Running in the front door after school, 14 year old Dani would drop her bag on the floor, grab some oreos and run upstairs to catch Oprah on ABC 7 at four o’clock. Whether the topic was something that resonated with her at that age, or not, she watched and marveled at how Oprah was able to deftly craft conversations, teasing out answers from her guests, while sprinkling her story into it naturally and relatably.
I wanted to be just like her. And I loved that a Black woman was running this popular show, building an empire and being rich AF, and that people of all backgrounds were as in love with her as I was. Fun fact: I was voted most likely to host a talk show in h.s. I will never forget it. So was a girl named Theresa and two boys. For some reason we didn’t know when the photo was for the yearbook so only the two boys were pictured. I was pissed. So, shout out to Theresa Lauro, may you get a talk show one day. 🙂
Fast forwarding to early 20s Dani. AKA Hot Mess Dani with no direction, making all the bad decisions and on a crappy trajectory (downward spiral) Randomly turning on the TV after one of the *cough* wilder weekends, there is Oprah on the screen, talking wisely with her Oprah voice, mentioning Tony Robbins and others, discussing changing your life, saying only YOU can take the reins of your life. And that YOU can do it at ANY time. Mentioning that you CAN have it all, just not always all at the same time….
Something clicked for early20something Dani then. The world of personal development opened to her and alluvasudden there were relationship shifts, degrees and certificates, no drinking or drugs….ok maybe a little drinking still, dropping bad influence friends, good jobs, a positive attitude and an entrepreneurial spirit.
Now, late 30’s Dani (but claiming 29 forever ::look::) is ever thankful to Oprah for being there in that moment saying those words right then. Because….who knows where I’d be now. Yes, I know it was me who made the changes to clean up my life and be who I am now, but…Oprah was the catalyst. She helped me save my life.
Now, I told you here how I found out about getting to do a group interview with Oprah, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling as part of the Wrinkle In Time event. I was hoping we’d get one on one photos with Muvah O, but we didn’t (Don’t worry, I will give you the full scoop on interview day…in the event you didn’t see this live video recap — which you should totally watch by the way.)
So I envisioned myself looking Oprah in her eyes, face to face and telling her what she meant to me and snapping a selfie. I was envisioning this in my mind from immediately after doing the facebook live video I linked above, to right before it actually happened.
Yes. It actually happened!!
So here’s how it goes down at a Premiere (Tho you may remember some of it from here!). You arrive at the red carpet (which was appropriately Blue, for Wrinkle in Time) and get to walk the carpet and take tons of photos. My boos Jenn and Kiwi were my photo partners and we were snapping like our lives depended on it.
We then filed into the El Capitan theater and watched the Premiere of the movie (But we had seen a private screening 2 days before….even before some of the stars of the film got to see it!! I legit felt so “cool” about that hahahah) After the movie we went a block away for the premiere party.
Wait… quick story.
So, I’m from new york. city. OK? I see celebs walking down the street there. I see them in starbucks. And, I have no broughtupsy so, in general, I can say something to them without getting star struck. Keep that in mind.
So, I came downstairs from the movie, heading to get my phone unlocked, and turned and saw one of my 2 favorite actors of all time: Don. Cheadle. (the other is Jeffrey Wright, btw)
If you could have seen me, I know you would have cracked up. Kiwi was with me and told me to go up to him, but I couldn’t. I just…froze. In my head his movies and cameos, his greatest scenes, and bits of business, and tones of voice were rolling through at rapid speeds. My tongue grew 8 times its size and I just stared at him like a damn fool. I may have been drooling. I’m 6 feet away, staring at this man like my grandma never taught me staring was rude. My jaw was down by my knees. A fly flew into my mouth. I don’t even know how I left that spot. Kiwi must have picked me up and forcibly removed me as I was choking on that fly. Oprah, my fairy godmother, didn’t do that to me….but Don Cheadle did?
Anyway, so we go to the premiere party and it is mobbed, and in a good way. Celebrities every which way you turn. I need to say, I felt…at home. I didn’t feel too fangirly until…well…Oprahstalking…but we’ll get to that later. I first saw Yvette Nichole Brown (Community, The Mayor, Talking Dead(kinda)) and had a quick convo with her about journaling, and Talking Dead.
I spotted this pretty girl whose hair was laaiiidt hunty, and I told her, and as she was saying “yeah, I’m surprised it’s stayed all day” I then realized *GASP!* “You’re Yara Shahidi from the hit shows Blackish and Grownish!” She laughed. We quickly talked hair and I let her go before I got annoying. (i hope)
More hair talk to follow with this inspiring activist, Tarana Burke, who I thanked for all she’s done, (FYI This is the woman who started the #MeToo movement well before hashtags were even a thing. She’s dope. And she’s from the BX son.) but quickly went on to more important matters like how she got her braids like that, and how her daughter’s faux locks looked so real. #priorities
Martin was awesome. Just awesome. I mean, I grew up with Martin from Def Comedy Jam days. I swooned over him. I really did. Then we talked about the Def Comedy Jam 25th Anniversary Special, Tracy Morgan’s sweet tribute to him and I bounced before I overstayed my groupie welcome. Ha!
