By the time the Oprah Show called, I had already been on the cover of three magazines and had received the coveted Emmy Award and Nightline had done a Friday night special on me entitled "Rae's Story." So it wasn't as if God hadn't opened doors for me. That was evident. But because of the greatness and popularity of Oprah, my accomplishments in the eyes of others didn't seem to match up to being on the Oprah Show.
|The producer sensed my hesitation, so in a series of conversations over the course of the day, she pitched and pitched and pitched. Finally I gave in. Maybe I could do some good, I started to believe. But it still didn't feel right. These girls were to spend the day with me and that was supposed to scare them straight.. Hummm.. But I looked great and had a breakneck schedule, not bedridden. And my life didn't meet any of the stereotypes of people living with AIDS at the time. So I was even doubtful that they could even achieve such a thing with me. But I agreed, because this was the Oprah Show.|
It was one of the hardest decisions that I ever made in my career, but an hour before Oprah's people were to meet me at the clinic to shoot footage, I cancelled. Lawd! Lawd! I had cancelled the Oprah Show, For Real, and they were some kinda hot with me. But I felt that this particular show didn't give me space to do ministry.
And for the second time I had turned the Oprah Show down. I was sure that I wouldn't get asked again. But I felt as if I could live with that. Because for me, my ministry is more important then fame. And looking back today, Oprah confirmed everything I believe! She said on the show today, "It's not about fame, but about service." Those first shows that were presented to me gave me the opportunity for fame, but not for service.
Yep, a year later they called again. And this producer, Lisa Minor, had a totally different approach. An African-American woman herself, she had been following my ministry and she understood what is was that I do. So I agreed to appear on this show, talking about long term survivors living with AIDS.
Oprah is a giant there is no doubt. And at the beginning of this year, people kept saying to me, "Boy wouldn't it be great for Oprah to have you on her show this last season." And it would have been nice I thought. I mean the show that I did was about long term survivors with AIDS, of which I was at the time. And now I've lived 14 years longer than that show.
That's not the kind of person that I am and I just couldn't. But the producer at Oprah never returned my calls or emails. But I was confident that I had done the right thing. How you treat people is important and I treat people how I want to be treated. There was no way I could tell this Sista Lolly Bowean that your interview with me is not as important as Oprah.
And you know what? God honored that because what was just a feature story became a cover story for the Chicago Tribune. And the Tribune being syndicated, that story was reprinted across the US and even in Canada and it boosted my Social Media by leaps and bounds and helped to make me a serious contender in the social media world.
Today, I salute Oprah for following God's purpose for her life... May she continue to work in that purpose with clarity! Because that's exactly what I will do until the day I die!