Oprah Winfrey at the Golden Globes: Using Epideictic Rhetoric to Celebrate an Alternative Vision for America
Oprah Winfrey currently occupies the role of one of the most influential women and effective African American philanthropists in history. Winfrey’s acceptance of the Cecil B. DeMille award at the 2018 Golden Globes provided her with a kairotic moment to address and amplify what has come to be known as the #MeToo movement, a global movement to end sexual harassment and assault. This paper analyzes Winfrey’s epideictic rhetoric and the alternative vision for America she creates during a time of political polarization. Beginning with an examination of the role of Winfrey’s situated and invented ethos in this example of epideictic rhetoric, the paper then examines Winfrey’s use of rhetorical figures in constructing her message of feminist empowerment and equity. Ultimately, the paper concludes that Winfrey’s effectiveness stems from the power of her humility to address the need felt by millions across the globe for an alternative, inclusive, just America.
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