Beyonce Covers Vogue + Agrees to Oprah Interview

Beyonce is covering Vogue Magazine’s March 2013 ‘Power Issue.’ The pop diva touches on a bit of everything… her career, her marriage, and of course, Baby Blue.

The interview is really long. Click here to read it.

In other Bey news, the singer has finally decided to sit down for a one on one with talk show queen Oprah Winfrey. The chat fest takes place next Saturday at 8pm on OWN.

Toni Braxton Still Upset Over Oprah Treatment

With Toni Braxton’s episode of ‘Behind the Music’ set to air this coming Monday, October 29th, VH1 has decided to released several previews of the show, including the one below where Toni speaks of being belittled by Oprah Winfrey when she went on her show back in 1998.

Toni had just declared personal bankruptcy and with rumors of her out of control spending swirling left and right, Toni thought she would be going on the show to set record the straight.

She was wrong.

According to Toni, she felt ambushed and belittled by Oprah and says the interview portrayed her in a negative light and did even more damage to her name and career.

Oprah Gets Frisky with ‘The Butler’

Oprah Winfrey recently wrapped up shooting on her latest movie “The Butler,” and tweeted an image from her final scene with actor Terrence Howard.

Terrence and Oprah are part of a stellar cast that includes Robin Williams as Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan and John Cusack as Richard Nixon.

Other cast members also include Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz, Forest Whittaker, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Vanessa Redgrave.

The film revolves around a butler who serves over three generations and under eight presidents in The White House.

The Lee Daniels (Monster’s Ball) directed film is expected to wrap up shooting this month and will be released sometime next year.

Oprah, OWN & Opportunism

Is it just me or is there something totally “off” OWN’s journalistic decisions as of late? As a brief disclaimer: This piece is not an attempt at lambasting the big O; rather, it is an attempt at uncovering what is really going on beneath the surface at OWN. I would be remiss if I didn’t first laud lady O for her numerous humanitarian contributions, poised demeanor, along with the immense career she has solidified for herself. I mean from building a school in South Africa, while embracing the true meaning of the adage “charity begins at home” after having sent a plethora of young men and women off to college in America – “O” is one of the few people who – when faced with the lurking reality of their demise will be able to utter the words: “I made a difference in my lifetime.” We can all learn a lot from the O – hands down that’s a feat that deserves a standing O [pun intended].

Contributions and all that good stuff aside, it has been [for lack of a better term] perplexing the opportunistic journey upon which the producers of OWN have been since its inception back on January 1st, 2011. From the lackluster shows and ratings, to the network only being available on premium cable, to the saturation of self-help topics, which were dare I say it “stuffy” and veered off the beaten path of what we had become accustomed to seeing from the often boisterous, never really subdued O.

What irks me most about OWN’s descent into a place of near extinction are the mechanisms that are being used to salvage it, which by the way they’ve achieved this year by witnessing its viewership increase by 25% in recent months. But should African-American popular culture be attributed for the network’s steady ascent back into the limelight?

Let us just have a quick flashback, shall we? When Whitney Houston passed on back in February, the O landed herself in the coveted position of being the first journalist to interview Whitney’s family to unveil just how they had been coping with the untimely passing of a beloved sister, mother, friend, mentor and legend to many. Subsequent to the Houston interview that attracted the network’s highest ratings to date – an impressive 3.5 million, the O has ventured out some more to interview the likes of Rapper Fifty Cent, Singer Rihanna, and more recently Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas, with Rihanna raking in the network’s second highest ratings to date with 2.5 million viewers. It’s all fine and dandy that the OWN network has added all of these interviews their roster. However, the question to ask is: Are these interviews being conducted solely for the purpose of gaining viewers for her network or is OWN genuinely interested in so doing?

Many may recall a time back in the days of the Oprah Winfrey Show when the media mogul came under fire for refusing to allow rappers onto her show – claiming that she was against all of the misogyny and harsh lyrics that rappers often espouse in their songs. Fair enough. The O was entitled to her opinion. Though rappers, namely Ice Cube came out against the O by hinting at the irrationality behind allowing murderers and rapists onto her show, while refusing to entertain rappers in her studio. The O’s decision to ban rappers appeared to have been set in stone. Who would have thought that the O would later revoke her own decision by inviting rapper Fifty Cent onto her new network for an interview? If that ain’t opportunism at its finest then I don’t know what to call it.

