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A Very Personal Oprah Story And Happy Birthday To Oprah Winfrey

It’s so great to see that times are changing as to whom one can look up to. When I was a young it was always called Man’s Work. It meant that women were only designated to certain talents and careers limiting the majority of the world’s population to obscurity. I felt pretty alone as a kid because my Harley Davis motor cycle riding father worked for a major auto company. My beautiful sweet little mother was her being one of the first women in town with her licenses and became a professional barber. Any boy or man in our neighborhood who wanted to look like a success had to come through Mrs. Ora Lee White’s barber shop. Mom was out there breaking down some very tall walls. The first 2 months no one even came close to sitting in her chair until she had me come in the shop to be her first work of art. From that day on everyone started to say Mrs. Ora Lee, I want mine cut just like his. And so her legacy began.

You see even though we’ve had many great women come along in our lifetime they never really got the full credit or exposure they truly deserved. A lot of women had to earned it with time, blood, sweat and tears to make a better life for all of us self-proclaim great men, starting with our mothers. All of this made me think about Ms. Oprah Winfrey celebrating her birthday. Oprah was one of the first women that helped change the perception that all people could look up to someone other than another man. When a person of very humble and tragic beginnings turns and uneven playing field into victory they now can say I want to be like Oprah. What is the essence of her production company OWN really mean. It means true ownership of one’s own destiny. The ability to get up in the morning and do what you want to do with this beautiful life your Creator has given you. When I first met Oprah she was at a place called The Lot a Los Angeles based film studio. There she adorned a hard hat as she and her team were tracking the progress of her newly constructed OWN headquarters. I asked her head of security if it would be ok to go over and say hello. As I introduced myself it caught me off guard that she looked me straight in the eyes and held my hand as she talked to me intently. I was literary hypnotized from the neck down so much so that I must have come off seemingly pretty anti sociable because the only thing I heard was her calling my name as I snapped out of the trance she had me in.

She smiled said goodbye. The interesting twist to the story is back in the early 1970’s my little singing group performed at Tennessee University. That happened to be year when Oprah was a student at the university. I’d like to think she was somewhere in the crowd. The greatest thing about Oprah is she represents not only the female greats in the history books but also the ones you never read about, like my dear ole mom who worked her entire life every day to help feed their family, then rushing home just in the nick of time to love all of us.

HER OWN POEM – Dedicated to Oprah Winfrey

The magic in Oprah
Honors our Foremothers
Those risking their lives
To save our brothers
Our souls were bought
With Harriet’s nerve
Our search for Ms. Truth
Maya Angelou’s words
Dear Hattie Mae loved
With ‘Sweet Mama Style
Her ole fashion grace
Made it all worth while
There was even a time
Kids admired only men
But because of Ms Winfrey
They follow who wins
Now Nelson and Martin
Are circling above
Still teaching us freedom
Comes only from love
Left your head high
You’re never alone
Oprah kept her faith
God gave her, her OWN.

Written by James E. White Jr. Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

James E. White Jr.
All Rights Reserved