Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham attend the ‘Selma’ and the Legends Who Paved the Way gala on December 6, 2014, in Goleta, California.
Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham attend the ‘Selma’ and the Legends Who Paved the Way gala on December 6, 2014, in Goleta, California.
Photo: Jason Merritt (Getty Images)

In a recent Zoom conversation titled, WW Presents: Your Life in Focus: A Vision Forward, Oprah and longtime friend Gayle King discussed the past weekend’s protests, which popped off following the police killing of George Floyd. (By the way 50 Cent, here’s some of the easily Google-able information you could’ve come across!)

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“I cannot stop thinking about it,” Gayle mused. “I can’t stop thinking about the looting. I can’t stop thinking about George Floyd. I can’t stop thinking about the expression on that cop’s face when he has his knee on his neck. He’s so comfortable, he had his hands in his pocket. That’s the universal sign of ‘I’m really chilling here, I’m so comfortable’.” Gayle also cited other instances which compounded these feelings, including Amy Cooper calling the police on Christian Cooper in Central Park and the brutal murder of Ahmaud Arbery.

“Thank God for the videotape. In this case, the Central Park case, in the Ahmaud Arbery case, people say ‘it’s better.’ Well, racism isn’t better,” King said. “Racism still exists. It’s just on video.”

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“I am speechless. I am really, really speechless about what we’re seeing on television this morning. It feels to me like open season…and that sometimes it’s not a safe place to be in this country for black men,” Oprah added.

That “open season” is also colored by the further microaggressions that black men have to endure in everyday life, including racial profiling by police (or overly eager white folks who attempt to make citizen’s arrests).

“I do not know a black man, period, who has not been profiled. I do not know a black man who has not been stopped at some point—including Stedman Graham,” Oprah confirmed of her partner for more than 30 years. Unfortunately, that is a statement most black women (black people, period) can relate to.

Of course, this sobering fact means many black parents are faced with the necessary decision to have what is referred to as “The Talk” with their black children. Gayle reflected on this very talk with her own son, which is heightened during a global pandemic when U.S. citizens are required to walk the streets wearing a mask. Even such a simple safety measure is layered for a black person.

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Per Yahoo Entertainment:

“Will, walking your dog Scott who we all know and love ... You’re doing the most ordinary things and you lose your life doing the most ordinary things,” she said, pointing out that her son said he always wears T-shirts with college logos on them. But King put her foot down when he showed her his mask, which was all black. “I said, that’s a little scary. You could look menacing,” she told her son. When he replied wondering what difference the color of his mask would make, King told him, “Will. It makes a difference. It just does...Cut to Central Park. Cut to Ahmaud Arbery. Cut to George Floyd.”

“There’s no black mother that hasn’t had the conversation with their son about making the adaption to when you’re stopped, having the right demeanor and behavior and going into that. Whatever is necessary to keep yourself alive. But when you look at that videotape, he did all that,” replied Winfrey, referring to the Floyd case.

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To catch the complete online conversation, hit the play button below:

WW Presents Oprah’s Your Life in Focus: A Vision Forward, Week Three / WW formerly Weight Watchers (YouTube)

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

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