When Oprah builds it, we all come. She’s got this undeniable Midas touch, which is why we want her to save America by running for president, but we don’t deserve the precious soul that is Oprah as the leader of the free world. In fact, in order for her to keep her limitless effervescence, it’s best that we keep Momma O away from politics.
We need the queen to remain in her current position so that she can bring us things like SuperSoul Conversations. This is Oprah’s live event that’s an extension of her three-time Emmy Award-winning series, SuperSoul Sunday, which features conversations between Oprah and top thinkers, authors, visionaries and spiritual leaders, exploring themes and issues including happiness, personal fulfillment, spirituality, conscious living and what it means to be alive in today’s world.
Basically, it’s the gospel. And when the gospel came to New York City earlier this month, I had to be in the building. Oprah brought her SuperSoul Conversations to the historic Apollo Theater and sat down for a day of interviews with Jordan Peele, Trevor Noah, Yara Shahidi, Salma Hayek, Stephen Colbert and Lin-Manuel Miranda, and each conversation brought with it inspiration, belly laughs and aha moments.
Full Disclosure: OWN invited The Root out to the Apollo in Harlem to listen to Oprah to talk to all our faves. I was just there to breathe in the air Oprah breathed out.
When Oprah walked out onto the stage, she gave the excited audience hope by saying, “It’s gonna be all right,” regarding how all of us are living in Trump’s America. And then she welcomed her first guest, Oscar nominee Peele. Oprah couldn’t help gushing over him. It was adorable. She physically leaned into his every word, and when she spoke of Rose from Peele’s Get Out, Oprah said, “Kill the bitch!” Y’all, Oprah said that!
She admitted that she’s not the biggest fan of horror, but Get Out challenged her to change her mind. Peele said, “The fact that we don’t deal with our fears because they’re so unpleasant doesn’t mean that they’re gone.” This was an aha moment for Oprah, who then reasoned that watching horror movies in the theater is the safest way to experience your fears. Peele responded by saying that we make personal progress by not turning our backs on our own fears. He added, “There’s a deficit in black men being allowed to be afraid and to fear.”
Peele said that he used Get Out as a vehicle for black men to explore their fear. That was such a dope conversation to witness. And it ended with Oprah letting Peele know that she’d reach out to former President Barack Obama to find out what he thought of Get Out.
The good word kept coming through conversations with the brilliant Shahidi, of whom Oprah is also an extreme fan. If you’ve ever heard the young woman speak, you’ll know that she’s basically a genius, spouting off knowledge about the world, activism, art, politics and more. Shahidi’s conversation with Oprah centered on being part of a generation of changemakers, on how she’s fascinated by civil rights and on her bright future. “I’m here to shift the perception of what’s deemed possible,” Shahidi said.
To which Oprah replied, “Baby, your future is so bright, it burns my eyes.”
And as the day went on, Oprah talked to our faves about a range of topics. With Miranda, Oprah talked about people of color having to work twice as hard for half the payoff; she marveled at Miranda’s passion for giving back, especially to the people (his people) of Puerto Rico. She reminisced with Noah about growing up in poverty, and they bonded over their use of outhouses.
Hayek opened up about speaking out against sexual assault and said that Harvey Weinstein harassed her for over five years and said to her, “I am going to kill you.” She didn’t write it in the New York Times article, but Weinstein allegedly told her, “I am going to break the kneecaps of that cunt.” The crowd was noticeably uncomfortable for Hayek.
But Oprah has that magic, where she’s able to dig out the biggest truth you’ve never revealed and makes the space for you to share it for your own healing. It’s beautiful to watch, but what are even more beautiful are the life gems you gain from her conversations.
So do yourself a favor, watch Oprah at the Apollo on OWN on Feb. 27 at 10 p.m. ET to see conversations with Jordan Peele, Salma Hayek and Trevor Noah and Tuesday, march 6 at 10 p.m. ET for Stephen Colbert, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Yara Shahidi.
And if you don’t have OWN, what are you doing? No, I’m kidding. You can also listen on Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations podcast. Now go forth and live your best life!
Editor’s Note: The best part was making my way into the official after party, which ended up being super intimate and Oprah literally greeted everyone there individually. And I got to take this picture with her.