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Nomalanga: Why Oprah Should Not Give Up on Own TV

We’ve all been watching what some might call Oprah Winfrey’s desperate attempt to increase the ratings on her television network, OWN. Some say she is desperate because of the recent interview that she did with Curtis “50 cent” Jackson.

During the height of her television success as the host of the Oprah Show, Oprah often spoke out about her distaste for rappers and the way that their lyrics disrespected women. She was especially vocal about rappers who used the word “bitch” as though it was a synonym for women. So it is not surprising that many are speculating that she is desperate when she has a person like “50 cent”, who is well known for calling women “bitches”, on one of her shows.

The way I look at it is that she is no longer just running a show; she is running a network. She is running a network that not only caters to the “Oprah” audience, but to a very broad demographic. Her network is not just about her, it is as symbolic as the Obama presidency. It is as symbolic as Tyler Perry studios.  Never before has a Black woman taken it upon herself to have her OWN television channel, just as before President Obama was elected, we had never seen a Black man run a First world country, let alone the United States of America. Before Tyler Perry opened his studios, again we had never seen a Black man open a studio and produce movies on his OWN terms.

Many who know Oprah’s life story know that she has encountered hardships that some of us can not even imagine. She was told “no” more times than she could count and yet she persevered and ended up having the most successful day-time talk show that has ever been on television. People may say her network is “struggling” or “failing” but from where I stand, she was a success before OWN was ever launched and she will continue to be a success. Even if she closes the doors to OWN, she will always be the first ever Black woman to step out and say, “I want my OWN…” The same applies to Tyler Perry and President Obama; no one can take away what they have accomplished. There will always be those who do nothing and stand on the sidelines waiting to point out what the “doers” have failed at, instead of seeing them for the pioneers that they are. That should never be a reason to give up and I hope that Oprah will not give up on OWN.

 

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