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Sound Off: What We Can Learn from Oprah

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Like million of viewers, I also tuned in to Oprah's interview with Barbara Walters last night and found myself bubbling with curiosity and admiration.  As always, the daytime queen captivates audiences and for better or worse, many of us have been stricken with a mild case of the  O-obsession.   

And what's there not to love about her?   Her lavish lifestyle gives us something to dream of, her generous giveaways urge us to share more, and her candid stories lets us know we're not alone. Now I know there's a fair deal of Oprah-opposition and disbelief. Some online writers have already suggested last-night's teary-eyed confession about Gayle King was a hoax but it's this doubt that makes Oprah all the more obsession-worthy. Enshrouded in her glamor, flawless hair, and larger-than-life personality is a woman of pure allure and mystery. Oprah may share her life experiences but many of us can't help but wonder, plain and simple: "is this woman real?"

 I definitely believe she is and what's she' s done for Black female image is even realer than the billions she owns. Ms. Winfrey, like many Black women, carved her own success from very humble beginnings. The daughter of a southern barber, she left segregated Kosciusko, Mississippi to face a white-male dominated news media. As a young reporter, she conquered the little-known miseries we rarely hear in interviews:  a humiliating demotion at a Baltimore news station, tumultuous breakups, a troubling eating disorder, and a complex about being  a dark-skinned girl in the late-70s. These struggles morph the million-dollar princess into another sister down the block with big dreams and enough ambition to pursue them. How many of us dream of owning our own business, traveling the world, and which appendage would you give just to sit through 10 minutes of Oprah's Favorite Things?

  Her 25 years in television have become both legend and myth for us. From her historical magazine cover with Michelle Obama to the launch of her upcoming cable network, OWN television, Oprah puts a face and name to Black female success.  She's our modern-day Madame CJ Walker and a constant reminder that we can accomplish great things, no matter where we come from.

 So let me ask you: is there anything we really can't do?  What's one Oprah-challenge you plan to conquer next year?
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