Actually, the school is in South Africa. It's a country. It's in Africa, the continent. Oprah can open the school in South Africa because she can do whatever the hell she wants to. If there is one person in America who has deserved the right to not be questioned for her humanitarian deeds, it is Oprah. Why she has not yet received a Nobel is beyond me. Whether you agree with her politics or guests, you cannot deny that the world is a better place because Oprah was born.
Let's look at the facts. In Oprah's press conference on the opening of her Leadership Academy, she responded to critics as to why the school was opened in South Africa and not the U.S. She stated simply that in many inner city schools, many students are more concerned with getting IPODS and sneakers as opposed to South African students who were more concerned with getting school uniforms and school supplies. This happens to be 100% true (not: I said "many students," not "all"). I work in American inner city schools and have traveled to schools extensively in South Africa and can validate her testimony.
Moreover, to question why Oprah would put up $40 million for a school on soil other than America is ludicrous. What individual has given more to American schools than Oprah? The list is not large. This woman has given millions to Historically Black Colleges and Universities. After Hurricane Katrina, BET had a telethon where rappers, actors, and R and B singers raised over $11million that was given to the Red Cross. This was a great effort on the part of the celebrities and they need to be commended. However, the money went to an organization that was later found to be siphoning funds from money given for Katrina relief efforts.
Oprah, on the other hand, was much more hands on. She put up $10 million of her own money and built actual homes for people on her own street, Angel Lane. As she said, she was tired of just writing checks and not really seeing where the money goes. As she did with the homes post-Katrina, her Leadership Academy is hands on. It's her money. How many cars, houses, and college tuitions has she paid for in America? Let us not be misguided in our frustration. We should turn our anger towards our government, which is investing more in Iraq and Afghanistan than on education reform in America.
Of course, I won't even begin to mention the misdirected attacks she has taken from the hip-hop community for believing in her words that "you don't have to bitch and ho me down to make good music." please read the full article below for that. This misdirected disdain for Oprah is completely counterproductive. If we are truly interested in human progress, we would realize that improving the education in any country helps improve the education of all humanity. Oprah being African-American is also improving the negative perceptions that many in African countries have of African-American women, based on the degrading hip-hop videos that they see from America. As one parent of a Leadership Academy student said, "I didn't know angels were black." Does that not say it all? Thank you Oprah.