Oprah Winfrey Talks Reducing Media Intake, Focusing on "Acts of Courage" During Live-Stream Relief Event

Oprah Winfrey attends the Stella McCartney show as part of the Paris Fashion Week - getty-h 2019
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

The media mogul said Friday evening that she wants people to digest daily information wisely during the Call to Unite 24-hour live-stream global relief event.

Oprah Winfrey says she keeps updated with the coronavirus news, but has often focused her attention more on the positive "acts of valor" while being on lockdown during the pandemic.

The media mogul said Friday evening during the Call to Unite live-stream global relief event that she wants people to digest daily information wisely. She was among 200 star-studded participants, including former President Bill Clinton and Julia Roberts, to take part. On Saturday, the event extended its originally planned 24-hour global live stream to include two additional hours of exclusive content.

The event was initiated to help inspire people to endure and overcome the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I have a small diet and managed how I took in the news,” said Winfrey from her home, where she has been self-quarantining with three others for nearly 50 days. She said she hopes the event can help the world become better.

“If you leave it [the news] on all the time — as I know some people do — you will be consumed by the agitation, the hysteria, the confusion and constant angst that has been put into your phone, home and into your spirit,” Winfrey continued. “I have chosen to focus on so many acts of courage and valor, determination and people not giving up.”

Each participant was set to answer calls in their own way, whether through performing a song, sharing a story or offering a prayer.

Winfrey spoke with event organizer Tim Shriver and then Bishop T.D. Jakes, who prayed with her.

Jakes showed remorse for those who had family members and friends die from the virus. But the bishop, who is a talk-show host, entrepreneur and best-selling author, said he believes the world can pull through.

“We have seen this before and survived,” Jakes said. “Just a 100 years ago, we went through something like this. And before that, the bubonic plague. We are resilient. We will work our way out as we hold each other and love each other.”

Former President George W. Bush said he believes solidarity is also a solution.

“Even at an appropriate social distance, we can find ways to be present in the lives of others to ease their anxiety and share their burdens,” he said in a message.

Clinton delivered an encouraging message that “we can get through this together.”

Roberts read a Rescue the Princess children's book in one video, and Josh Groban sang a song while playing a keyboard in another. Charlamagne Tha God gave inspiring words for people dealing with mental illness while hunkered inside their homes.

Hawaii Five-O actor Daniel Dae Kim said he has donated his plasma after recovering from the virus. “I hope I can be a source for hope,” he said.

The event kicked off with a performance by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Instead of performing collectively, each member clapped and danced individually in various places from inside their apartment, rooftop or park to the tune of Ailey’s “Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham.”

Quincy Jones, Jennifer Garner, Common, Maria Shriver, Questlove, Yo-Yo Ma, Eva Longoria, Naomi Campbell and Alanis Morissette are also expected to participate in the event. It’s being live-streamed at unite.us and on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, LinkedIn and SiriusXM Stars.

On Saturday, 98 Degrees, Mandy Moore, Leanne Rimes, Hunter Hayes, Ally Brooke, Rodney Atkins and more entertained viewers with musical performances. NBA and WNBA athletes including Jaren Jackson Jr., Devonte Graham, Renee Montgomery, Myles Turner, Danilo Gallinari and more shared their favorite basketball drills and exercises that could be enjoyed while following stay-at-home orders. Additionally, Astronauts George M. Whitesides, Peggy Whitson, Rusty Schweickart and Anousheh Ansari offered tips on spending time in isolation from their experience in space.

May 2, 11:27 a.m. Updated to note the event's two additional hours of live-stream content.