While I have never considered the O to be a spokesperson for Black America, nor do I believe that she should be, my greatest concern is that she and her predominantly White, middle class production team have – by all accounts – begun to tap into a market that was previously deemed unpalatable to them. Be things as they may, it just does not sit well with me that what was useless before has all of a sudden become useful to OWN because their agenda is now fixated on a ratings increase.

What are your thoughts? Do you think OWN is being opportunistic with their journalistic prospects?

Nikki is an educator and writer, whose musings cover a broad range of topics including but, not limited to: politics, love, education and cultural criticism. You can follow her on Twitter @artculturemusic

Preview Oprah’s Rihanna Interview

OWN has just released a very in depth preview of what fans can expect to see when Oprah sits down to talk to Rihanna for the August 19th episode of “Oprah’s Next Chapter.”

According to ‘O,’ she went to Rihanna’s native country of Barbados believing she knew just about all there was to know about the singer, only to realize there was so much so more.

Oprah says Rihanna left her shocked and will more than likely do the same for viewers.

Cant wait… !

Oprah Tapes Her Final Episodes

After 25 years of reshaping the American television landscape, Oprah Winfrey taped two of the final three episodes of her iconic daytime talk show and did so in spectacular fashion. According to those who were in attendance, the final tapings were one big party that featured audience members being invited on stage to dance and mingle with the many celebrities who were in attendance.

Among those who came to perform or show their love were Beyonce, who performed her single “Run the World (Girls)”, Madonna, Halle Berry, Will & Jada Smith, Tom Hanks, Michael Jordan, Jamie Foxx and many, many others.

“Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular,” will air May 23 and 24. Pics from the taping can be seen below.

Naomi Campbell Opens Up To Oprah

Naomi Campbell was on her best behavior last week when she sat down to tape an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show. The supermodel was accompanied by her mother Valerie and longtime boyfriend Vladamir Doronin. Naomi opened up about her latest outburst, which saw her slug an ABC camera/man after being questioned by an aggressive reporter about a “blood diamond” she supposedly received from Liberian president Charles Taylor. The model also spoke of the many dust-ups she has had over the years and told Oprah that she was simply “a work in progress.” Promising to change her ways- Naomi signed Oprah’s “No Phone Zone” pledge, as well as the “No Phone Throwing Zone” pledge. As has been well reported over the years- Naomi is deadly with a cell phone.

Naomi’s episode airs tomorrow, May 3rd.

Mo’nique’s Abusive Brother Apologizes On Oprah

Mo’Nique has made no secret that she drew from her own abusive past to channel into her Oscar-winning performance in “Precious.” Now the brother who sexually assaulted her is speaking out for the first time. In a one-on-one with Oprah, her older brother Gerald Imes claimed he was abused as a child, which he says drove him to drugs and led him to predatory behavior. “I’m here today to acknowledge that I’ve been in denial for over 30 years,” he said at the top of the show. “I just want to say I’m sorry.” Gerald says he is proud of his sister’s accomplishments and says he became abusive towards her during a period in his life when he had “spiraled out of control.” “I started using cocaine, alcohol, heroin, at age 11,” he said. He was 13 when he first molested her. She was seven. The abuse lasted until she was 11. Afterward, he says, “I did the drugs to hide my own pain, to hide my own fear … I abused and betrayed the trust of my sibling.”

He was later sentenced to prison for 12 years for molesting someone else.

Mo’Nique’s parents were also in the audience. “It was such a heartbreaking thing to accept,” her mother said. They recalled how they kicked Gerald out of the house when Mo’Nique — then 15 — told them of his abusive history. However, he was living back at home within the month. As a family, they admit they continued forward with their daily lives as though everything was back to normal. When she first went public with the story, “I was hurt,” her mother said. “This is something that should have probably been discussed first within the family.” They haven’t spoken in two and a half years. Gerald said he decided to come forward to help heal their family. “By coming forth today, somewhere along the line, after 37 years, somewhere, somehow, as siblings we can come back together and say I’m sorry. I’m doing this to apologize, to hopefully bring back some family unity — my sister, myself, mom, dad, our brothers and sisters — let’s bring our family back together.”