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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Oprah's Surprise Extravaganza!

I woke up this morning still rubbing the stardust out of my eyes.  Tuesday was the filming of Oprah’s Surprise Extravaganza where a celebrity line-up representing the Oscars and the Grammys did not disappoint. 

Filmed at the United Center in Chicago, they had to reschedule a Bulls play-off game for the show.  Chicago locals will tell you that no one but Oprah could ever dream of making that ask.  Yes, Oprah knew about the show, but the celebs and their farewell messages were a surprise.  Check out a sample of the line-up. 

Beyonce, Usher, Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Maya Angelou, Madonna, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, Patty LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, Rascal Flatts, Michael Jordan, Jerry Seinfeld, Queen Latifah, Kristen Chenoweth, Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder, Jamie Fox and countless others.

Although celebs were the main draw, one of the most powerful moments of the evening was a presentation by hundreds of Morehouse State graduates.  Oprah funded a college scholarship program for young men who wouldn’t have the means to fund a higher education on their own.  Many of these men were in the foster system, homeless or gang members and thought they had no hope of ever earning a college education.

Because of Oprah, these men are now executives, doctors, lawyers, hedge fund managers, fathers and role models.  They filled the stage and brought Oprah (and the audience) to tears with their stories.  Education is the key and knowing that someone believes in you is what can push you to overcome barriers and succeed.  

In the words of Glinda from the Wizard of Oz (and Oprah’s favorite quote) - “You always had the power.” 

Two shows were shot over a five-hour period and will air on Monday, May 23 and Tuesday, May 24.  Oprah’s final final show is top secret and will air on Wednesday, May 25.  Set your Tivo and DVRs!

BTW - in case you were wondering, there were no big giveaways.  Boo.  

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