by Yvette Carnell
It seems that in the struggle to save her OWN network, Oprah Winfrey learned a valuable lesson: People don’t want what they say they want. In a recent interview with New York Magazine, Oprah admitted that the main problem with OWN was that it was “too serious” and needed a little comedy.
Here’s Oprah in her own words:
“I have a tendency to look at everything from the point of view of: What is going to be meaningful, and uplift people? That can become too stoic and too serious—which is the same issue I suffered with at the magazine in the beginning. It needed more humor. So we [began] looking for lighter fare. Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s works. Iyanla: Fix My Life was also a turning point. Having programming that was in alignment with the vision but also left the space to widen the lane for the vision”
If I could disagree with Oprah here, I would. I can’t. She’s right. As a person who works in black media and reviews the analytics, I can say for certain that people desire to laugh and peak into the livesof celebrities much more than they desire to be uplifted or to learn. It’s not just a black problem, though. It’s more of an American dumbing down. Still, I ask myself whether a magazine like The New Yorker could exist for black folk? What ever happened to Emerge magazine?
For me, the question becomes why a people so far behind don’t desire to catch up using the information that’s readily available on the web? I don’t know. All I know is that I could post an article about NSA surveillance next to an article about Jay-Z and Beyonce’s vacation and folks will click on Jay and Bey every time. What does that tell you?
Oprah made the decision she had to make to save her network. It’s a shame that we, the viewers, didn’t give her other options.