Roland Martin, host of “NewsOne Now,” caught up with Oprah Winfrey, one of the producers of the MLK biopic “Selma,” during a red carpet event for the film. “Selma,” which opened in a limited release on Christmas day, opens nationwide on January 9, 2015.
The critically acclaimed film received four Golden Globes nominations, including nods for Best Motion Picture and Ava DuVernay for Best Director in the Motion Picture category. With her nomination, DuVernay became the first African American woman to be nominated for a best director Golden Globe.
Winfrey, who also plays civil rights demonstrator Annie Lee Cooper in the film, told Martin that the way “Selma” came together was “ordained.”
Winfrey explained when funds were scarce and there did not seem to be enough time to complete the project, she told those involved with the film, “This is all on divine time.”
“I would not even join this group if I didn’t feel that this is ordained.” She added, “I am not surprised that the movie has been received this well. I am delighted and thrilled that it is. I would have been disappointed if people had not received it well.”
Winfrey continued, “Everything happens exactly on time, may not come when you want it but it is always on time.”
Martin went on to talk with Winfrey about the historical context of “Selma” saying, the movie is not just about Black history, the film is an American history story that shows the pain and triumph of the Civil Rights movement.
Oprah said a number of her White friends who saw the movie “were not aware of the history” that drives the historical narrative told in “Selma.” She also shared her surprise that many young people didn’t know the history behind the film. She told Martin, “They know some bad things happened, and they know that we did not have our rights, but they don’t actually know the history.”
Oprah highlighted how young many of the civil rights activists were during that time in history saying, “the thing that just opens my heart and makes me want to sing is how young they were.”
Many of the civil rights demonstrators leading the Freedom Rides were only in their twenties. Winfrey continued, “They had such rigorous discipline, passionate desire to remain peaceful and were determined that no matter what they were going to do that.”
“They withstood Bull Connor’s hoses and Sheriff (Jim) Clark’s clubs, Bloody Sunday and all that in the name of having the right to vote.” She also recounted a conversation with an individual who saw the film last week that after seeing “Selma” they could never not vote again.
Winfrey also shared with Martin her reasons for getting involved with “Selma,” saying, “I have had a lot of women’s shoulders that I have stood on and Maya Angelou was one of them — she was always there for me.”
“I wanted to be Ava’s Maya, I wanted to be able to lift her up, to be able to say, ‘I’m here for you.’” Oprah added, “The greatest gift you can give someone which I tried to offer to Ava and to David (Oyelowo) is, what can I do to help you. So that’s why I got involved.”
Watch Roland Martin and Oprah discuss “Selma” in the video clip above and be sure the support the film when it premieres in theaters nationwide on January 9, 2015.
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