millions to Morehouse and even building a school in South Africa for girls. And that commitment to community should be acknowledge and respected.

However, I do believe that Oprah is also part of a long-held (and hard to penetrate) belief system within the community, which likes to tout Black personal achievement as the solution to dealing with institutionalized racial oppression. The whole “pulling up your pants” and “speak correct English” ideology and its emphasis on the White gaze, (which was recently highlighted and denounced in a viral video and article by noted Black Bourgeoisie Lawrence Otis Graham), is at the heart of why certain voices and contributions to Black civil rights and liberation often go unheard.

I’m talking about voices like Huey Newton, Elaine Brown, Fred Hampton, Stokely Carmichael, Faye Bellamy Powell and even the aforementioned Claudette Colvin, whose personal protest against bus segregation was ignored until Rosa Parks bravely and smartly attached her lighter skinned and more respectable face on it (and this is not conjecture, but hardcore truth). Then there were the countless, nameless and less “respectable” voices, like those who rioted in Harlem, in Detroit and in Watts.

While ultimately it would be Dr King’s more populace message for Black civil rights, which HIStory would  recite the most, the reality is that the push for our rights didn’t involve just one man or avenue. As one of the other great Black civil rights leaders once said, “By any means necessary.” Cliche, but whatever works.

And in all honesty, why does this movement need a clear and definite leader anyway? History also tells us that movements built around a single person tend to die out, when that person does. History also tells us that that sexism as well as homophobia were also pervasive within these movements. For more context, you might want to start with this 2013 piece by Keli Goff in the Root about how civil rights activist Gloria Richardson was basically disrespected at the March on Washington.

In essence, the younger generation of activists’ insistence on a more diffuse movement shows that they have been paying attention to the older heads more than folks like to give them credit for.

Oprah Comments On Ferguson Protests & Upset Protesters!

January 4th, 2015 - By Courtney Whitaker
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How To Run Your Life Like A Business

Image Source: WENN

Momma O may or may not be on the sh*tlist of #BlackLivesMatter protesters around the country. 

In an interview People Magazine, Oprah ruffled the feathers of some of the protesters. Oprah stated, “I think it’s wonderful to march and to protest and it’s wonderful to see all across the country, people doing it. What I’m looking for is some kind of leadership to come out of this to say, ‘This is what we want. This is what has to change, and these are the steps that we need to take to make these changes, and this is what we’re willing to do to get it.’ “

The statement upset many protesters, who took to Twitter to vent.

Oprah has yet to comment on the statement. However, many are claiming it’s not that deep. She is entitled to her own opinion. Who do you believe is correct? Did Oprah push it? Or is she simply stating her opinion?