Friday, October 12, 2007

Is Oprah On?

It has really been amazing to see the lack of coverage or concern about the Megan Williams incident, you know the young woman who was kidnapped, raped, and tortured by six white people in West Virginia? In my mind, I wanted to believe that Oprah was already putting a show together about this issue. I just knew that after her slamming of so called misogynistic elements of hip-hop, she along with her Spelman cohort would be ready to go to bat for Ms. Williams. In that same show, perhaps, she would also bring some attention to the black woman who was gang raped in West Palm Beach, Florida in the Dunbar Village Housing Project and then forced to perform oral sex on her own twelve-year old son! The perpetrators in this crime were ten black young men.

Why no fuss about these issues? Yes, we have seen the Jena 6 protest and we have heard the follow-ups about the West Virginia and Dunbar cases from news outlets, but I want to ask Oprah, why has she not done a show about the violence against black women in American society? In a contemporary context it would seem as if it is more than warranted, but I would dare say that even without these incidents she should have a show that calls this very issue into question.

The argument could be made that Oprah has a myriad of things going on and there is just not "time" right now, but any argument of that type would fall on deaf ears. Just last week I saw that she had a show about Tyler Perry's new movie, Why did I get Married? and today, her show is about transsexual marriages that work. So my question and concern is Oprah, when are you going to talk about Ms. Williams, the sister in the Dunbar Housing Project, the young sister who had her wrist broken at Knight High School in Palmdale, California, or even the 15-year old black girl that was punched and pepper sprayed by an officer in the face during an arrest in Fort Pierce, Florida? Are we going to see HARPO Productions cover these very salient issues that pertain to the violence against black women perpetrated by those both within and outside of the race? For those who are Oprah faithfuls and worship at her thrown of grace everyday at 4pm, when are you going to send her producers an email? Furthermore, with all the money that Oprah has, the question becomes who is she beholden to?

I'm sure that many still remember how she was denied entrance into a sheik Parisian boutique last year. Even after she told them who she was, she was not allowed to enter. Now, Oprah has arguably done a great deal...she has a school in South Africa, she just recently helped to capture two pedophiles. I think that it is great that she is making a difference. For all practical purposes, she has become all things to all people. Regardless, when will she deal with some real issues that permeate the very fabric of this nation, specifically the destruction and the lack of value of the African American female body? This is not just an issue for so called public intellectuals to wax poetic about, it is something we ALL should think about. This problem is older than this nation and finds its roots in the bowels of the Good Ship Jesus or even the shores of Virginia in 1619 when the first bonded persons of African descent were forcibly transplanted to these shores.

Oprah, my dear sister, "A time comes when silence is betrayal."

1 comment:

Veronica said...


I understand what you are saying...but I don't agree. I do agree that black people should use their fame and power to give back to the community and to cause awareness in the community. But, in regards to Ms. Oprah Winfrey I disagree with your attack on her due to her not discussing the recent violent attacks against black women.

Is Oprah the news anchor for all ills in the black community? No!
I do not recall that being a part of her job description. But, Oprah has done many shows where she has discussed issues within the black community and has highlighted positive images and role models in the black community. (can you think of anyone else who has done ALL of that? NO!)

In regards to violent acts against women, Oprah has also been a victim of a violent act. And, she has done shows in regards to violent acts against women where she has discussed even her own personal situation when she was molested at a young age.

One of her most recent past shows was where she discussed violence against women with the creator of the "Vagina Monologues" (love her performance) where it discusses violence against women from rape, torture, and mutilation.

Why is it that because we see a black person who has some fame and power we expect for them to be the Public Service Announcement for everything that goes wrong with black people? And yes, she did a show on rap music because someone needs to do so--because it is trash and it is poisoning our society. We need to ask THESE artists who have such an influence on our culture, "why they aren't writing a song about what is going on?" And why are they still telling us to "supersoak that hoe!"

We need to quit laying heavy on black leaders in our community who are doing something and begin to lay heavy on the black venomous snakes and the "so called" black leaders who keep bothering us with marches when something "racial" happens. I am sick from the poison and I am tired of wearing out my good shoes! Sigh!

In conclusion, Oprah has been uplifting black women from the times of "Color Purple" and "Brewster's Place." And she continues with her good works in the community and her show. She has been an asset to the black community nationally and internationally.

So let's lay off of Oprah and let's ask "the news" (because I do believe that is their job...right?)"why aren't they discussing the violent acts against African American women?" Better yet, write a letter to BET and ask them why they have not done a special on these issues. Because they did say, "we have got to do better."

By the way...don't forget to wear red on Oct. 31 for "Violence Against African American Women."


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Negrointellectual by Vernon C. Mitchell, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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