Oprah Winfrey didn’t want to throw “just another book party,” especially when it came to a celebration for her latest effort, “Wisdom of Sundays,” a collection of what she calls her “a-ha moments” from her conversations with thought-leaders and writers from OWN’s “Super Soul Sunday.”
“I wanted to do something uplifting,” Winfrey said. “I wanted to do something that launches this book into the world in a way that leaves the people who are a part of it — all the ‘Super Soul’ guests, friends of mine — to come to gather and spread the word and message of this book.”
So on Sunday, she welcomed 250 guests to her sprawling, 65-acre estate in Montecito, Calif., for a gospel brunch. “It’s not often that I open up this space,” she told the A-list crowd, which included Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Alicia Keys, Mindy Kaling, Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, Ava DuVernay, Shonda Rhimes, Angela Bassett, Jon Bon Jovi, Kerry Washington, along with many “Super Soul” contributors. Execs in attendance included Bob Iger, Jeff Bezos, Ted Sarandos, and Peter Roth, as well as Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, George Lucas, David Foster, Barry Diller, and Diane von Furstenberg.
“Whenever I really believe that something I’m doing is going to be impactful, I try to put everything I have into making that possible,” she said. “Bringing people to my home is what I decided to do.”
Winfrey told the audience, “it’s going to get real in the gospel section,” as she turned over the stage to Bebe Winans, who led a rousing, hour-long gospel concert, with performances by Andra Day, Common, Yolanda Adams, Erica Campbell, and Emily David, a survivor of Hurricane Harvey — and former “America’s Got Talent” contestant who lost everything in the disaster.
“Everything in this book comes from the spirit of what I’ve been trying to do here on the planet Earth since I recognized that I had a calling,” she said. “It’s sharing wisdom in a way that opens people up to the best of themselves, to the heart of themselves, to a more purposeful life — a life that allows you to literally get woke and stay woke.”
The brunch, which was designed by Colin Cowie and catered by chef Art Smith, featured fried chicken and waffles, traditional Southern sides like collard greens and mac and cheese, biscuits and gravy, as well as a raw bar and plenty of vegan options.
Winfrey made clear she won’t be taking any proceeds from the book, which goes on sale Tuesday, donating all the money to charitable causes, including her Leadership Academy for Girls.
“We’re at a crossroads in our human culture, I believe,” Winfrey said. “I don’t feel like this is such a terrible time. We needed this time to literally wake us up. … This is how you get woke.”