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The media mogul shares why it's important to tell the stories of African-American women.

Sydney Scott
Mar, 24, 2017

Oprah Winfrey is one of the most inspiring women on the planet and, aside from her own determination, she often finds empowerment and motivation from the stories of Black women.

Winfrey, who is set to star in HBO's upcoming The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, spoke with ESSENCE for our April cover story and opened up about feeling empowered by Black women, who have been largely forgotten or grappled with overwhelming obstacles.

In our latest issue the media mogul reveals that she's always been draw to writing and stories that elevate black voices. In her youth, Winfrey would choose works by Black men and women like Fannie Lou Hamer and Margaret Walker for school oratorical competitions instead of the usual Shakespeare. 

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Her passion for exposing these voices to the world is also what drew her to the The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which she purchased the films rights to in 2010, shortly after the book was published. 

"I've been intrigued by this idea of what hearing someone else's story can do for you," she says, "It is through the stories of other African-American women that I felt my own sense of identity and came into my own power."

Read the full cover story in ESSENCE's April issue on newsstands now.