My Lord and Savior, Oprah

By Damian J. Denson

I could probably tell you about every opening to The Oprah Winfrey Show during the late 80’s and 90’s. This was when theme songs were a thing and recognizable at the first few quarter notes. There was that Quincy Jones produced electropop instrumental ditty, the Paul Simon penned folk song at the show’s 10-year anniversary, Patti Labelle’s exuberant “Get with the Program!” and, of course, the most infamous one of all, the original “Run On” sung by Oprah Gail Winfrey herself. These theme songs were always a moment of excitement for me as a young, gay boy in rural Southwest Georgia as I raced home to the television every weekday. It represented a moment of transport. Away from what I felt was nothingness. The sheer loneliness of being misunderstood and a misfit to everything and everywhere. I learned a lot from those 4 p.m. appointments. At the time, I had no idea what all I was actually internalizing. But it always represented a liberated way of thinking. I saw a different mindset from what I was taught at home and, most detrimentally, from the Church. Oprah saved me, without a doubt, one day at a time.

Damian J. Denson is a research scientist, political junkie, and popular culture critic. He can also be found mouthing off on TumblrFacebookand Twitter.