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EXCLUSIVE: Oprah Winfrey On What it Means to Be a Powerful Black Woman in Hollywood

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Oprah Winfrey at Black Women in Hollywood
Photo Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

When it comes to power, there isn’t a Black woman alive who knows more about it than Oprah Winfrey.

At the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood luncheon today, Power Award honoree Winfrey showed up to the red carpet with nine young students from her Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa and spoke about what power truly means to her as a Black woman in the industry.

“The truth is, I try not to let other people define for me whether I have power or don’t,” said Winfrey. “I ended the show, and then there were a whole bunch of people who said, ‘Oh, you don’t have power anymore.’ But the truth is, I know who I am, and the thing about power for me is that it’s connected to a source that’s obviously greater than myself. Any time you can connect to the source and understand that that’s where all of your energy, your creativity, your joy and your triumph come from, I consider that to be authentic power.”

Winfrey says when you’re channeling that type of power, the sky is the limit. “That’s the kind [of power] that nobody can define,” Winfrey said. “To me, that’s really what matters the most: knowing who you are, whose you are, so that you always have [power].”

This afternoon, the biggest and brightest women in Black Hollywood have gathered to pay tribute to Winfrey and the fellow honorees, Gabrielle Union, Mara Brock-Akil, Naomie Harris, Alfre Woodard and Quvenzhané Wallis.

Reported by Yolanda Sangweni

Re-live all the fun and excitement from the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood red carpet here.

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