Oprah’s Long-Lost Sister and Controlling Your Own Story

I’m throwing up my late pass now, but I’d like to talk about Oprah’s revealing secret on Monday. The talk show host and owner of OWN Network has a sister named Pat that she’s only met in the last few months and learned about after her niece blind-sided her with the information via phone on the way to set.

Niece: Auntie, can I talk to you?

O: Girl, I’ve got a show to do, what’s up?

Niece: You might want to sit down …

O: Don’t have time to sit down, I’m walking onto set right now, just tell me.

Niece: Alright … you’ve got a sister named Pat.

O: …

Announcer: It’s Oprah Winfreeeeeeeey! *crowd cheers, Oprah looks stunned. And scene*

Now, you might think this is weird for someone to find out they have a sibling they didn’t know about, but imagine you find out you’re related to one of the richest women in the world. Makes you want to do Dave Chappelle-like tomfoolery just day-dreaming about it, doesn’t it? But to make sure she didn’t look like a gold digging bloodsucker, Oprah’s sister Pat took extra steps. As an adopted child, she began to search for her birth mother and happened to discover that Vernita Lee, O’s mom, was hers as well. She prayed about the information and asked her pastor what to do because she knew this wasn’t a juicy tip for the media, as she said on Monday’s show, this was family business that should be kept as such.

Pat’s pastor reached out to Ms. Lee’s pastor who immediately declined her invitation to meet. Heartbroken, Pat didn’t quite know what to do. It’s one thing to be given up, but then you search for your family after a lifetime — Pat looks 40-something years old — and they don’t even want to meet you? But Pat was determined after hearing encouragement from her daughter to make contact with their family. So Pat eventually went to a BBQ restaurant owned by O’s niece Crishonda, and as soon as she showed her face, which looks exactly like Oprah’s other sister also named Pat that passed away due to substance abuse, everyone knew they were family. Of course, the Winfrey clan made the long-lost Pat take a DNA test, which showed a match.

What I thought was the weirdest thing about this whole “reveal” was how Oprah was essentially interviewing herself, as well as her family with the professionalism of a journalist. It was all so odd. She prompted the audience with the background, then she brought Pat on stage and interviewed her, then her niece, and finally her mother, Ms. Lee. Now that was one of the most interesting parts. She ultimately admitted that she gave up Pat because she wanted to move out of the projects and with another mouth to feed, she couldn’t. And you think your life fighting those passive aggressive sharks at work is rough … O’s mom said she has no idea how two of her daughters ended up with the same name Pat because she never named her new-found daughter. She specifically told the nurse that she didn’t want to and left the infant at the hospital.

Apart from all of this being heart-wrenching, my question is: How didn’t anyone notice O’s mom was pregnant for nine entire months?

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