Why One Techie Went Tweet for Tweet with the Former Queen of Daytime TV

Digital diva Dr. Goddess shares her opinion on why mainstream media needs to tune into Black Twitter

When Gabrielle told the talk show diva she wanted to “remain positive” and “not focus on the negative,” Winfrey chimed in with, “Well, I do!,” and proceeded to focus far too much of the interview on her hair. And that is when I tweeted her.

Dr. Goddess Responds to Oprah Winfrey I wanted the issue to be addressed, but if we are to unpack this narrative, let us go all the way and, as I indicated, give it the full time it deserves, not to make it a disproportionate focus in a 30-minute interview with the highest-decorated gymnast in United States history. Douglas beat out the competition to win the all-around individual gymnastics gold medal and team gold—a feat no other gymnast has accomplished—and a fact Winfrey failed to mention because she was too focused on the story of Douglas being the first African-American gymnast to ever do it and her hair. Douglas did not need those heavy politics unpacked onto her 16-year-old back. My heart sank because the former “Queen of Daytime TV” clearly fell into the same trap that other mainstream media outlets had perpetuated.

Dr. Goddess ResponseThere’s great potential in continuing these honest conversations. See, in my heart of hearts, I know that Black women can save OWN from all of its turmoil. But Winfrey, Sheri an’ ‘em have to listen to us even more than they have.

A large portion of Winfrey’s The Oprah Winfrey Show demographic were Midwestern white women, a factoid I learned from her interview with inestimable journalist Harry Allen. But a mainstream show and an entire network on cable television are entirely different entities. There are so many more slots to be filled, so many more audiences to engage—and Black women comprise a huge portion of that audience that’s been previously underserved.

Indeed, Winfrey’s interview with Rihanna was its second highest-rated show on the entire OWN network, and Douglas’ will probably follow suit. We also learned, via Black women’s requests and Winfrey’s responses on Twitter, that she reached out to both Beyonce and Lauryn Hill for interviews. Both artists declined. Either of those interviews would have brought epic viewership, so let us encourage Oprah to keep trying and incorporating content her most loyal viewers want to see.  In the meantime, a continued engagement with, and dipping into the talent pool of, Black Twitter will be a formula for success for the OWN/Harpo Productions CEO. The same goes for any brand that successfully engages the population that will give you the raw, honest and critical feedback needed and desired.

DrGoddessHeadshotKimberly C. Ellis, Ph.D.,  affectionately known as Dr. Goddess, is a scholar, artist, activist and entrepreneur who lives in Twitter, is writing a book and gives presentations and trainings on “The Bombastic Brilliance of Black Twitter.” Follow her @drgoddess .

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  • See the problem is this. Oprah is too worldly and she does not have a center. I could care less about Rhianna I’m a grown ass woman with grown people concerns and because Oprah has been out of the loop for a while, she is out of touch with what really concerns black people. Just like BET. bringing back tired ass Inyanla VanZant to holler at folks as part of her counseling just makes me sick. It’s tired and old. there is lot of young FRESH talent out here who can spin a life lesson out of a celebrity blunder if you’d give them the chance. When she stops thinking about what white folks want to watch which quiet as it’s kept, white people like watching black stuff cause we are very interesting people, and find her center, her real blackness, not whoring hollywood black, then her cable channel will improve and we won’t be so disappointed. her shows will be worth the wait and worthy of our watching them.

  • ayankha

    What I love about Twitter is also the very thing I hate about it: EVERYONE gets a say and often times the voices of the mean, nasty, and idiotic are magnified far beyond any cosmic good they can ever offer. It seemed like the conversation about her ground breaking achievement and the accomplishments of the other Black female athletes were diminished to sensationalized stories about Gabby’s hair. Twitter gave a megaphone to the ‘ig’nant, ish-talking, mofos’ aka trolls on Twitter, completely ignoring the simultaneous expressions of pride and joy by scores of Black women. And unfortunately, hair blogs, black blogs, fitness blogs, Facebook posts, and Twitter rants became more about discussing reactions to Gabby’s hair than it was about her accomplishments as well as the accomplishments of the other sistas that kicked some serious butt. This is not to say that there should be NO discussion about hair. I’m just saying that the conversation should be more balanced and should not ignore the awesomeness of Black women that extends far beyond our fly, sexy, dope hair.

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