Oooooo y’all mad at Oprah and Gayle ain’t y’all.
A little perspective: Unhealed trauma infects everything that we do!
So here’s the thing… healing is a process. It has no beginning or end necessarily. Even after healing, most of us have to figure out how to process that healing. I’m not intending to minimize the importance of healing and the effects and experience of trauma in ANY way. I most certainly am not judging anyone’s healing process after suffering the horror of sexual abuse. I understand that after a series of recalling, avoiding, and reacting to the trauma one must make their way through:
1. Emotional Stabilization (finding safe spaces to express emotions to stabilize them to less reactionary behaviors);
2. Emotional Clarity (exploring the emotions attached to the trauma, full grieving any losses the trauma caused, and discovering and promoting how these emotions manifest positively) ; and
3. Self-Actualization (integrating the experiences and lessons learned from the trauma into ones life to create a new reality).
I also understand the value of healing. When we get stuck in the process of overcoming trauma, we tend to transfer our trauma response to some or all other area of our lives for protection. And for some of us… the transference of trauma will be televised.
Oprah is an icon. She has used her platform to teach us and guide us spiritually. Oprah confessed in 1986 that she was sexually abused as a child. She filmed 217 shows about sexual abuse. She once had 200 men on her show who had been sexually abused, after she spoke with Tyler Perry about his own abuse. She interviewed Michael Jackson in 1993 right before the first allegations against him we’re made against him, and in 2019, she hosted the talk after the Neverland documentary titled After Neverland. She recently backed out of a Russell Simmons sexual assault documentary citing creative differences. Sexual abuse has permeated her journalism and continues to over 30 years later.
Her commentary in Leaving Neverland was telling. Oprah states this documentary, which won an Emmy and is currently in court proceedings, is bigger than and “transcends Michael Jackson.” She also says it’s producer Dan Reed successfully highlighted that “sexual abuse was not just abuse, but it was also sexual seduction.” She spoke in second person during much of the interview, which symbolizes both distancing and moving closer to the storyline. But it was clear whose side she was on. Similarly when she spoke about backing out of the Russell Simmons documentary she stated it was “ridiculous to think that I could be intimidated by Russell Simmons.” It all sounds deeply personally, so personal that it’s wrapped in bias. For her it was about the patterns of abuse, particularly seduction, that she likely recalls from her own childhood. Sexual abuse may use seduction, but it is all about power and control.
Her unhealed trauma is so prevalent, I’d venture to say it lends itself to both the reality of and backlash over Gayle King’s questioning of Lisa Leslie about Kobe Bryant’s rape allegations. Regardless of her connections or proximity to sexual assault, her questions were inappropriate (regardless of CBS and it’s editing) and…well worthy of backlash. Perhaps because of her closeness to Oprah, her behavior seems like an extension of Oprah’s noble, but unsuccessful, attempt to educate on sexual abuse. However, attaching a label onto men, particularly deceased Black men, who have not been found guilty of any wrongdoing, is steeped in historical racism. We have seen this play out again and again (Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, etc.), where even Black male victims are demonized in the media. When we see this merit less attack done by other Black people… folks get real “cash me ousside”. This scenario is no different. Our reactions, however, should be to seek understanding and never to promote more abuse towards victims or their supporters.
Comparativly we can look at Tyler Perry, who outlined his horrific and sadly consistent physical and sexual abuse as a child to none other than Oprah. He also spoke on that show about his no nonsense aunt being his only real defense against the abuse, his mother too fragile emotionally to protect him. Abusive relationships are often a focal point of Perry’s movies and shows. Women who are portrayed as needing men to overcome are often the main characters in his films. His strongest female characters were him in disguise. His male characters are deeply flawed and often abusive. They both feed off of extremely negative stereotypes about Black people, but ones that speak directly to his experience as a child. Tyler wants and takes sole responsibility and autonomy to tell and visualize these stories in a way that resonates with him. But he needs a writing room, a casting director, and a good wig person… stat!
Lack of healing is characterized by a very nuanced and troubled view of one’s self and others, paired with this desire to control the narrative from frame to frame. Healing negates the need for control, because it replaces fear with an ability to internalize and actualize what we’ve learned about ourselves. Oprah picks the project, picks the subject, produces it, and takes sole creative control of the narrative. Tyler Perry writes the story, creates the characters, casts the actors, and produces the film. Only someone who hasn’t fully mourned the loss of control that came from the abuse needs to guard his/her ability to be in control so tightly.
Most Black men and many Black women feel personally attacked by Oprah’s focus on Black men’s alleged aggressions toward White victims, but nothing of the scours of White men brought down by #MeToo. Many cite Harvey Weinstein because of his very consistent and notorious harassment, but there are also Matt Lauer, Louis CK, Kevin Spacey, and hosts of others. Oprah’s interjection of herself in only Black male cases read like her own public confrontations or exposures of the people who violated her… but they are not. The repeated interviews and shows won’t hold her Black male abusers accountable or heal her. We need fair, responsible, and balanced views to count as real information and not sensationalism.
The stories and information producers and journalists tell should all be done with a level of responsibility and integrity that minimizes the possibility of being offensive or selfish . The truth can be taken in and presented to the world, by a healed and self-actualized person in a way other than just a simple presentation of the trauma over and over. The men Oprah has attached her journalism to have been found guilty of nothing; there is no solid proof of any wrongdoing. Believing victims does not absolve us of finding truth, instead of presenting allegations as facts. She isn’t being honest if she fails to see that these kinds of amateur fact finding attempts are televised stonings. Criminal trials have rules these exposès are not held to. We try these people in an unfair hearing.
Bottom line, her 30 years of sexual abuse related journalism hasn’t moved or morphed into empowerment yet. A self-actualized victim of domestic abuse, for example, doesn’t just tell her story, but creates safe spaces for other women and seeks experiences that empower her and others by ceasing to let the trauma do the controlling and instead promoting the positive outcomes of healing. No matter the medium, a television show or a simple conversation, your newfound understanding and wisdom will shine through with sincerity and purpose.
If you are an adult, healing is your responsibility! Period. Until then…
You will not be free.
You will not live your best life like Lil Duval.
You will not be happy like Pharrell.
The transference of trauma will be televised sistas and brothas.
And… the trauma will be live.
Original : Meanwhile, the rest of us will not go Snoop Dogg in our head wrap, calling people bitches, defending druggie rapists, and inviting folks to an ass beating we might be too lightweight to dish out. This fool had women on dog leashes and idolizes a broke down pimp. He’s not exactly a pillar of the community. Never go Snoop Dogg.
Update: Snoop manned up and apologized to Gayle King. I see your growth playa. I am big enough to acknowledge that we all deserve the opportunity to be better!