January 1, 2008

The Oprah Effect: Beyond the Obama Campaign

Oprah's engagement in the Obama campaign ought to cause black america to pause and consider the consequences if America's black elite were to unite for political purposes. Oprah's high profile support of Barack really brings into focus other possibilities in the political realm. Two areas where I often wish for greater engagement from black america's wealthy elite are politics and neighborhood development. The black elite is active on the charitable front. Few entertainment stars who have achieved some level of success don't have a foundation or a commitment to a particular charitable effort, almost uniformly within the education sector. But I know of few efforts of the black elite that support neighborhood development initiatives. On the political scene, there is no unified effort national in scope which is supported by a coalition of the black elite in terms of their money and their influence. That ought to change.

As I watch Oprah wield her influence and reach on Obama's behalf, making herself the lure that engaged thousands to get involved in the political process of his campaign, I can't help but wonder: what might be possible if the black elite harnessed their influence, money and reach to support political efforts, candidates and issues of import to the black community?