Oprah Winfrey Delivers Powerful Speech At Essence Fest Debut

Oprah Winfrey delivered a powerful speech at the Essence Fest on Saturday, bringing a strength intended for women of color and the pursuit of their aspirations.

In a report by People magazine, Oprah addressed the crowd of African-American women and spoke about their dreams. It was the first time that Winfrey spoke on such a platform, and she made it clear that there was no reasoning as to why it had taken her so long to do so.

“This is my first time here. What took me so long? What took me so long?” Oprah asked out loud. “All I got to say is it’s beyond happiness to be here.”

Oprah’s appearance at the New Orleans Essence Fest was one that sparked multiple notes, one of which being what she had gone through at a young age. Winfrey expressed that at a young age, she began to take mental note of what Caucasians had that made them successful. Much to her surprise, her curiosity yielded that it was trees that made them so.

“I used to dream the dream driving through the white peoples’ neighborhoods. You’d see their fancy houses. Sometimes they had gates, but all of them had trees. I thought, ‘Oh, rich people have trees. Some people want pocketbooks and cars, but I want me some trees,” Oprah began.

Winfrey went on to elaborate, going further into detail about the conclusion that trees were what made a rich individual successful.

“About three years ago, I was sitting in my kitchen window, making coffee in the morning and I saw the six trees,” Oprah started. “I was making the coffee. I saw the six trees. I went out on the porch to actually count the six trees, and this is what I noticed: that I could dream the six, but beyond the six trees in my kitchen window are 3,687 trees. How do I know? Because I had them counted. I dreamed the six. That was as much as my small mind and my imagination can see. I dreamed the six, but God can see beyond the six.”

The 62-year-old show host had a spiritual moment as she spoke to the crowd, giving what she felt was the key to moving forward with dreams.

“The key, the secret, the magic is to surrender to God’s dream for you,” Oprah stated.

Oprah had suffered poverty, the loss of a premature child, and sexual abuse at only the age of 14. Needless to say, the story that she tells is one of struggle and overcoming the face of adversity. She also sported a red dress that showed weight loss, a testament to the fact that Winfrey is a Weight Watchers spokesperson.

Some of those in attendance of the Essence Fest were Ava DuVernay (director of Selma) and Gayle King, Winfrey’s best friend. The festival was only days away when Oprah Winfrey’s speech was announced to be happening, and the reception of the crowd was a positive one. Many stood to their feet in the wake of her words, praising Winfrey with tears and a togetherness that could be felt.

Oprah’s words were quoted in a report by Essence, recounting the details of Oprah’s speech and describing the power that it carried. She opened with words from the late Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman,” capturing the crowd and giving confirmation to women that one will receive what they believe.

“This is what I know for sure. You don’t get what you wish for, you don’t even get what you hope for. You get what you believe.”

How do you feel about Oprah Winfrey’s speech at the Essence Fest? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

[Photo By Josh Brasted/Getty Images]