*”I am, who I am, sitting here today, because of the Black church.”
Tycoon, Oprah Winfrey, participated in a Q&A session for OWNs newest TV series “Greenleaf,” along side show stars Lynn Whitfield, Keith David, and Merle Dandridge, at Soho House Hollywood.
The mega star shares her conversation with Bishop T.D. Jakes, addresses questions about Black mega churches, her character and the difference between acting and hosting.
On comparing T. D. Jakes and Joel Osteen to the character Bishop James Greenleaf…
Oprah: I spoke to T.D. Jakes and said, ‘I just want you to know I’m doing a show about a mega church and the only resemblance to you, is that our main character is called Bishop and you’re a bishop.’ And he says, ‘I’m happy to hear that because I’ve heard something’s about it…’ I said, ‘I just want you to know, from my lips to your ears, I have nothing but deep respect and regard for the church. I, Oprah Winfrey, am going to do nothing, ever, that disrespects the church. I am, who I am, sitting here today, because of the Black church, but there are some people in the church with some flaws…we might be talking about that. It has nothing to do with you.’ And he said, ‘alright, can you send me a ticket?’
On her character Mavis McCready the sister of Lady Mae Greenleaf (Lynne Whitfield)…
Oprah: I modeled her after my beloved friend and mentor, Maya Angelo. If Maya had a bar, it would be Mavis’ bar. And in preparation, I listened to jazz. I’m not a jazz person, I’ve never listened to a jazz anything, but I turned all the stations in my house to Sirius jazz. I’ve been listening to Cold Train and Miles Davis to be in the zone and it was fun.
On what acting fulfills in her that being a talk show host did not…
Oprah: Years ago, I was interviewed by Gene Siskel and at the end of the interview, he asked me, ‘what do you know for sure?’ I couldn’t think of one thing. So I said, ‘Gene, I’m going to think about that.’ I called him a few days later and said, ‘this is what I figured out…’ And he says, ‘the show is over. I don’t really need the answer.’ But that is a question, that will live with me. Being able to act is a way to lose myself and really be submerged into the ideas and consciousness of someone else. Sometimes it’s a relief and sometimes it’s exhausting.
“Greenleaf” launches with a two-night premiere on June 21 at 10 p.m. ET/PT and June 22 at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET/PT.