Don’t judge me but I’m may just be this woman’s biggest fan…and for good reason.
I grew up with Oprah Winfrey…kind of. My mother tuned into the The Oprah Winfrey Show religiously every weekday at 4pm. I had an after school activity that went until 4:15? Too bad, my mom wasn’t leaving the house until after 5:00. Needed anything from my mom between 3:45 and 5:00pm during the week? Too bad, you were going to have to wait until a commercial break or until the show ended. In fact, my mom is still convinced that if she had the opportunity, she would replace Gayle and without a doubt be Oprah’s best friend. The opportunity has yet to come about but clearly that didn’t stop Oprah from being a prominent figure in my house and constantly being on our television screens.
I never realized the kind of impact my years of “Oprah-exposure” had on me until I grew older. For the longest time I didn’t know what i wanted to do for a career. My mom suggested that I join the yearbook committee in high school and I was first introduced to journalism. Aside from getting into every school event for free, I truly enjoyed talking one-on-one with students about the organizations and events that they enjoyed; it became my favorite part about school. My high school was like many others: segregated by cliques that created strong social barriers between students. And on top of all that I was a military child, so I was always “the new girl.” Yet through yearbook, I could collapse those social barriers and talk to fellow students who I had previously never exchanged more than a glance with. I realized I was given a tool that in a very small way, could alter the status-quo.
I decided to major in journalism at college and for some reason, I decided to concentrate in broadcast. “It’s new, exciting, and something I’ve never done before,” I thought. Now I realize that all along I wanted to do what Oprah Winfrey did every weekday on her show: talk with people and learn their amazing personal stories. And what’s even better than learning the tribulations, successes, passions, and lessons from people’s personal experiences? Sharing them.
Therefore when people ask what I want to do with my life I simply answer, “I want to be this generation’s Oprah.” Of course I get remarks like, “Yeah, you and everybody else,” or “Isn’t that a bit cliche?” or my personal favorite, “Oh I get it, you’re a black woman and a journalist! Of course!” I understand: it’s a bit comical and sounds farfetched. Who wouldn’t want to be Oprah? But when I say that, I don’t necessarily mean that I want to the spit image of Oprah Winfrey and frankly, repetition of her television success is
impossible (I actually despise the word, impossible…too many things deemed impossible have proved otherwise) not quite what I’m aiming for. I mean that I want to inspire the number of people she has inspired, connect with others the way she can, be in a position to give back just as graciously as she has, and feel as though I’m learning every single day I come into work. That’s how I depict being “this generation’s Oprah.” I already realize how I can fulfill some of these desires through my broadcast journalism work. So everyone: let me respect the O.