OWN Announces a Month-Long Celebration Honoring Civil Rights Legends
December 10, 2014
Los Angeles—OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network announced today a month-long celebration in January honoring civil rights legends who paved the way as we approach the 50th anniversary of the historic Selma to Montgomery marches led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that changed the trajectory of America forever.
The network will air the star-studded television event Oprah Winfrey Presents: Legends Who Paved The Way (Sunday, January 18 at 9 p.m. ET/PT) where Oprah Winfrey hosts a gala of events honoring some of the legendary men and extraordinary women of the civil rights movement, the arts and entertainment who made history and redefined what was possible for us all. Honorees include Ambassador Andrew Young, Berry Gordy, Rev. C.T. Vivian, Diane Nash, Dick Gregory, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., Congressman John Lewis, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Juanita Jones Abernathy, Julian Bond, Marian Wright Edelman, Myrlie Evers-Williams, Quincy Jones, Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte.
On January 4 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, Oprah sits down for a special episode of her popular series Oprah Prime celebrating the life of Dr. King and the Selma marches 50 years later. The episode features an in-depth conversation with the star of the upcoming film Selma, acclaimed actor David Oyelowo who portrays Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., along with the film's award-winning director Ava DuVernay. The episode will also feature stories of those who were impacted by the march and their reflections today on that time in American history.
The month of special programming begins on New Year's Day as NBC News correspondent Tamron Hall hosts Race on The Oprah Winfrey Show with Tamron Hall (Thursday, January 1 at 10 p.m. ET/PT) which highlights those trailblazing Oprah show episodes that elicited shocking audience responses and sparked opportunities for growth towards greater connection, empathy and healing.
Other special programming airing throughout the month include special episodes of Oprah: Where Are They Now? (Thursday, January 1 at 9 p.m. ET/PT) which spotlights memorable civil rights newsmakers and Oprah’s Master Class (Sunday, January 4 at 10 p.m. ET/PT) featuring powerful firsthand accounts from iconic "masters" such as Berry Gordy, Cicely Tyson, Dr. Maya Angelou, Diahann Carroll and many more.
In addition, the world television premiere of the OWN original documentary Light Girls will air on Monday, January 19 at 9 p.m. ET/PT featuring an in-depth look into colorism and the untold stories of lighter-skinned women around the globe. The documentary features interviews with notable celebrities including Russell Simmons, Soledad O'Brien, Diahann Carroll, India Arie, Iyanla Vanzant, Michaela Angela Davis, Kym Whitley, Salli Richardson-Whitfield and more.
Download a printable programming schedule Schedule:
*all times Eastern
THURSDAY, JANUARY 1
9 p.m. Oprah: Where Are They Now? Civil Rights Special
10 p.m. Race On The Oprah Winfrey Show with Tamron Hall
SUNDAY, JANUARY 4
9 p.m. Oprah Prime: Celebrating Dr. King and The Selma Marches 50 Years Later
10 p.m. Oprah’s Master Class: Civil Rights Special
SUNDAY, JANUARY 18
9 p.m. Oprah Winfrey Presents: Legends Who Paved The Way
MONDAY, JANUARY 19
9 p.m. Light Girls
To participate in the discussion on social media, use #Selma50
Detailed show descriptions below:
Oprah: Where Are They Now? Civil Rights Special
(Thursday, January 1 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT)
Oprah Winfrey interviews Ruby Bridges who, at six years old, became a hero and civil rights pioneer as one of the first black children to integrate into an all-white New Orleans elementary school in 1960. From Harpo Studios in Chicago, Oprah takes a look back at the most historic moments on The Oprah Winfrey Show covering civil rights and race relations. These iconic episodes include memorable cultural lessons, eliciting opportunities for growth towards greater connection, empathy and healing. Moments include an update with diversity expert Jane Elliott who conducted a secret discrimination exercise, treating blue-eyed and brown-eyed Oprah audience members differently, which resulted in shocking reactions. Then, in the summer of 1992, long-simmering racial tensions came to a head when white police officers were acquitted of the brutal beating of Rodney King. While the riots continued, the Oprah show went to Los Angeles for a town hall discussion that got heated. Today, a follow up with an audience member who was in support of the looting at that time. Also, O.J. Simpson's former Prosecuting Attorney, Christopher Darden on race relations and his life after the "trial of the century."
Race On The Oprah Winfrey Show with Tamron Hall
(Thursday, January 1 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT)
From Harpo Studios in Chicago, NBC News national correspondent Tamron Hall takes a look back at the most historic moments on The Oprah Winfrey Show that covered civil rights and race relations. These iconic episodes include memorable cultural lessons, eliciting opportunities for growth towards greater connection, empathy and healing. First up, in 1987, Oprah featured a Georgia county where no black person had lived in 72 years, which triggered a strong audience response. Then, a year later, in 1988, this hour changed the course of the show forever when Oprah interviewed self-proclaimed white supremacists. Up next, in 1996, for the first time in nearly 40 years, seven of the "Little Rock Nine" heroes graced Oprah's stage in a truly full circle moment when some of the students who harassed them came forward. And in 1998, an extraordinary moment unfolded when the descendant of a slave owner came face-to-face with the relatives of the slaves his family owned. Then, the O.J. Simpson trial verdict was broadcast live in studio, capturing audience members' very different reactions in real time. Plus, Oprah's interview with the first black South African President, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Nelson Mandela. Finally, in 2011, a visibly moved Oprah welcomed 178 survivors, activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated southern United States, participating in the Freedom Rides of 1961.
