Black History Month Celebration: 1986

February is a month of celebration in the pop culture community — between the Grammy and the Academy Awards, the best in the music and cinema fields will be recognized in the next month. However, between the awards buzz for those two big nights, we want to make not to overshadow February’s significance: Black History Month. So to follow the month’s trend of celebration, we plan to spend all of February going through the most important African-American pop culture personalities of the last 29 years. We continue today with 1986.

Let’s face it.  The world we live in would be a much different place without Oprah.  She is one of the most influential people on the planet.  Her book club has become the most dominate force in today’s literary world; to gain her seal of approval is to know that you are going to be highly, highly successful as a writer.

Way back in September of 1986, The Oprah Winfrey Show first premiered.  Within weeks of it’s first airing, the show became the most watched daytime talk show in America.  Many have described the show as television therapy, arguing that Oprah does not merely entertain, but that she helps her viewers deal with the problems in their lives.

It is also important to note that in 1986 Oprah was nominated for an Oscar for her performance as a supporting actress in The Color Purple.  In the movie, Winfrey plays Sofia, a young woman who suffers abuse from her the men in her family but refuses to take it.  The Color Purple was nominated for 11 Oscars, including Best Picture.

Without doubt, Winfrey’s popularity has given rise to her fair share of critics.  Say what you want about Oprah, but it is impossible to deny this: Oprah has actively used her celebrity status to try to make the world a better place.  And that is something that is truly admirable.

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