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Posts Tagged ‘Oprah Winfrey’

Maya Angelou (Undated photo)

Maya Angelou (Undated photo)

American writer Maya Angelou (1928-2014) had deep political ties with the Clintons. In 1993, she read her poem, “Pulse of the Morning” at Bill Clinton’s inauguration. Both she and Bill were from Arkansas. In 2008, she supported Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary race for the U.S. presidency against Barack Obama, a fellow African-American. It was a tough decision.

Maya Angelou campaigns for Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton prior to the crucial Pennsylvania Primary, 2008. Even though Ms. Angelou walks with a cane, you can see that she is a towering figure at 6 feet tall.

Maya Angelou campaigns for Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton prior to the crucial Pennsylvania Primary, 2008. Even though Ms. Angelou walks with a cane, you can see that she is a towering figure at 6 feet tall.

However, when Hillary dropped out of the race, Maya swiftly endorsed Barack Obama.

When she was asked to introduce Michelle Obama at a rally in North Carolina, she consulted her good friend TV hostess Obama Winfrey:

I knew she had socialized with them. I asked her, ‘What is Mrs. Obama like? What should I expect?’

Oprah said simply and without hesitation, ‘She’s the real deal.'”

The Obamas and Maya Angelou grew very close. She referred to Michelle Obama as one of her “she-roes.”

When she was interviewed followed Obama’s November ’08 victory, Maya was asked by the BBC World Service for her reaction:

My reaction can be described as thrilled – I am thrilling – but in the classic sense of the word. It used to mean having a physical reaction, you know – BRRRR!!!! – like that! (giggle) – where the whole body responds. Well, this is happening. Even my hair is happy!”

When Maya Angelou died this past Wednesday, President Obama called her a “fierce friend.” Obama’s sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, was named after Angelou.

Maya Angelou receives a Medal of Freedom from President Obama at the White House in Washington in this February 15, 2011 file photo. U.S. author and poet Maya Angelou has died at age 86 in North Carolina.. REUTERS/Larry Downing/Files

Maya Angelou receives a Medal of Freedom from President Obama at the White House in Washington in this February 15, 2011 file photo. REUTERS/Larry Downing/Files

 

First Lady Michelle Obama and Maya Angelou on stage at BET Honors 2012 at the Warner Theatre on January 14, 2012 in Washington, DC. Photo from Amanda Wills at Mashable

For more on Maya Angelou, click here.

 

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Mackenzie Phillips says she had sex with her dad

The Mamas and the Papas, from left to right: Michelle Phillips, John Phillips (in tube), Denny Doherty, and Mama Cass Elliot. The sixties pop rock band is remembered for its sweet harmony and enchanting melodies.
The Mamas and the Papas, from left to right: Michelle Phillips, John Phillips (in tube), Denny Doherty, and Mama Cass Elliot. The sixties pop rock band is remembered for its sweet harmony and enchanting melodies.
Father and Daughter, John and MacKenzie Phillips, in 1998.

Father and Daughter, John and MacKenzie Phillips, in 1998.

Associated Press

Wed Sep 23, 12:37 pm ET

CHICAGO – Former child star Mackenzie Phillips said Wednesday her father, John Phillips, who was a leader of the 1960s pop group the Mamas and the Papas, raped her when she was a teenager and that her sexual relationship with him later became what she termed “consensual.”

Mackenzie Phillips writes in her new book, High on Arrival, that she had sex with her father on the night before she was to get married in 1979 at age 19, according to People magazine.

“On the eve of my wedding, my father showed up, determined to stop it,” writes Phillips, who was 19 and a heavy drug user at the time. “I had tons of pills, and Dad had tons of everything too. Eventually I passed out on Dad’s bed.”

“My father was not a man with boundaries. He was full of love, and he was sick with drugs. I woke up that night from a blackout to find myself having sex with my own father.”

She told “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in an interview that aired Wednesday that her siblings “definitely have a problem with this.” Winfrey also read a statement from Genevieve Waite, John Phillips’ wife at the time of the alleged abuse and Mackenzie’s stepmother that said he was “incapable, no matter how drunk or drugged he was, of having such a relationship with his own child.”

At far right, MacKenzie Phillips from a publicity photo for the 80s TV sitcom, "One Day at a Time." MacKenzie Phillips is best known for her roles as an emotionally troubled and rebellious teenager.

At far right, MacKenzie Phillips from a publicity photo for the 80s TV sitcom, “One Day at a Time.” MacKenzie Phillips is best known for her roles as an emotionally troubled and rebellious teenager.

Phillips, who starred on TV’s “One Day at a Time,” said the sexual relationship with her father lasted a decade and ended when she became pregnant and didn’t know who had fathered the child. She had an abortion, which her father paid for, and “and I never let him touch me again.”

Phillips told Winfrey that she first tried cocaine when she was 11 years old. Her father did drugs with her, taught her to roll joints and injected her with cocaine. Phillips said she’s been clean for a year after pleading guilty to possessing cocaine and entering a drug treatment program.

Phillips said the sexual relationship, although she believes it became consensual, was “an abuse of power” and “a betrayal” on her father’s part. She said she forgave John Phillips on his deathbed.

