Dear Oprah

When visiting your website I noticed the “What Do You Think?” Tab soliciting comments about OWN and after some thought I decided to construct this letter and give my opinion.

I have always appreciated your desire to help people live their best lives.  It is wonderful that you have taken this step to the next level with your Oprah Winfrey Network.

When you launched OWN earlier this year, I was among the many that flocked to the channel to search for quality and interesting programming.  I do not watch that much TV but like to see something worthwhile when tuning in.  The Master’s Class was an immediate draw because it intrigued my thirst for wisdom and my goal to do better each day.

Dr. Maya Angelou’s wise words were like bathing in the fountain of youth as she shares my love and reverence for words.  Dr. Rice reminded me to listen to my inner voice and work hard doing what I loved.  Diane Sawyer challenged me to spark curiosity in my children when she recounted a memorable interview with a Nobel Peace Prize Winner who instead of asking his son about what he learned each day in school, inquired if his son asked any good questions.

Your segment of the Master’s Class affected me the most because of my struggles then.  Nothing you said was new, but the timing of what you said was crucial.  Your lessons about purpose and preparation through lives experiences for what is to come, soothed my inpatient spirit for my current trials to end, and reassured me that my seeds of anguish would eventually bear good fruit.  The story about declaring you were not your hair, helped free me from negative strongholds that dominated my self-perception.

Again the timing of watching your segment was a gift that helped me decide my life’s direction.  Those seemingly insignificant small lessons were like gold to me.

My second favorite show is Sweetie Pie’s because it is entertaining and inspirational and unlike several other reality shows on today, no one is demoralizing or degrading themselves.  Miss Robbie is a wonderful example to all women, especially African-Americans, to see a successful woman running a thriving business, while spreading a little grandmotherly love.  Her son Tim is an inspiration to many young men who are or were incarcerated but want to become successful despite their past.

Our America with Lisa Ling is also informative and thought-provoking.  Aside from those three shows I have not found any other programs that interest me, the rest of the programs look like every other cable channel.

As a viewer who is an African-American female and mother I would like to challenge you and your network to provide more positive programming catered to African-Americans.  We need someone to champion this cause, who can help boost our image in the media, steering towards a fair and honest look at various aspects of black life and away from the over exploited lopsided comedic and the street-life components.  We also have our fill of reality based shows featuring African-American women who perpetuate the stereotypes that we need to shake.  Yes there are a few good reality and sitcom based programs, but we need more.

Seeing someone who looks like you that has overcome obstacles to live a better life is like a shot of adrenaline.  Redefining beauty standards through the media to show every type of woman can reinforce principles of self-worth and self-respect, helping to thwart unneeded years of pain for our young women because they feel as their looks do not measure up.

I have no doubt that African-Americans would flock and stay loyal to your network if you give us something worthwhile.  The Nielsen Report, State of the African-American Consumer, states that African-Americans watch more TV than any other group, averaging about 40% more viewing time than the rest of the population.

I believe that you can make a huge impact on a lot of people who feel as they do not have a chance and continue your mission of helping people live their best lives.

You have helped me significantly in just 3-4 hours of viewing one program with a few simple but powerful words.  My hope is that you will expand that help and pass out several more golden nuggets to millions of black men, women and children globally because we are beautiful and it is time for the world to know it.

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I am a writer - on Chapter 2.

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