In March, Crave debuted the highly controversial and incredibly difficult documentary Leaving Neverland, which focused on Wade Robson and James Safechuck, two men who allege they were sexually abused as children by Michael Jackson. The response to the documentary has been divided, but one person who hasn’t been scared off by the controversy is Oprah Winfrey. You can’t scare a badass.
Following the broadcast premiere of Leaving Neverland, Winfrey released a follow-up interview with Robson, Safechuck and Leaving Neverland filmmaker Dan Reed, where she spoke to the men about the abuse. Oprah Winfrey Presents: Leaving Neverland is the latest in a long list of reasons we continue to bow down to Queen Oprah. Regardless of how difficult a guest, taboo a subject matter, unpopular an opinion, or unknown a great piece of art, Winfrey isn’t scared to approach anything head on.
Here are 10 more times Oprah Winfrey was a total badass.
OPRAH GOES TO FORSYTH COUNTY
In 1987, Oprah had only been hosting her daytime talk show for five months when she traveled to the all-white community of Forsyth County, Georgia. Speaking with racist and homophobic members of the community, Winfrey maintained her cool throughout the episode in an attempt to understand where the hatred and fear stemmed from in the town. It was a shocking hour of television and set the tone for Oprah’s reign as a culture-changer.
OPRAH MAKES A BOOK CLUB
Before 1996, book clubs were thought of as small groups of women in rural areas gathering once per month to discuss romance novels. They still are, but Oprah made book clubs cool, launching the careers of dozens of writers who went on to sell millions of copies of their novels and often the film rights to their work. Without Winfrey, we may never have read Cheryl Strayed’s Wild or Anne-Marie MacDonald’s Fall on Your Knees, or seen Where The Heart Is or White Oleander on the big screen. Oprah is a badass book dream maker.
OPRAH APOLOGIZES TO JAMES FREY
Yes, it’s badass to apologize. In 2006, Oprah invited author James Frey on to her show to confront him after the veracity of his memoir “A Million Little Pieces,” which had become a bestseller thanks to Oprah including the title in her book club, was called into question. Frey’s book turned out to have many falsified statements and Winfrey berated both Frey and his editor, with the episode never sitting well with us. Frey, who had not been informed about the tone of the interview, was dropped by his publisher and lost future book deals, with people who bought A Million Little Pieces offered a refund. First off, we can barely remember what we did last week, so to expect someone writing a book about years they spent drunk and on drugs to be completely accurate feels unrealistic. Second, Oprah had shown more respect to members of the KKK than to Frey. That’s why it was so impactful when Winfrey later sat down on camera with Frey to apologize, a move that reminded viewers of the power and importance of the word ‘sorry.’ Winfrey now considers Frey a friend, which also makes us feel better. If you get yelled at by Oprah on national TV, a cashmere scarf eases the blow.
OPRAH WINS THE GOLDEN GLOBES
At the 2018 Golden Globes, Oprah was presented with the Cecil B. DeMille award and used her screen time to remind us why we miss rushing home at 4 p.m. to watch her show every day. The celebrated actor celebrated the #TimesUp movement and took on racism, sexism, and called President Trump way the hell out in her emotional, inspiring, and quintessentially Oprah speech that had viewers calling for the journalist to run for president. Her words are like a literal hug for our hearts.
OPRAH STAYS IN HER CHICKEN TRUTH
In 2018, Buzzfeed writer Spencer Althouse uncovered a clip of Winfrey eating an award-winning chicken recipe by a woman who didn’t put salt and pepper on her chicken. We didn’t even know skipping salt and pepper was an option. Not only was the clip a Masterclass in Shade, but Winfrey even responded to the video. It’s important to stay in your truth, even with the chicken is bland.
OPRAH ACKNOWLEDGED MY CHICKEN VIDEO TWEET AND SAID MY NAME I AM LITERALLY SHAKING
— Spencer Althouse (@SpencerAlthouse) December 13, 2018
OPRAH DOESN’T BUY A PURSE
Oprah has always used her platform to help people have difficult conversations, whether it was child abuse, violence against women, sexuality, or in many cases, racism. And if billionaire Oprah Winfrey can’t buy a purse TWICE, these are conversations that we still very much need to have. Time to get some Italians in here.
OPRAH LETS TOM CRUISE JUMP AROUND
Have you watched the video of Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah’s couch lately? The clip still holds up. Revisiting the infamous declaration of love for Joey Potter, Winfrey says that she thinks the clip got blown out of proportion (maybe not) and that any other woman would be stoked for their partner to be that happy about them. Okay, that part is fair.
OPRAH GIVES EVERYONE A CAR
There are a lot of perks that come with being Oprah Winfrey, but gifting an audience full of deserving teachers with a brand-new car? Well, that makes you Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and a badass fairy godmother all in one.
OPRAH SQUASHES THE LETTERMAN FEUD
For years, there was an ongoing feud between late night host David Letterman and Oprah Winfrey. In 2013, Winfrey invited Letterman to her Next Chapter series to share her side, which included being part of a hostile set on Letterman’s show. Though Letterman apologized and Winfrey agreed to be done with the feud, we loved that she made it clear that it’s never okay to make a guest, especially a woman, feel attacked.
OPRAH CELEBRATES FRIENDSHIP
Oprah has always been a champion of others, especially women. Especially her bestie Gayle King. We never get tired of seeing badass women supporting badass women.
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) March 6, 2019