Oprah Winfrey: Bringing Black Art to the Masses

Lauren is a former Deputy Editor of The Root.

'Ruined' (in Preproduction)

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A Pulitzer Prize-winning play by African-American playwright Lynn Nottage, Ruined tells the story of a Congolese madam who is trying to protect herself and the women of her brothel during the nation's civil war. Oprah Winfrey is now in talks to executive-produce and star in an upcoming HBO movie adaptation.

Captions by Lauren Williams

'Precious' (2009)

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The novel Push doesn't have the same highbrow credentials as many of the works that Winfrey helps bring to the big and small screens, but the film Precious, which Winfrey executive-produced along with Tyler Perry and others, made quite the impact on audiences and in the awards circuit.

'Their Eyes Were Watching God' (2005)

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This beloved Zora Neale Hurston novel probably wouldn't have made it to the small screen if it weren't for Winfrey, who executive-produced the ABC movie. She also co-starred with Halle Berry.

'Beloved' (1998)

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A huge Toni Morrison fan, Oprah Winfrey threw her money behind the film and starred as main character Sethe.

'The Wedding' (1998)

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Winfrey stayed behind the camera to executive-produce The Wedding, a two-part miniseries based on the best-selling 1995 novel by Dorothy West. West died at 91 a few months after the film aired.

'The Women of Brewster Place' (1989)

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Oprah Winfrey began her long string of producing movie adaptations of celebrated black books with The Women of Brewster Place, a highly acclaimed TV miniseries that was based on the novel by Gloria Naylor. It was so popular that it inspired a short-lived television series, also starring Winfrey.

'Native Son' (1986)

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This film hasn't stood the test of time like some of her others, but as Bigger Thomas' mom, Winfrey played an important role in bringing Richard Wright's novel to the big screen.

'The Color Purple' (1985)

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Winfrey didn't executive-produce this film as she would later in her career, but the production would not have been this same without her portrayal of Sofia.

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