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André De Shields, Ben Vereen, and More Black Elders Share Life Stories as Part of Oprah's LIFT EVERY VOICE Initiative

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To celebrate the project, Oprah Winfrey will host a live “Lift Every Voice” virtual event in the coming weeks interviewing some of the student journalists.

André De Shields, Ben Vereen, and More Black Elders Share Life Stories as Part of Oprah's LIFT EVERY VOICE Initiative
Photo Credits:
Jai Lennard and Flo Ngala

Hearst Magazines and Oprah Daily have launched a new storytelling initiative, Lift Every Voice, named for the Black national anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing," which showcases conversations between young Black journalists and the oldest generation of Black Americans.

Hosted on OprahDaily.com, Dionne Warwick, Patti LaBelle, André De Shields, Ben Vereen and activists Claudette Colvin and Opal Jones are among those featured in the series.

More than 50 elders, most over 75, were interviewed by student writers and recent graduates of historically Black colleges and universities. Photo portraits of interviewees were taken by a new generation of Black photographers - and most were local talent from the subjects' own communities.

In a video introduction announcing Lift Every Voice, Oprah Winfrey detailed the significance of the narratives this series captures. "... they tell the stories of our oldest generation of Black Americans so that we may document, learn from and celebrate our elders' life experiences," said Winfrey.

"When I was in my 20s, I was blessed to meet the woman I would end up calling my mentor and my mother-sister-friend: Dr. Maya Angelou. I loved sitting at her feet, in my pajamas, listening to her share stories of the past," Oprah Winfrey said. "We often talked about the need to know where we come from in order to build on where we need to go. 'You know nothing about your life if you don't know your history,' Maya would say to me. I am proud to give a home to each one of these 50 stories on Oprah Daily, celebrating our elders' life experiences. When we lift every voice, we forge a deep and enduring connection to the past-and carve a tunnel of hope to a brighter future for us all."

O Quarterly will publish twelve of the interviews in the Summer 2021 edition of the magazine, on newsstands June 29, and additional interviews will run across Hearst Magazines' portfolio of publications and brand sites, including: Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Harper's Bazaar, House Beautiful, Men's Health, Road & Track and Runner's World, among others.

To celebrate the project, Oprah Winfrey will host a live "Lift Every Voice" virtual event in the coming weeks interviewing some of the student journalists.

Learn more at https://www.oprahdaily.com/life/a36608056/lift-every-voice/.


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