Oprah Winfrey still finds ways to honor her father, Vernon Winfrey.
In a new interview with People, Oprah opened up about her dad before her and Sterling K. Brown co-host a Tuesday OWN special titled Honoring Our Kings, Celebrating Black Fatherhood.
“I wanted to turn the table on that narrative of Black fathers not being present in their children’s lives,” Oprah explained. “I remember the very first time I was doing a show on parenting, on single parents. And my way of showing or widening the screen at the time was just to include a Black father in that group of parents, but not make a big deal about it. We got a Latina parent and we got a Black parent and we got a gay parent. And I remember a woman standing up and later saying she had never seen a Black father reading to his children. That was not an image anybody had seen on screen. And so a lot of the white people who were watching the show were like, ‘That’s a foreign concept to me.’”
“I saw that over and over again in my father’s barbershop. Men would come in, hardworking men, doing everything they could in their lives to support their families, working sometimes two and three jobs to do that,” she said. “So that’s the story I know of Black fathers – the ones I grew up with and the man I know. The narrative of the absentee father, it’s not accurate that that is the only picture. That’s what I want to say.”
Also featured in the special—which airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET—will be important stories from various fathers, including a military dad who Oprah says “lost his son in Afghanistan and was going to jump off a bridge and decided not to jump when he heard his son’s voice saying ‘Dad, don’t do it. This isn’t the way.’”