UNCG Campus Weekly

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Tara Green shines light on Oprah Winfrey’s far-reaching cultural influence

013013Spotlight_GreenDr. Tara T. Green remembers what a big deal it was to watch Oprah Winfrey on TV as a young black girl.

“I’m an Oprah child,” says Green, associate professor of African American literature and gender studies at UNCG. She is director of the university’s African American Studies program, recently rated as one of the top 10 nationally based on productive rankings. “I can remember coming home from school in my Catholic school uniform and watching Oprah because there was a black woman on TV in the afternoon. I would see her before I saw my mother, because she was still at work.”

Little did Green know then that she would grow up to study the pop culture icon and media mogul’s influence on shaping racial and cultural literacy the world over.

“The first time I read ‘Native Son’ was because I saw Oprah Winfrey in the telefilm. And here I am with a PhD in English and I wrote my thesis and dissertation on Richard Wright. So I know personally the impact,” Green says.

Green’s recently released book, “Presenting Oprah Winfrey, Her Films, and African American Literature,” is a collection of essays that examine the role the media mogul has played as an actress and producer of films based on African American novels. The first essay in the book is written by Green. The essay is on Sofia, played by Oprah Winfrey, in Spielberg’s “The Color Purple.”

Robert Randolph, AFS alumnus and adjunct lecturer, also contributed an essay on the film adaptation of Toni Morrison’s “Beloved.”

Full story at UNCG News.

By Betsi Robinson