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At a taping of her SuperSoul Conversations podcast special, Oprah at the Apollo, at Harlem’s Apollo Theatre in New York City on Wednesday, Oprah Winfrey confirmed, again, that she is not running for office.
In conversation with Hamilton‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda, during which time the pair discussed guilt over giving back to some causes or communities and not others, Miranda said, “The thing that I challenge myself to do is what I can focus on, because you can drown in how many people need help around the world and, I mean, I’m not running for public office.”
“I’m not either,” Winfrey responded, prompting the live audience to break out in an array of applause and boos.
Speculation about the media mogul running for president first began when she accepted the Cecil B. DeMille award at this year’s Golden Globes. But both Winfrey and her best friend and confidante, Gayle King, have slyly shut down any rumors.
The special, which spun out from the Oprah Winfrey Network daytime show SuperSoul Sunday and SuperSoul Conversations podcast, also featured one-on-one discussions with Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, Yara Shahidi, Jordan Peele and Salma Hayek.
The six-hour event set out to engage the live audience and those who will tune in at home in conversation about the value of character, purpose and meaning in 2018.
The guests brought unique backgrounds and life experiences to the fore. “I can’t believe everyone I asked said yes,” Winfrey said of her lineup when greeting the live studio audience.
The former talk-show host also took a minute to reassure the crowd, saying, “I know that so many people are feeling uneasy right now about the state of our world, but it’s going to be all right. We have been through tougher times than these. It’s going to be OK, especially if you don’t buy into the hysteria. Lean out of the hysteria.”
Despite her reassurances, her one-on-ones with each guest focused on the current climate.
When discussing the social message of Get Out, Peele said, “The climate that I wrote the movie in was the Obama era, and the movie was supposed to address this post-racial era. But by the time the movie was ready, there had been more conversation about race and Trump was starting to roll, and it really felt like people needed a hero.”
Peele then went on to ask Winfrey, “Man, I want to hear what Obama has to say about Get Out. Can you make that happen?”
“I will tell him to call you,” Winfrey said.
When speaking with Colbert, Winfrey asked the late-night host how he prepares for the constant news cycle that has come with the Trump administration and “what we do in a world without facts.”
“Your own research, because the facts will always matter. When we saw Donald Trump get elected, my writers were like, ‘Where would we stand?’ I said we would be here on this island called reality. We have to hold on to facts,” Colbert said. “Donald Trump and his cohorts are trying to constantly gaslight you. There was nothing in Michael Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury, that surprised us. The only thing that surprised us is, wow, we were right when we first saw this behavior.”
But President Trump wasn’t the only man who was the topic of conversation. When Salma Hayek Pinault sat down with Winfrey, the former talk-show host asked her about her now-infamous opinion piece in The New York Times about the abuse she faced from Harvey Weinstein.
“One of the most difficult things about writing that article was because I had a book,” Hayek said about her years working with the movie executive. “It wasn’t one or two instances. It was five years.”
Hayek has since gone on to push forward the #MeToo movement by helping catapult the #TimesUp initiative into the mainstream, alongside Reese Witherspoon, Shonda Rhimes and many other powerhouse females in Hollywood.
The special Oprah at the Apollo will air on the Oprah Winfrey Network Saturday, Feb. 27 at 10 p.m. and will be available on Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations podcast.
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