Last night, Oprah Winfrey’s documentary film The Color of Care debuted on the Smithsonian Channel.
Executive-produced by the media mogul, the film unpacks the racial inequalities within the American healthcare system.
Winfrey discussed topics including her own experience with the healthcare system, the pandemic, celebrity privileges concerning access to care and resources during an interview with the LA Times about her documentary.
The 68-year-old TV icon shared that she “didn’t leave home for 322 days” during the pandemic and was surprised with how well she was “able to adjust to the isolation and not being around other people.”
“I remember one point [close friend Gayle King] said, ‘Don’t you just miss being around other people?’ I go, ‘Eh, not really.’ And I think it’s because every day, I was in an audience of 350 people twice a day [on The Oprah Winfrey Show], so I’ve had shaking hands and autographs and selfies, and lots of attention, and exposure to being around a lot of people,” Winfrey explained.
“I was able to be with myself in a way that I haven’t been able to for years, because usually, even if I take time off for myself, I’m thinking about what is the next thing to come,” she continued, adding, “Overall, I was able to adjust because I have the ability [and] really strong sense of being in this present moment and living this moment without having to worry about the next.”
“You can do that when you don’t have to worry about where your next paycheck is coming from,” Winfrey pointed out. “I didn’t have to worry about, ‘Am I going to have rent? Am I going to be able to get food? Am I going to be able to keep the lights on and am I going to be able to take care of my children?'”
The media mogul explained in the film’s trailer that she pulled inspiration for The Color of Care after reading about the story of a Black man named Gary Fowler who died from COVID during the pandemic after being turned away by three hospitals.
“I think my biggest misconception [before making the film] was that it was about health insurance, that it was about having access financially, and if you didn’t have the money, then you couldn’t get the care that you needed,” Winfrey shared with the outlet. “What COVID laid bare is that inequities in so many other areas of your life also contribute to the major disparity when it comes to healthcare.”
The Color of Care is available to watch in its entirety on Smithsonian Channel’s Facebook and YouTube until May 31. Watch the trailer below.