Did you know that Oprah Winfrey won so many Emmy Awards in the 1990s that she eventually withdrew herself from consideration so other people could prevail? It’s true. If you’re someone who’s been waiting to see the TV queen accept another award, you might be interested to know that she’s a producer on the new Hulu docu-series “The 1619 Project” and thus could be adding another Primetime Emmy to her mantel.
All told, Winfrey took home nine Daytime Emmys in Best Talk Show and seven in Best Talk Show Host for “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” plus two more for the children’s special “ABC Afterschool Specials” and the special class series “Super Soul Sunday.” In addition, she is a Primetime Emmy champion for the TV movie “Tuesdays with Morrie” and has been honored throughout her career with the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award, the Daytime Lifetime Achievement Award, the Cecil B. DeMille Award and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. Whew!
“The 1619 Project” premiered on January 23 and serves as the first on-screen adaptation of journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones‘ groundbreaking essays and books for The New York Times, which reframe America’s history through the eyes of the Black people who helped make it. In all, six essays have been turned into mini-docs: “Democracy,” “Race,” “Capitalism,” “Music,” “Fear” and “Justice.”
In an “Oprah Daily” interview between Winfrey and Hannah-Jones, Winfrey explains how slavery’s far-reaching impact is still affecting people’s lives today. “What you all have been able to do through ‘The 1619 Project’ is allow us to see how it has affected everything—even traffic!” she exclaims. “I mean, that was the thing that got me, even traffic.”
When Winfrey wonders aloud whether the project is widespread enough to create a positive change in the world, Hannah-Jones replies, “The fact that I’ve been traveling all over the country and what I hear again and again from people—different races, different ages, rural, suburban, urban—is they say, ‘I just never knew. I never knew any of this. And I felt like there was more to the story than what I was getting, but I never knew.’ And once you know, I just think you support different policies. This really is what it’s about.”
Winfrey serves as a producer of “The 1619 Project” alongside Hannah-Jones (who’s also the host), showrunner Shoshana Guy, Oscar-winning director Roger Ross Williams, and New York Times execs Caitlin Roper and Kathleen Lingo.
The directorial team consists of Williams (for “Democracy”), Guy & Naimah Jabali-Nash (for “Race”), Christine Turner (for “Capitalism”), Kamilah Forbes (for “Music”), Phil Bertelsen (for “Fear”) and Williams & Jonathan Clasberry (for “Justice”). Williams made history when he became the first Black director to win an Oscar, for the documentary short “Music by Prudence” (2010).
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