During her 40-plus year career, Oprah Winfrey has won numerous Emmys, an honorary Oscar and the hearts of America as we sat in our living rooms. Now, her legacy is being immortalized at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
“Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture,” is an exhibition about “how America shaped Oprah and how she shaped America.”
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Here’s what you need to know about it:
It Digs Deep Into Her Talk Show’s Legacy And Her Entire Career : The Hollywood Reporter described the exhibit as starting off “with imagery and artifacts from the 1960s and ‘70s, when black actors and personalities on TV, like first broke free of stereotypes and began to fight their way toward equal representation in media.”
It then introduces “Oprah’s early career in TV news, and rise in popularity and covers the spectrum of her impact, from her ability to connect with women on issues from weight loss to fidelity, through her groundbreaking conversations about racism, gay rights, and sexual abuse that helped destigmatize those topics on a national scale.”
To help tell her remarkable story the exhibit features video clips, movie costumes, some of her own gowns, photographs and journals. In addition, it also makes you feel like you were right there about to win your own car with glass cases of original audience chairs, microphones, Oprah’s personal desk and her onstage armchairs, THR noted.
You can also get a glimpse of those famous size 6 Calvin Klein jeans she wore showing off her massive weight loss in 1988 and numerous gifts that her famous guests such Micheal Jordan, Lady Gaga and Maya Angelou gave her over the years.
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Our Very Own Cathy Hughes Gets A Shout Out Too: The exhibit celebrates CEO and president of Radio One Cathy Hughes, illuminating her own contribution to media that helped pave a way for Oprah to flourish.
Of course, Hughes was thrilled to be included. She tweeted: “Tomorrow I’m joining my fellow media maven,
@Oprah for the @NMAAHC Women’s E-3 Summit and the opening of the Oprah Winfrey Exhibition tomorrow. I am honored to be a part of yet another milestone to celebrate and empower our women.”
Oprah Helped Factcheck And Loaned Items For The Exhibit: The Lily reported that Auntie O, who is also one of the museum’s biggest donors, and her staff worked closely with Curators Rhea L. Combs and Kathleen Kendrick to get the details and background info correctly.
“In terms of content and narrative and the way the story is told, it’s the museum’s product,” Kendrick said. “The way we approached it was the way we approach all of our exhibitions.”
She added: “We’re providing a context for understanding not only who she is, but how she became a global figure, and how she is connected to broader stories and themes.”
Oprah Cried When She Was Taken On Her First Tour Of It: CBS News reported that alongside her bestie Gayle King and museum director Lonnie Bunch, Oprah was in tears during her first personal tour of the exhibit.
“How many people are alive who get exhibits?” the 64-year-old asked King.
Reading comments people shared about how Oprah has changed their lives, made her cry.
“Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King inspired my decision to become a journalist,” King read.
Another said, “Oprah brought my family together, we would all crowd around the TV to watch a woman do what we could only dream of doing. She gave me hope. That I too can be on TV, a strong black woman like her.”
The tear-jerker was this one: “Oprah Winfrey is the reason I love myself so fiercely and know that my voice matters.”
“Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture” opened on Friday, June 8.
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