“I can’t be the only one this has happened to,” Phillips said. “Someone needs to put a face on consensual incest.”

Here is a video of the Mamas and the Papas singing “California Dreaming.” MacKenzie Phillips’ father, John Phillips – “Papa John” –  plays guitar, wearing a fur hat. The other band members are Michelle Phillips (at the time, John Phillips’ wife and MacKenzie’s stepmother), Mama Cass Elliot, and Denny Doherty.

 Click here for more on the wild and reckless lives of John and Michelle Phillips.

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annie-oakley-poster1I was just at Randall’s picking up some Haagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream for Katie, O’Doul’s for Tom, and mango sorbet for myself when I happened to glance at the magazine rack at the checkout stand. “Oprah’s Cocaine Relapse!” shouted the headline on the National Enquirer. “Stedman furious as her secret lover TELLS ALL. PLUS: THE SHOCKING VIDEO!”

How ironic. I’d just been reading about Annie Oakley, eager to blog about her, and not sure where to start, her life is so rich with stories. Leave it to the National Enquirer to give me the nudge. I’d write about the media libel that almost took down Annie Oakley’s reputation. Who’d have thought that Oprah Winfrey and Annie Oakley would have something in common?

Actually, that’s not so strange. Annie Oakley (1860-1926) was, in her day, as big a superstar as Oprah Winfrey is today. As most everyone knows, Annie Oakley was to shooting what Lucille Mulhall (see last post, “America’s First Cowgirl”) was to roping. For 17 years, she received second billing as an expert markswoman with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, at a time when women were largely restricted to home, church, and school. In 1887, she set sail with the troupe to England where they performed for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. For six months, they remained in Europe. Royalty from all over Europe came to see the show and Annie Oakley was one of its biggest attractions. She shot glass balls that her husband Frank Butler sent skyward. She charmed the audience with her girl-like antics. “The loudest applause of the night is reserved for Miss Annie Oakley, because her shooting entertainment is clever, precise, and dramatic,” a London reviewer wrote. (1)

Annie Oakley never walked onto the stage. She skipped in, bowing, waving, and throwing kisses. She had some thrilling riding tricks but her most famous antic involved shooting a target with the aid of a handheld mirror. She would turn her back on her target and take aim at it by looking in the mirror. Sometimes the target was an apple sitting on the head of her dog, Dave. Then she would prop her shotgun over her right shoulder, aim it behind her, and shoot without turning around. When she hit the target, when she almost always did, she would do a little jumpkick then skip happily out of the arena. The audiences loved it. If she missed the target, though, she would turn her face to the crowd and pout dramatically. The audiences loved that, too.

No doubt about it. Annie Oakley was an entertainer. But she never lost sight that she was foremost a lady. As an athlete, she might have been more comfortable in pants but she refused to wear them, considering them unladylike, and wore A-line or pleated skirts instead. Her costumes were always wholesome, her legs below her short skirt covered entirely by dark, pearl-button leggings, and her shirt longsleeved, covering neck and wrists. Her starched white blouse with its high collar gave her a prim look. She was considered by her friends as “straitlaced.” (1)

When she traveled, she and Frank shared a tent, which Annie made homey with knick-knacks, photographs, a welcome mat, and sometimes a white picket fence. Annie Oakley took great care to keep up respectability.

annie-oakley-in-tent5
So it came as a great shock to her when she learned of an article that appeared in two Chicago newspapers on August 11, 1903, smearing her good name. The papers reported that someone by the name of Annie Oakley was in a Chicago jail after pleading guilty to stealing “the trousers of a negro” to get money to buy cocaine. (2) “ANNIE OAKLEY ASKS COURT FOR MERCY–Famous Woman Crack Shot…Steals to Secure Cocaine,” screamed one headline.The bogus story was picked up by newspapers nationwide.

At the time, Annie was 42 years old and had just finished starring in The Western Girl. Any plans she may have had of continuing her acting career on the stage came to an abrupt halt. She filed lawsuits against 55 newspapers for blackening her good name. She spent the next seven years testifying in court about the damage done to her reputation by the false newspaper articles. She won 54 of the 55 lawsuits. The woman who had been arrested that August day turned out to have been an impostor posing as Annie Oakley who had confessed to the crime. Her name was Maude Fontenella. She had once performed in a burlesque Wild West show as “Any Oakley.” It was the fault of a Chicago reporter named Ernest Stout who filed the false story, saying that the police inspector had verified that the woman was the real Annie Oakley. (2) Annie Oakley was neither a thief nor a drug addict.

The scandal behind her, the verdicts just, Annie went back on the road with another wild west show, though now she wore a brown wig. Her hair had turned completely white.

I’ve read the National Enquirer on Oprah. It seems that Oprah has admitted on TV to past cocaine use. But, fortunately, in these modern times, her past indiscretion did not ruin her reputaiton.

(1) Macy, Sue. Bull’s Eye: A Photobiography of Annie Oakley. National Geographic Society: Washington, D.C., 2001.
(2) Kasper, Shirl. Annie Oakley. The University of Oklahoma Press: Norman, 1992.

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