CNN’s Brooke Baldwin: My ‘Oprah’ experience
CNN's Brooke Baldwin (L) attends an 'Oprah' taping with producer Liz Hayden (center) and executive producer Angela Massie.
May 18th, 2011
04:19 PM ET

CNN’s Brooke Baldwin: My ‘Oprah’ experience

Only Oprah Winfrey could bring together the group of people assembled inside Chicago's United Center last night.

From actors and athletes to teachers and students. If Winfrey didn’t realize it before, surely she now recognizes the impact of her 25 years on television.

Tom Hanks opened the evening, calling it a “mission impossible” (and on cue, Tom Cruise appears) to surprise Ms. Winfrey on her own show.

What followed can only be described as the Super Bowl of TV talk, with the star power of the Grammys and Oscars combined: Beyonce; Stevie Wonder; Madonna; Queen Latifah; Patti LaBelle; Aretha Franklin; Michael Jordan; Jerry Seinfeld; Jamie Foxx; Josh Groban; Diane Sawyer; Maya Angelou; Halle Berry; Will Smith; Jada Pinkett Smith. It would be a shorter list to tell you which top celebs weren’t there (Winfrey pals Barbra Streisand, Julia Roberts and John Travolta were notable absences for this audience member).

But for all the fame and fortune represented in the room, the real reason Winfrey has attracted millions of people to her show is because her program has reflected their own tales through the years: homelessness, racism, obesity, illiteracy, bankruptcy, abuse, marriage, divorce, job success and struggles for a quality education.

Hundreds of Morehouse men brought Winfrey to tears when they surrounded her on stage, grateful for her scholarship endowment that helped them become doctors, lawyers, hedge fund managers and military officers. Each alum carried a single small light, but as they gathered on stage, their combined energy was awe-inspiring.

And that’s what Oprah Winfrey does. She inspires. She empowers. She moves you to action.

I for one felt a sense of wonderment as I joined this audience in saluting 25 years of "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Wonderment at how far she’s come, how far we’ve come, and how much is possible when one person decides to make it her “mission possible," to affect positive change in our world.

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Filed under: Oprah Winfrey • television

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Rob

    I will never understand how this overblown windbag got to be perceived as an expert on everything.
    If you need Oprah to feel good about yourself, you DEFINITELY need professional help!

    May 30, 2011 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  2. joseph chipungu

    O,You are great and always angel that touched us.i lov u i remember when u came to africa ,zambia my country&@ chelston clinic.i ddnt go4wk jst 2hv a grimpse u.Wish u Gods speed

    May 25, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. helen

    OWN...The Oprah Gay Network.

    May 19, 2011 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  4. LauraLee

    She made her mark, 25 years is a great career. She was blessed & has blessed others over the years. No one is perfect. She should be remembered & appreciated. OWN has some good shows too.

    May 19, 2011 at 6:16 am | Report abuse |
  5. The Mad R@p3r

    Good on oprah but what's up with the glowing demon eyes in the pic.

    May 18, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sara

    God bless you for everything you have done & i'm proud of you.

    May 18, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Gee

    One sure thing you can say about Oprah she puts her money where her mouth is.

    May 18, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mary

    Congratulations on a great 25 years. To those negative people writing – please get a life. You had the choice not to watch and she did a lot of good with her program! I am glad that I retired 10 years ago and got a chance to see her program. I hope her new venture is successful, she is taking quite a chance and I hope that it works.

    May 18, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bob

    I think Orpah is a very good person with a beautiful heart, but her show was crap most days that not,

    May 18, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Come on

    25 years you say.
    I can count on my hands how many of her eps. Ive watched.
    Errmmmm....I guess its more like If I had no hands I could count how many eps. ive watched
    I dont think i missed much tho.

    May 18, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jet

    Thanks. Gone at last......

    May 18, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. football fan

    Congrats on 25 years of touching lives

    May 18, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |

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