EXCLUSIVE: Oprah Talks About Struggles Faced by the Inaugural Graduating Class of Her Leadership Academy


Oprah Winfrey proudly shares the memories she has of the inaugural graduating class of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.

In Fusion’s one-hour special, O Girls, Kimberly Brooks sits down with Winfrey to talk about her school that "handpicks some of the brightest students from some of the poorest neighborhoods in South Africa" and gives them an education.

In an exclusive clip from the special, the TV personality talks about how the first five graduates of the Leadership Academy for Girls adjusted to being given such an opportunity. "The very first time we had dinner at my house, Mpumi ran out and did not want to sit at the dining table because she was thinking about her grandmother, who could not have such a meal," Winfrey recalls. "I think constantly there is the balancing of, 'I'm the one who got out, I'm the one who has the opportunity but what about the people I'm leaving behind?'"

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Winfrey says she tells the girls to first "honor yourself, save yourself, protect yourself."

"The real reason you're here is to get an education so that you forever break that cycle of poverty in your family," she explains. "Unless you are willing to stay the course and do that, you are not going to be able to take care of anybody, and you've got to take care of yourself first."

O Girls airs Jan. 15 at 8 p.m. ET on Fusion.

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