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

I love Oprah and my Twitter timeline can cosign how much I cherish her work. But I am so disappointed with a large portion of Oprah’s Next Chapter interview with two-time Olympic gold medalist Gabrielle Douglas, which aired on Ms. Winfrey’s television network OWN on Sunday.

Thirty minutes prior to the interview, I was co-hosting my show, Ask a Sista: Black Women Muse on Politics, Policy, Pop Culture and Scholarship with Jenifer Daniels and Cheryl Contee, during which we discussed both the Next Chapter interview with Barbadian pop star Rihanna the previous week and her then-upcoming discussion with Douglas. I was sitting on the edge of my seat for this interview, as so many young, gifted members of “Black Twitter.” Many of us found ourselves disappointed and, in some cases, disgusted like we were with NBC’s coverage of the 2012 London Olympics.

I was live-tweeting the show (as I often do), so you may have seen my tweets detailing my displeasure with the interview. I took to the Twitterverse to share my thoughts on the episode, and a Twitter debate with the talk-show legend herself ensued. I was not alone in my criticism but Oprah tweeted me twice, to explain her position.

Mainstream media outlets like ESPN and USA Today outrageously amplified e-criticism about Douglas’ hair, propelling the discussion beyond our nation’s borders. Thousands of insightful discussions and cheerful commentary were overlooked and bumped by the more sinister, critical, mean-girl minority narrative of a virtual handful of folks, percentage-wise, on Twitter–all the while ignoring the fact that many Black women and girls do not like the “Flying Squirrel” nickname for “Gabby.”

It was inevitable that, for the media maven’s Next Chapter interview with Douglas, she would have to address the hair issue, but I was mostly looking forward to hearing from her mother, siblings, coach Liang Chow, and (white) host family. We all expected Winfrey would do it BIGGER and BETTER than every other media outlet. I was sharing my thoughts, minute-by-minute, as a viewer. When the 16-year-old Virginia Beach native told Winfrey that she preferred to be called “Gabrielle,” even after Winfrey prefaced her statement with, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” I was so proud of her, as it brought me back to Laurence Fishburne’s discussion on how his interactions with Roscoe Lee Browne and August Wilson led him to stop letting the entertainment industry call him “Larry.”

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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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