Over the years unhappy former employees have revealed tidbits about Harpo as a less-than-loving workplace. "An environment of dishonesty and chaos" is how one former publicist described Harpo in a 1994 statement accompanying a suit seeking severance and back salary. (That suit was settled quietly 2 years later.) Oprah has successfully intercepted revelations by insisting that everyone who works at Harpo sign an unusual lifelong confidentiality agreement. "You wouldn't say it's harsh if you were in the tabloids all the time," Oprah says in her defense. The confidentiality agreement underscores what is both her business' greatest strength and its potential downfall: Oprah's business is Oprah. If she does something as Oprah the person that undermines the trust her customers have in Oprah the persona, her brand could quickly fizzle. It's a threat that Oprah has under tight control. Elizabeth Coady, a former senior associate producer, quit in 1998 and intended to write a book about her experiences at Harpo. Coady calls Harpo, where she worked for more than 4 years, a "narcissistic workplace." Of Oprah, Coady says, "Everyone undermines everybody else to get more access to Oprah, and I think she encourages it." But it's unlikely we'll hear more details in a book; an Illinois appeals court upheld the confidentiality agreement Coady had signed. Today Harpo has 221 employees (68% are women), modest turnover (10% to 15% a year), and stability at the top. The average tenure of 16-year-old Harpo's ten most senior execs is ten years. The cavernous Harpo headquarters, housed in a onetime hockey rink reconfigured into a maze of offices and production facilities, has an in-house spa and a gym--where most mornings Oprah can be spotted sweating on the treadmill. Pay and benefits are "exceptional," says Debbie McElroy, a headhunter with the Lucas Group who recently tried to recruit a $100,000-a-year personal accountant for Oprah. "Employees get an average 6 weeks' vacation their first year at Harpo," McElroy says. Two of her candidates met with Oprah, but the boss wound up hiring a friend of a friend. That's typical. Everything is personal at Harpo. While Oprah does delegate operational decisions, she is all over her content. Before O gets shipped to the printer, she reads every word and scrutinizes every picture--typically working on the magazine, via her office PC, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and all day Friday, when she doesn't shoot her show. "She's into every little niggly thing -- the commas, the exclamation points," says Gayle King, who, as editor-at-large, is Oprah's eyes and ears at the Manhattan-based magazine.
In Oprah's world, it's all about to 'change your life,' a slogan that does not mean engaging in the difficult and often dirty struggle to challenge hierarchy and democratize society. The broad has a fortune estimated at a net-worth of $800 million in 2000 and Forbes most recent estimate for Winfrey's wealth is at least $1.5 billion otherwise I would not have bothered to write on this bc. I recently caught a snippet of television that was relevant for understanding the savage persistence of stark racial inequality in the United States. I was flipping the dial late at night and caught part of Oprah. She was speaking to Oscar favorite Jamie Fox, who appeared on a giant screen, sitting in front of a piano. They were talking about his experience playing Ray Charles in the movie "Ray." The multi-billionaire Oprah mentioned that she realized she could "be anything I wanted to be" when Sidney Poitier won the first Academy award ever given to an African American. She told Jamie that she loved him. The multi-millionaire Jamie informed Oprah that he loved her back. They spoke cheerfully about the significant black presence that will be displayed at this year's Academy Awards ceremony, which is being hosted by the black comedian Chris Rock. "It's really going to be a black-tie event this year," Jamie said. Everybody laughed. Jamie played a song on the piano. Oprah and Jamie exchanged some more "I love yous." It looked like Oprah was tearing up. Many of her predominantly white female audience members seemed equally moved. They were happy for Jamie and Oprah and Chris Rock and all the other African-Americans who have "made it" in the United States. And they were happy for America's benevolent decision to slay the beast of racism and open the doors of equal opportunity to all. It was another chance for white self-congratulation and for whites to forget about -- and lose more sympathy for -- the large number of black Americans who are nowhere close to making it in post-Civil Rights America. "They've Got the NBA -- What More Do They Want?"Ask white Americans who think that blacks are equal to (or even ahead of) whites what exactly they are talking about and you won’t get census data. You'll hear about Oprah, Michael Jordan, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Barack Obama, the guy who leads Jay Leno's band, or the black lawyer or doctor who recently moved into their neighborhood. The white father of a white friend of mine contributes the following pearl of wisdom regarding what he sees as black Americans' exaggerated sense of grievance and entitlement: "they've got the NBA -- what more do they want?" Wildly popular