Oprah Prime: Celebrating Dr. King and The Selma Marches 50 Years Later
(Sunday, January 4 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT)
Oprah sits down with acclaimed actor David Oyelowo, star of the upcoming feature film Selma, along with the film's award-winning director Ava DuVernay, for a conversation about the Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic and that important time in the history of the civil rights movement. In the episode, David shares with Oprah his seven-year-journey to portraying Martin Luther King, Jr., and how he never lost sight of his vision that he would someday play the role of the civil rights leader. Oprah also discusses with Ava her own path to the film and what it means to be a female, African-American director in Hollywood whose film is garnering award season buzz and critical acclaim. The episode will also feature stories of those who were impacted by the march and their reflections today on that time in American history. Selma, which opens nationwide January 9, chronicles the 1965 Selma to Montgomery protest marches in Alabama led by a group of brave men and women in the fight for equal voting rights. These marches ultimately led to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a landmark achievement of the Civil Rights Movement that prohibits racial discrimination in voting.
Oprah's Master Class: Civil Rights Special
(Sunday, January 4 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT)
Oprah hosts this special edition of Master Class, as iconic masters tell their firsthand accounts about what life was like during the civil rights era. Cicely Tyson, Dr. Maya Angelou, Lionel Richie, Diahann Carroll, and Berry Gordy, Jr. share their insights from deeply personal experiences with segregation, race, and racism. Each master opens up about their struggle to elevate humanity, and how it significantly shaped their careers and lives. Plus, more compelling stories about equality and how they strive to be the best they can be from: Dr. Maya Angelou, Condoleezza Rice, Morgan Freeman, Alicia Keys, Lenny Kravitz and Jay Z.
Oprah Winfrey Presents: Legends Who Paved The Way
(Sunday, January 18 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT)
Oprah Winfrey hosts a gala of events celebrating the upcoming film Selma and honoring some of the legendary men and extraordinary women of civil rights, the arts and entertainment who made history and redefined what was possible for us all. The legends that were honored include Ambassador Andrew Young, Berry Gordy, Rev. C.T. Vivian, Diane Nash, Dick Gregory, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., Congressman John Lewis, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Juanita Jones Abernathy, Julian Bond, Marian Wright Edelman, Myrlie Evers-Williams, Quincy Jones, Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte. The weekend celebration began in Santa Barbara, California with an exclusive screening of Selma at the historic Arlington Theatre followed by an elegant evening gala saluting the legends at the Bacara Resort & Spa. A special message from President Barack Obama began the evening, with a poem reading by the cast of Selma, written by Pearl Cleage, punctuating the expression of gratitude for the legends before the R&B group The O'Jays took the stage. The event continued the following day as Oprah hosted a private gospel brunch at her home in Santa Barbara, California, filled with a special performance by gospel/R&B singer Bebe Winans, readings and songs performed by guests of the event, and brunch prepared by Chef Art Smith. Selma, produced by Paramount Pictures, Pathé and Harpo Films, opens nationwide January 9, 2015 and chronicles the 1965 Selma to Montgomery protest marches in Alabama led by a group of brave men and women in the fight for equal voting rights. Oprah Winfrey is a producer of the film and portrays civil rights activist Annie Lee Cooper. Honoring the 50th anniversary in 2015, these marches ultimately led to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a landmark achievement of the Civil Rights Movement that prohibits racial discrimination in voting. Attendees of the event honoring the legends included Selma director Ava DuVernay, actor David Oyelowo who portrays Martin Luther King, Jr. in the film along with many Selma cast members including Common, Lorraine Toussaint, Carmen Ejogo, Niecy Nash and Tessa Thompson. Additional guests of the event included Al Roker & Deborah Roberts, Alfre Woodard, Angela Bassett, Ben Vereen, Rev. Bernice King, Bill Withers, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, David Foster, Deion Sanders & Tracey Edmonds, Ellen DeGeneres & Portia de Rossi, Gayle King, George Lucas & Mellody Hobson, Iyanla Vanzant, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, Kevin & Erika Liles, Magic & Cookie Johnson, Maria Shriver, Martin Luther King, III, Phylicia Rashād, Rashida Jones, Robin Roberts, Roland Martin, Samuel L. Jackson, Shonda Rhimes, Smokey Robinson, Tyler Perry, Tamron Hall and Tasha Smith, among others.
(Monday, January 19 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT)
From the creator and director of the critically acclaimed documentary Dark Girls, award-winning filmmaker Bill Duke continues the conversation on colorism with Light Girls. Sharing the untold stories and experiences of lighter-skinned women, Light Girls dives deep into the discussion of skin color, preference, privilege, pain and prejudice. The documentary unravels the lost pages of history to find the origins of colorism, racial self-hatred and the ideal standards of beauty, and takes viewers on a journey through time and story, seeking to both heal and unite light and dark women from all walks of life throughout the world. The documentary features interviews with Russell Simmons, Soledad O'Brien, Diahann Carroll, India Arie, Iyanla Vanzant, Michaela Angela Davis, Kym Whitley, Salli Richardson-Whitfield and more. Light Girls is a Duke Media production, executive produced by Bill Duke.
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OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is the first and only network named for, and inspired by, a single iconic leader. Oprah Winfrey's heart and creative instincts inform the brand—and the magnetism of the channel. Winfrey provides leadership in programming and attracts superstar talent to join her in primetime, building a global community of like-minded viewers and leading that community to connect on social media and beyond. OWN is a singular destination on cable. Depth with edge. Heart. Star power. Connection. And endless possibilities. OWN is a joint venture between Harpo, Inc. and Discovery Communications. The network debuted on January 1, 2011 and is available in 85 million homes. The venture also includes the award-winning digital platform Oprah.com. For more information, please visit https://www.oprah.com/own and https://press.discovery.com/us/own/.