From the Editor
WE ARE having a moment of reckoning. Natural disasters – a result of long gestating issues with the environment – and major upheavals in our politics and culture have crossed class, race and gender barriers and continue to hold us all in a collective grasp as we wait to see how the dust settles on this new world order if, in fact, it does.
Where we once turned to our national and our religious leaders to guide us through tumultuous times, our cultural icons are now taking to the public pulpit, using their voices to bring us hope. Every moment gets the icon it needs to meet it and, for us at this time, it is Oprah Winfrey.
For more than 30 years, Winfrey’s radical openness about her travails and triumphs and her empathetic approach has created a deep and personal connection to us, her audience. We’ve cried and laughed and cheered alongside her. Even before complete social media amplification, Winfrey had a platform like no other, one she flexed to powerful effect in anointing a little-known Illinois senator with a complex biography “The One” in 2007 during his first quixotic presidential run.
Of course, that senator was Barack Obama, and it was his 2004 breakout Democratic National Convention keynote address, with its unifying message of a “purple America,” that elevated him to a presidential contender in the first place.
No one, perhaps only Winfrey could have predicted the seismic effect of her acceptance speech on receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment” – an understatement, really. After all, her life and work ethic have taken her from the segregated south on a journey as epic as one could hope to imagine, into an award-winning actor, a billionaire business mogul and global philanthropist. The speech, which both stunned and electrified the room, went viral as a rallying cry to all genders and all races and immediate- ly inspired a groundswell of Oprah 2020 speculation. And it’s little wonder that given these divisive times, she is seen as an alleviating beacon.
For as she said that night, “In my career, what I’ve always tried my best to do, whether on television or through film, is to say something about how men and women really behave. To say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere and how we overcome. I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who’ve withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights.”
In Oprah we trust.