The call for talk show host and media mogul Oprah Winfrey, 63, to run for president in 2020 was loud and divisive.
No doubt, her speech upon receiving an award at the January 7 Golden Globe Awards was exhilarating. She addressed the current #MeToo movement, saying: “I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have”.
But she also reminded us: there are so many women who’ve come before to make this moment possible. In particular, she referenced Recy Taylor, a black woman who was raped by six white men in 1944 and who never saw justice.
With this, Winfrey’s uncanny ability to unite as well as condemn, a flame was lit beneath an an idea: Oprah 2020.
Media commentators, celebrities, members of the public – even actress Meryl Streep – called on Winfrey to consider running. But their enthusiasm was criticised by others. Winfrey has no past experience in politics and doesn’t this remind you of anyone? (ahem… Donald Trump.) Fame, we should know by now, should not equal eligibility.
LISTEN: All the signs were pointing to Oprah running in 2020. Post continues below.
As the debate around her raged, Winfrey remained silent. But now, finally, she has spoken about what she feels she can do, and – fortunately, or unfortunately – it doesn’t involve running for president.
“I’ve always felt very secure and confident with myself in knowing what I could do and what I could not,” the 63-year-old told InStyle in a recent interview. “And so it’s not something that interests me. I don’t have the DNA for it.”
She said her best friend, television presenter Gayle King, often speaks to her about the possibility of running, but knows deep down it’s (probably) not going to happen.
“Gayle—who knows me as well as I know myself practically—has been calling me regularly and texting me things, like a woman in the airport saying, ‘When’s Oprah going to run?’,” Winfrey said.
“So Gayle sends me these things, and then she’ll go, ‘I know, I know, I know! It wouldn’t be good for you—it would be good for everyone else’.”
Winfrey said, although she's seen the mugs and the T-shirts and she even met with someone recently who said they would help her campaign, her mind is made up: "That's not for me."
But just because she will not campaign for the presidency, does not mean she is done. Far from it.
Winfrey knows what she is good at, and - luckily - what she is good at can also create real change.
"I have to say the core of me is about conversations. Exploring the depth of our human experiences. That is what I do. That is my calling," she said.
"Whether I do that through dramas, producing stories with OWN [Oprah Winfrey Network], or one-on-one conversations that matter, I know that’s what I’m here to do."
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