“Everybody talks about staying woke. This is how you get woke.”
Do not expect to see Oprah Winfrey sitting down for a Barnes & Noble book signing at your local strip mall.
The cable CEO, media empress and spiritual liaison to millions says that she has no interest in attempting anything so tedious to promote the release of her latest self-help tome, The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations.
True to reputation, Winfrey plotted something much bigger.
So she opened the gates of her 42-acre Montecito, California, estate to some 300 of the biggest names in entertainment and business on the eve of the book’s Tuesday release — telling her guests to go forth and hashtag.
“Book stores are over, in terms of standing and signing all day long,” said Winfrey, sitting with a small handful of reporters at the top of the unseasonably warm Sunday morning.
“You don’t meet masses of people. And when I believe that something is going to be impactful, I try to put everything I have into making that possible. Inviting people to my home is one way of doing that.”
Her meeting with journalists was just one piece of a packed Sunday, an afternoon that culminated with a gospel performance at her personal amphitheater and a stately brunch in one of the several lush clearings on her meticulously kept grounds.
Those who made the 92-mile trek up the coast from Los Angeles, or elsewhere, included actresses Kerry Washington, Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon and Angela Bassett, frequent Winfrey collaborator Ava DuVernay, longtime friend Gayle King and partner Stedman Graham.
Disney CEO Bob Iger and wife Willow Bay enjoyed the performance not far from Netflix’s Ted Sarandos and wife and political activist Nicole Avant.
And, in one of the more eclectic rows you’d be likely to find at any concert, Diane Sawyer, Barry Diller, Diane von Furstenberg, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Shonda Rhimes and Arianna Huffington all cozied into the mossy stone seating of the outdoor venue.
Also in that gaggle was Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, possibly the only person in the world with more power to sell books than Ms. Winfrey.
That was the essence of her gathering: Extol the themes of her SuperSoul TV franchise, her conversations with spiritual, business and academic leaders recently parlayed into a popular podcast, with a written collection of some of the bigger interviews she’s done since launching her cable network in 2011.
But, 30 years after the launch of her now-retired Oprah Winfrey Show, she recognizes that those elements of her brand — spirituality and self-betterment — have always been a tougher sell.