Going Offline With "AWALK." Accuses Oprah Winfrey of Not Supporting Ghettos
Does Oprah owe the Black community?
Chances are, if you are one of the near-13 million people who follow Oprah on Twitter, it really doesn't get any better than a personal reply or retweet from the media mogul. Well, one Oprah follower actually got some personal attention from America's beloved talk show queen on the social media network, but it didn't leave him with that fuzzy feeling you get after, let's say, scoring a free car. "Awalk" - listed as both New Jersey- and Atlanta-based - publicly questioned the philanthropist about her contributions to America's ghettos. Although Oprah's well-documented generosity - from raising millions for Hurricane Katrina relief to becoming the largest individual donor to Morehouse College - can be found with a simple Google search, the billionaire and humanitarian had little patience for Awalk's late night inquisition.
@Oprah when are u going 2 give back 2 the ghettos in america?
— AWALK (@awalkdatalk) July 30, 2012
@Oprah but its millions of us n everybody isnt classified as african americans. Notice I said ghettos.— AWALK (@awalkdatalk) July 30, 2012
We spoke with Awalk about Oprah, her humanitarian work, and what he'd do differently.
Loop 21: Do you think Black celebrities are obligated to help their communities?
Awalk: Yes, I do. And I just wanna make one point clear: when I say Blacks, I wanna speak for Latinos, Haitians, everybody that looks like me. Everybody's in the ghetto - white people too. They are obligated to do it. People in this world get in a position and it takes them 'til they're 50 or 60 years old to become a humanitarian, to really give back instead of washing money.
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Loop 21: What do you feel - specifically - that Oprah should be doing?
Awalk: Information. I'm not talking about school. She said she put 500 African-Americans through college, but that money goes right back to the government and she gets 100 percent on her tax return. So, by information, I mean show us how to write some of that stuff off, show us how to open some of these businesses and get a potential hand in the right ways to do it because they don't teach nothing about finances in school, period. You can't name one. There's probably three high schools in America, if I'm not mistaken, that teaches finance, how to handle money, how to get bonds, stocks. None of that is being taught. Now, you can easily give somebody some money, but what are you giving them that for? It might seem like you're giving them money from the heart and maybe [it is], about 30 percent of that, but the other 70 percent is so you can wash 52 hundred million of it and get it right back.
Loop 21: So who do you feel is doing a good job of helping people in the ghettos?
Awalk: Jeezy, Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel. I Google stuff like that. They really go in the hood and [give] food. Oprah does it in Africa, don't get me wrong, but we right here in America are starving.
Loop 21: Do you think it's possible for Oprah to ever please everybody?
Awalk: No, it's not about that. It's not even just Oprah. It's about helping right now when nobody cares. I wouldn't expect Warren Buffet to come and help the hood, because he's not from here. He wasn't poor like Oprah. But it's not even about her being known for being from the hood because she just started liking hip-hop. People from the ghetto, the projects, are some of the most interesting, popular, respected humanitarians in the world right now and they came from nothing, just like her. So once you get up there, you can't just say 'Oh, forget about them,' because the government, they really don't care about us.
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Everybody's acting like I asked her for money. I never said nothing about money. Oprah just got Jay-Z on the couch. She just decoded everything. You see what they did with Tiger Woods; would they do Oprah like that? She'd have to come back to the hood. Every time you get rich and snobby and go to them little parties and then come back home and you start acting different, your mom and your grandma starting looking at you different like, 'You better get it together, don't forget where you came from.'
Loop 21: What did you think of her response to you?
Awalk: She never answered back. She answered it with a question like it was a campaign ad, like it was a commercial, like I'm Romney and she's Obama. It was a real question, it must've touched her soul. If you look at the world, a global range, she's representing us as a whole, and when a natural disaster comes right now, the hood is not really gonna back her like that. Some of the middle class people might, but real people who struggle - they don't even back up Barack in the hood because of the information that he knows that he doesn't reveal to our people. It's not about money, it's about information and teaching someone the way to go to it versus putting that kid in college and thinking that that's gonna do it. That was her argument: 'I put 500 African-Americans through college.' But there's other people that don't even classify themselves as African-Americans in the hood, projects, whatever you wanna call it, that don't have no way out, that aren't gonna make it to 17.
Loop 21: If you could, would you help your community?
Awalk: Of course. That's a no-brainer. I feel I'd be obligated. If she created 50 businesses that create a million in 50 states, Oprah would make her money back in six months, a year. I'll give her three years, she'd quadruple her money. If I had her money - half of her money - I know for a fact the hood wouldn't be starving.
Loop 21 reached out to Oprah's Leadership Academy for Girls for comment on this story, and Morehouse College's Office of Institutional Advancement, who declined.