Oprah Winfrey is a media titan, philanthropist, businesswoman, vogue icon, actress, and all-around American treasure—and a brand new museum exhibition is now giving her the credit score she deserves.
On Friday the Nationwide Museum of African American Historical past and Tradition in Washington, D.C., unveiled “Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Present and American Tradition," an exhibition that celebrates Winfrey's monumental contributions to society. The exhibit pays particular consideration to the cultural influence of her iconic daytime program The Oprah Winfrey Present, which grew to become the highest-rated discuss present in historical past throughout its 25-year run.
“What’s attention-grabbing is identical manner America considered Walter Cronkite—you can belief Walter Cronkite and his opinion—they belief Oprah,” museum director Lonnie G. Bunch III instructed The Washington Put up. “An African American girl turns into the particular person America turns to.”
The exhibition includes a collection of interview segments, video clips, images and journals that chronicle Winfrey's life and profession. The primary part focuses on the methods by which the cultural shifts of the 1950s and '60s formed and knowledgeable Winfrey's worldview—because the museum's web site places it, Winfrey is "a daughter of the civil rights era whose phenomenal story of success illuminates the struggles and achievements of African American girls all through historical past."
The second half consists of artifacts and ephemera from Harpo Studios in Chicago, the place Winfrey filmed The Oprah Winfrey Present. The exhibition explores how Winfrey used the present to boost conversations round race, equality and gender via her interviews, enchancment segments, and common guide membership discussions.
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The ultimate a part of the exhibition highlights her function as a "cultural influencer and tastemaker." Along with showing in movies like The Butler and A Wrinkle in Time as an actress, Winfrey has produced award-winning movies like Beloved and the Ava DuVernay–directed characteristic Selma. She's additionally helped launched the careers of a variety of authors via her guide membership and has promoted arts and tradition via her philanthropy and on The Oprah Winfrey Community (OWN).
Whereas Winfrey donated $21 million to the Nationwide Museum of African American Historical past and Tradition, the museum instructed The Washington Put up that her function as a benefactor didn’t affect the present. As a substitute, they defined that the exhibition was put collectively by museum students and curators Rhea L. Combs and Kathleen Kendrick, who labored onerous to steadiness Winfrey's private story and success.
“We’re offering a context for understanding not solely who she is, however how she grew to become a world determine, and the way she is linked to broader tales and themes,” Kendrick stated.