It’s the end of an era and we’re going to miss Oprah Winfrey tremendously.
For the world’s first black billionairess, it was all about her fans in a finale that marked 4,561 days of the Oprah Winfrey Show. Projecting passion and woman power in a demure, pink, scooped-neck dress, Oprah immediately let her audience know that her goodbye show would include no guests, gimmicks, makeovers, or surprises of any kind.
Instead, the wannabe teacher delivered a one-hour tribute to her audience in a self-described “love letter” that recapped the highlights of her self-help philosophy in “the world’s largest classroom”.
It was a lovefest in which Oprah hit all the empowerment themes. “Everyone has a calling.” “Each one of you has your own platform.”
“What is life?” Oprah asked her audience. “Life is energy” and “what we learned on this show is that you are responsible for your life.” The Queen of Talk reminded her pupils that they were responsible for their own energy as well as the energy they imposed on others.
“You and this show have been the great love of my life”, Oprah told her audience---perhaps to the surprise of longtime companion Steadman Graham, present in the studio audience, and whom Oprah quickly kissed and hugged at the show’s end.
In addition to a staunch reminder that “no one completes you”, Oprah also covered the themes of validation, self-worth, identity, the perils of being too judgemental, grace, and God.
Indeed, while she began like a teacher, Oprah ended like a preacher. Belying a publicly espoused liberal political bias, she talked favourably about the days when students were allowed to pray in schools. She counseled her fans to let go and let God, and video clips of the recovered addicts and victims among her show guests were aired throughout the hour-long farewell.
In the end, Oprah looked strikingly like an evangelist as she stretched out her arms to the audience and declared “To God be the glory”.
Refusing to use the word “goodbye”, she released a new e-mail address, email@example.com to her fans so that they will stay in touch.
But more than e-mailing, the beloved billionairess may be hoping that they will tune in to her beleaguered OWN, which five months after its debut has yet to capture impressive viewer ratings.
Keep going, O, the world needs you!
[Image: ABC, Harpo]