Community Voices

Oprah, we love you. But please don’t run for president

Oprah Winfrey accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018.
Oprah Winfrey accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. NBC via AP

“Will she?” or “Won’t she?” That’s what’s on the minds of many Americans since Oprah Winfrey gave her riveting acceptance speech Sunday at the Golden Globes ceremony, where she received the Cecil B. DeMille Award.

I have been an admirer of Winfrey since I first saw her on television decades ago. Back when she started, the black women who made it to the TV screen were usually very light skinned and had straight hair. Oprah looked like me and millions of other black women. She had brown skin and kinky hair, which at one time she wore in an Afro. She was chubby, and openly struggled with her weight. So, right away, we dubbed her our shero.

Moreover, Oprah never tried to make us think she was perfect. She held nothing back from her life story. We shed tears with her when she told the story of the sexual abuse she suffered as a young girl, which led her to become pregnant (the baby died) when she herself was still a child. We identified because many of us had suffered similar abuse.

And we cheered her on as her career took off like a speeding race car. In short, we loved Oprah with all her flaws. Many of us still do.

But Oprah for president? I was so caught up in the moment after her speech, my first my thought was, “Why not?”

Then, after sleeping on it and thinking much about Oprah being the president of the United States, I thought, “Yep, I believe Oprah could be elected. And I believe that she would do as good a job as any elected president to date.”

Then the haters came crawling out of the cracks.

So, Oprah, don’t do it. I love you and I am so proud of you, for all the great things you have accomplished and for your giving spirit. As an actor, entrepreneur and philanthropist, you have excelled in ways that I am sure, even you didn’t think possible. I know that you would carry that same spirit into the White House.

But as I think about the days when Barack Obama became president: I watched as those who were supposed to help him make our country even better, vow to hold him back. They showed America their true color and it was the color of hate. They vowed to see to it that he would not be a successful president. I listened one day as one of the senators called Obama a “liar” on the Senate floor. My heart sank at the disrespect this senator showed for our president.

I watched as Obama’s hair turned a striking salt-and-pepper hue, to the nearly all white head of hair he had when he left office.

Through all of the stones hurled at him, he remained the gentleman he was before entering the White House. Whatever was thrown at him, he seemed to just let it slide off his back.

Oprah, you have faced many challenges throughout your life and career. You are a strong woman. I know, in my heart, that you can take on the oppressors just as President Obama did, and do it with the same wisdom, grace and dignity.

But Oprah, I don’t want you to. I don’t want them to hurt you as they did our President Obama. I don’t want you trying to swim through the rough waters if you decide to run for president.

In your place in the world, Oprah, you are doing so much good. As the popular song says, when you could have sat it out, you danced. You are a generous woman who wants to ease the hurts of the world, to make it a better place for us all. Keep up the good work, Oprah. You are just where you need to be. From your perch, you have been able to soar like an eagle, to reach out to the hurting and disadvantaged of the world.

So, Oprah, please stay where you are. And with the help of the Lord, you will continue to dance some more ... and then soar.

Charles Rangel to speak

The community is invited to hear retired U.S. Rep. Charles B. Rangel speak 9 a.m. Sunday at the Church of the Incarnation, 1835 NW 54th St. in Liberty City, as the congregation celebrates the 30th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Worship service.

Rangel, one of the longest serving members Congress, represented upper Manhattan for 46 years. A native of Harlem, he is a graduate of New York University and St. John’s University School of Law.

Known for his colorful personality, the former congressman was the founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, which began with 13 members, and now has approximately 50 members. Rangel was also responsible for the African Growth and Opportunity Act and the Empowerment Zone Act. During the Obama years, he sponsored more legislation than any other representative.

The congressman served in the U. S. Army during the Korean War and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart in 1950. He retired early 2017 and lives in Harlem with his wife, Alma.

This year’s worship service also commemorates the 50th anniversary of King’s death. A reception will follow the service in the J. Kenneth Major Hall.

Remembrance ceremony

Monday marks the 180th anniversary of two 1838 battles that changed the history of Palm Beach County and the nation. Commemorating the anniversary, the annual Seminole Maroon Spiritual Remembrance ceremony will be held 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at historic Loxahatchee Battlefield Park in Jupiter.

This is significant to African Americans who might not be aware of their role in the Florida/Seminole history. Survivors of the battles would later be lured to Fort Jupiter under a white flag of truce, where they were captured and departed on the Trail of Tears to present-day Oklahoma. Many of their descendants still live there, with branches also in Texas and Mexico. Some were turned over to “slave catchers” as “recaptured runaways” and taken north into the southern states to be sold.

The event is presented by the ‘Florida Black Historical Research Project and seems to be a great event for families with children, especially black families. For more information, call 305-772-7714, 305-904-7620 or go to www.fbhrpinc.org.

Zora Neale Hurston Festival

There’s still be time for you to purchase your space on the bus that is leaving Jan. 27 for the annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival in Eatonville, Florida.

Sponsored by Booker T. Washington Alumni Class of 1960, the one-day round-trip event costs $85 per person and includes bus transportation, complimentary refreshments and festival admission. The cost for children ages 6 and under is $60 per person.

Buses will depart from Golden Glades Terminal (North Parking lot) at 6 a.m. and will depart from Eatonville after the show.

If you go, you will need to bring a portable chair and a light sweater or jacket. No outside food, beverage or ice coolers will be allowed at the festival.

For more information, call Cornelia Sands, 305-621-6412; Ramona Exum, 305-625-2961, or Jimmie Knowles, 786-356-2282. Proceeds will benefit the BTW Scholarship Fund.

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Religion Notes, c/o Neighbors, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172 or email bea.hines@gmail.com. Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.

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