among white viewers, "The Cosby Show" helped fuel some of this sort of thinking during the Reagan era. As left culture critic Mark Crispin Miller noted in a 1986 essay titled "Cosby Knows Best," the affluent, hyper-consumerist, apolitical African-American Huxtable family -- headed by the affable, impish obstetrician Cliff (played by Dr. Cosby himself) -- functioned as "an ad, implicitly proclaiming the fairness of the American System: 'Look! [Cosby shows us] Even I can have all this!'" "On 'The Cosby show,'" Miller noted, "it appears as if blacks in general can have, and do have, what many whites enjoy and that such material equality need not entail a single break-in. And there are no hard feelings, none at all, now that the old injustices have been so easily rectified." Consistent with its mission of selling the American System and the related idea that America's racial divisions had been overcome, "The Cosby Show" refused to permit any "negativity" on the screen. "This is a conscious policy," Miller noted, observing that "Dr. Alvin Poussaint, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard, reads through each script as a 'consultant,' censoring any line or bit that might somehow tarnish the show's 'positive image.' And the show's upscale mise-en scene has also been deliberately contrived to glow, like a fixed smile. 'When you look at the artwork [on the show's walls], there is a positive feeling, an up-feeling,' Cosby says. 'You don't see downtrodden, negative I Can't Do, I won't do.'"Separatism and Its ConsequencesPart of the problem behind many whites' racial equality understanding gap is segregation, which continues at high levels. White women might flock en masse to their black princess Oprah's Chicago television studio to receive inspiration, wisdom, and (on lucky days) surplus commodities, but Oprah's home city is harshly segregated by race. The Chicago metropolitan area has a black-white dissimilarity measure of 80.8, meaning that more than 4 out of every 5 area blacks would have to move for African-Americans to be distributed evenly with whites throughout the metropolitan area. Within Chicago, 74% of black residents live in neighborhoods that are 90% or more African-American. The average Chicago black lives in a census tract where 4 of every 5 residents (81.1%) are African-American, while the average white lives in a census tract where less than 1 in 10 people (8.9%) is African-American. 50 years after the Brown v. Board of Education decision ruled that "separate is unequal," the average black K-12 public student in Chicago attends a school that is 86% black. 247 schools, (or 47%) of the city's 579 public elementary and high schools are 90% or more African American and 173 of these schools -- or 30% of all public schools in the city -- are 100% black. Of the 0.5 million blacks living outside Chicago in the 6 county Chicago metropolitan area in 1999, 70% lived in Chicago's Cook County, the great majority residing south of the central city. More than half (52%) of all suburban blacks reside in just 13 south suburban Cook County towns -- this in a broader metropolitan area that is home to 265 local municipalities. Under such separatist -- dare we say apartheid? -- conditions (and Chicago is no longer the most segregated city in the nation), large numbers of whites have only the slightest sense of the reality of black experience. The corporate-electronic visual mass culture is their main source on that experience and that medium presents a dangerously schizophrenic image of black America split between super-successful and largely admirable (not-all-that) black superstars (Oprah being the best of all) and dangerous (all-too) black perpetrators (though many successful black athletes and artists inhabit what seems to be in an intermediary category of their own: successful perpetrators). The majority of ordinary, hard-working black Americans who happen to be neither rich nor criminal are amazingly invisible on television and in the broader white-owned corporate communications empire.
[...][...] Everything is personal at Harpo. While Oprah does delegate operational decisions, she is all over her content. Before O gets shipped to the printer, she reads every word and scrutinizes every picture--typically working on the magazine, via her office PC, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and all day Friday, when she doesn't shoot her show. "She's into every little niggly thing -- the commas, the exclamation points," says Gayle King, who, as editor-at-large, is Oprah's eyes and ears at the Manhattan-based magazine.
Quote from: rodtopinka on October 17, 2006, 06:29:28 AM[...] She was raped by her cousin, uncle, and a family friend and had to live in the inner city ghettos -- yet she was able to become who she is today.Exactly, gejco, I mean, unless they gangbanged her, I just can not see how she would get raped repeatedly (in three separate occasions) by family members -- I mean, c'mon, did she not tell anybody, didn't they take any measures to protect her from such rapists? Where are these three individuals today?
[...] She was raped by her cousin, uncle, and a family friend and had to live in the inner city ghettos -- yet she was able to become who she is today.
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