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Daily Connect: The Oprah Winfrey Show Finale, Teary Eyed Celebrities and Self-Examination
Submitted by Patrick Groneman on Wed, 5/18/2011, 9:29am
Last Night in Chicago was a huge celebration farewell to the Oprah Winfrey Show as the final show is set to air next week after 4,561 episodes. Reports about the event list a huge array of celebrities, including Will Smith, Maria Shriver and Stevie Wonder, who came to show their gratitude for all that Oprah has offered them throughout her career bringing the "Inner" life of celebrities out to the public.
Her role over 25 seasons has been a bit of a pop-culture group therapist. She has helped make the world of celebrities feel more human, and does her best to make fans and viewers feel more like stars. At the start of her final season she surprised all the audience members by sending them on a 8 day trip to Australia, something a working class family could rarely just up and do. She has brought struggling guests onto the show and helped them move past obstacles like massive debt, eating and relationship issues. And more than anything else she has been a pioneer role model as an opinionated and powerful woman of color, who learned how to live out her dream.
A Report about the event from ABC:
"Poet Maya Angelou's recitation of an original work -- a narrative of Winfrey's past -- accompanied by soft piano music from Alicia Keyes, may have been one of the most moving acknowledgements of the evening. Winfrey listened intently, her eyes narrowed, brows knit and chin occasionally quivering. Of Winfrey, Angelou said this 'big-eyed fat girl from Mississippi decided to show the world how to look at itself… how to change itself ... .'"
Being steeped in a profession that encourages personal change through self-examination this line from Angelou struck me as I was reading it. In the past I'd thought of some of Oprah's massive gift giving as gimmicky or a mere bolstering of her celebrity status. But the more I thought about it the more I saw how her effort has been to bring a sense of humanity into a culture that places so much emphasis on fame, celebrities and advertising gimmicks.
I've only caught a few episodes of Oprah while growing up, but was right teary eyed after watching this montage.
Oprah's legacy lives on through her OWN TV Network, The Oprah Bookclub and O! Magazine, which features IDP Lineage mentor and best-selling author Sharon Salzberg continuing Oprah's (and the Buddha's) tradition of encouraging personal change through self examination.
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