Hollywood talk show queen Oprah Winfrey has expressed joy over the ongoing development in the film industry in which racism, slavery and civil rights are tackled. Winfrey said she feels proud there are a good number of new titles now that cover the topic. One particular title, “12 Years of a Slave,” moved the talk show queen to tears while she was being interviewed about her personal review of the film.
Civil rights struggle
Oprah Winfrey who is also branded as the most influential Hollywood celebrity said the right time has come for moviegoers to accept and appreciate films that expose slavery and deprivation of civil rights in earlier years. She admits she herself had faced challenges regarding the color of her skin but she said she is thankful she has overcome those difficulties in her life. Oprah said that it is high time now to understand and embrace the plight of racially discriminated people.
Winfrey, host of “Oprah,” one of the longest running and highly rated talk shows in the United States stars in the movie “The Butler.” The movie tells the life story of Cecil Gaines (played by Forest Whitaker) an African American man who spent his childhood in a cotton plantation. In his adult life, Gaines served as White House butler for 34 years. Gaines witnessed, while working in the White House, how presidents would serve and finish their tenure and succeeded one another. As a butler, he saw many significant events in the Capital and observed the struggles of people who were deprived of their civil rights. Oprah plays the role of Gloria the wife of Gaines.
When Oprah was asked if the criticisms directed to President Barack Obama have something to do with the color of his skin, she answered positively. “There’s no question,” Winfrey, a staunch Obama supporter told reporters. Oprah went on to say that there is time for everything and that she knows this is the right time to let people know that racism existed big time and is still present today amidst modern backdrop.
1998 slavery film
Oprah also starred in a 1998 film entitled “Beloved,” which also portrayed slavery. However the movie did not receive a warm reception, even from African American press. She said it is fortunate that “The Butler” continues to earn good reviews compared to previous civil rights films. She attributes the current reception of new civil rights movies as an indication that people are now ready to see and welcome these kinds of films.
Recognizing the past
Oprah also realizes that her role in “The Butler” is also an eye opener for her. Through the movie, she recognizes her past. According to her, it is important to acknowledge where you come from and if there are groups who particularly benefit from seeing the movie, it is the youth. Young people, Oprah said, are not very keen anymore in reading history. By watching films with historical accounts, they are educated and enlightened about their own past.
Winfrey, owner of a giant media company, also said she feels luckier that since she was born at a later time, she did not have much experience with racial segregation. She attended school in Mississippi where students were mixed regardless of race.
Photo Credit: Oprah Winfrey