The power of Oprah.

Time to Settle Accounts

May 18, 2011: The power of Oprah.

When Blink, Tall Jeremy, and someone I’ve never met left headquarters, I set up my computer and asked G about Oprah. His sister works for the show, and yesterday he was in attendance at the Untied Center for the taping of her third- and second-to-last episodes.

“So, MJ was there, right?”

He swooned. “MJ was there.”

“Tom Hanks? Or was it Tom Cruise…”

“Both,” he said. “Both.” He shook his head. “Man, let’s see. MJ, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Stevie Wonder, Halle Berry. Dakota Fanning.” He paused, and then chuckled, and then said, “Alicia Keys and Maya Angelou performed together. Dog, Alicia Keys played a grand piano while Maya Angelou read a poem to Oprah she’d just written about Oprah.

“And then Alicia knocked out an acoustic version of ‘Superwoman.’” He shrugged. “Ya know, no big deal.

“Patti LaBelle was there. Queen Latifah. Aretha Franklin sang Amazing Grace! Aretha! She’s got pancreatic cancer. What’s she doing singing? But, ‘No problem, Oprah.’

“Jerry Seinfeld came in and did three minutes of new standup that he wrote for Oprah. When was the last time you heard of Jerry Seinfeld writing standup for someone? And it was great! Rock solid. I’d go pay money now for a Jerry Seinfeld show. Absolutely.

“Then second show, more big guns. Will and Jada came out. Jamie Foxx. Usher. Diane Sawyer. Simon Cowell. Rascal Flatts. Beyonce performed.”

“Were you just dying for Jay to show up?” I asked.

“I thought he would, since everyone else I liked had come out,” he said. “When Jamie Foxx came out, and then Usher, I just closed my eyes and said ‘Jay-Z. Jay’s next.’” He laughed. “I thought I had the power.

“I’ll tell you, though, what I learned about being an artist – ” He paused, and took two bites of an apple. “Beyonce did this great performance. Singing and dancing. Gettin’ it in. She finished, and there was the usual post-performance rumbles in the crowd and a small break, and then the stage manager came out and said to the crowd, ‘Beyonce’s going to do the performance again, so make sure you bring the same energy.’

“I’m thinking, ‘Damn, that’s what it means to be a mogul,’ because I’m picturing Beyonce finishing, and then Oprah saying something like, ‘That was great, dear. If you do it once more with a little more energy, we’ll have it.’” He laughed again. “And Beyonce’s over there panting and smiling through teeth, going, ‘No problem Oprah.’

“So I called my sister to ask if that’s what happened, but she said no. Beyonce had just asked to perform it again. She wanted to tighten it up.

“Man imagine: you do that whole performance, rocking out dancing and performing for three some minutes, and you ask to do it again because you want it to be better. That’s like running a mile, then saying, ‘I don’t like that time,’ and pumping it out and running again.” He shook his head again and, in three sudden bites, the apple was gone. “That’s a professional.”

NEXT: White girl rappers and the moving net. (5.29.11)

PREVIOUS: Taj Gibson son. (5.16.11)


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