I briefly chatted with this vampire right here. Why isn’t she aging? SOMEBODY TELL ME!!! I need that damn potion.
I got to quickly congratulate the young stars of the film but more on them in a separate post.
And I said what’s up to Colonel Taylor, AKA Glynn Thurman, who happens to be Don Cheadle’s daddy on House of Lies (watch that show, it’s so good) and he was sweet and told me to be sure to watch How to Get Away With Murder (thursdays on ABC!)
Oh, Winston Duke AKA M’Baku invited me to his lair in Wakanda, proposed marriage and all that. I won’t share the photo here, but you can go peep it on instagram! #smize
2nd best bit of the night: Ava Duvernay (I’ll give you the full scoop on this inspiring soul in a seperate post)
I didn’t want to take up much of her time but she was so amazing. Her spirit is big, it is bright, and she is legit uber-unicorn. I thanked her for Selma and 13th and for the sweet way she made this film so thoughtfully. She thanked me right back and looked deep in my eyes to hypnotize me as she said it. Then she grabbed me and held me tight for a photo. And I levitated. Legit. Haven’t touched the ground since. I think our paths are going to cross again. My aura has a girlcrush on her aura.
Then it was on.
Listen. I’ve been following her most of the night…keeping tabs on her as I spotted other celebs clamoring to get some time with her. From Anthony Anderson, to the Blackish kids, to Lil Rel (yeah he was up in there), and Meagan Goode (with her foine hubby). It was cool to see everyone famous and successful in their own right still wanting a piece of Muvah O. That was powerful. She knows the bigness (yes, bigness) of who she is. And she is generous with how she interacts with people. It was cool to watch the other celebs interact with each other as well. I instantly wanted to be as famous in real life as I am in my own head. LOL!!
So, I saw my chance and I got in line. (ish) It was more of a swarm. Then Charlemagne’s short self popped in (bumping a young girl, mind you) and had a quick convo with Oprah (I’m legit photobombing his pic with an exhasperated look because I was effing next and he jacked up my mojo)
She started to move. Her handler/assistant said “no more photos” when I politely let her know that we were “a few of the bloggers from yesterday’s interview and would love a quick pic.” She said “Sorry.” and I said….(in my head of course)… “oh this chick don’t know I’ve been visualizing this ish for 29 *wink* years…..uh uh… I’m getting me some Muvah O!”
We followed like lemminggroupiefangirlstalkers until we had a shot. Jenn (as pregnant as can be) sprinted her cute lil self up to Oprah and got a pic, and I was like uh uh…I can’t let this slide. I called her name….
She turned her Oprah body slightly.
(here it comes…here it comes….)
“OMG Oprah, I just wanted to thank you so much. You saved my life. Your level of awareness and connectivity is so inspiring and goals and thank you and I know this sounds crazy but I love you and know our paths will cross again!”
(yes…..word vomit. all over her pretty Oprah dress and dope Oprah glasses and banded Oprah ponytail like princess Jasmine had)
She was looking in my eyes, you guys. Her Oprah eyes were looking into mine as I professed my love!!
She said a simple thank you in her Oprah voice, with a “heartfelt” kinda Oprah face lol
“May I please have a photo?”
Then she tried to take a selfie. My camera was disrespectful. I took it from her Oprah hands and did it for us:
I then found THIS online…and I give exactly zero effs about how much of a stalker I look like. Next time we meet, we’ll be having tea and a good conversation about the universe and our enlightened places in it. #believethat
The premiere party was dope otherwise. All the 25 bloggers had a great time, there were face painters, makeup sponsors, jewelry sponsors, photo booths, food, drinks….everything was irie. People were vibing in the best way.
3 Things I Learned at the Wrinkle In Time “Red” Carpet Premiere:
- Celebrities don’t have pores. They just don’t. #smoothperfectionaliens
- I CAN walk in heels
- My life is going to rocket upward mad quick
- People respond really well to my energy (unless they’re in a low vibe place at the moment)
- Makeup has legs and will walk right down to your chin if you’re not careful.
It was one of the greatest nights of my life, and a transformative night for me. I’ll share more about that later, but suffice to say, meeting Oprah this weekend re-saved my life. And I didn’t even realize how much it needed a good hearty saving.
Huge thanks to @MovieMarshall who’s the real MVP for inviting me to this premiere event. My travel was sponsored by Disney, but my words and retelling of this dope ass experience was all my own.
Gotta run now, meeting Stedman for a round of golf before drinks with Will and Jada!
Don’t forget to go see A Wrinkle in Time on March 7th!!!