FUSION CELEBRATES THE POWER OF A SINGLE OPPORTUNITY TO CHANGE THE LIVES OF FIVE YOUNG AFRICAN WOMEN WITH ‘O GIRLS’ DOCUMENTARY PREMIERING JANUARY 15 @ 8PM
FUSION’s Kimberly Brooks Reunites with the First Graduating Class of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls as They Achieve Another Milestone: College Graduation
One-Hour Doc Reunites Brooks with Oprah Winfrey to Discuss the Empowerment of Young Women, the Importance of Access to Education and the Impact of the Academy 10-Years Later
”I wanted to help girls who really wanted it. They could see the possibility for themselves, if only. If only they had the means to do it.” -- Oprah Winfrey to FUSION’s Kimberly Brooks
Click HERE to View the “O Girls” Trailer
MIAMI, FL. (December 20, 2016) – To the world, she is Oprah Winfrey – inspiring television host, actress, and philanthropist. But, to a select few, she is “Mom O” – the surrogate mother who made the dreams of many young women a reality by providing them access to a world-class education at The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls (OWLAG). From South Africa to Santa Barbara to Atlanta to North Carolina, FUSION documents the personal journey of five girls from the Academy’s inaugural class as they mark new milestones in their lives. “O Girls,” hosted by FUSION Correspondent and former Harpo staffer Kimberly Brooks, premieres January 15 @ 8PM on FUSION (channel listings).
Each of the stories showcased in “O Girls” personifies how education can empower young women and girls all over the world to do incredible things. While access to education has enriched the lives of the young women who graduated from the Leadership Academy, the documentary also delves into the challenges that come along with such a life-altering opportunity. In an interview, Winfrey notes that on average many of the girls had experienced six major life traumas before even coming to the Academy – from violence and sexual abuse to dealing with the deaths of several family members. Kimberly Brooks talks with OWLAG graduates Bongeka, Thando, Charmain, Debra and Mpumi about dealing with those traumas at a young age, as well as the personal pressure to succeed after life at the Academy and the challenge of balancing their lives in the U.S. with their South African roots.
“O Girls” is also a full circle moment for Kimberly Brooks. After graduating college, Kim nabbed her first job in TV working as an assistant at “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Six months later, she learned Oprah would be returning to her new Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. Knowing it would be the opportunity of a lifetime, Kim penned Oprah a bold letter asking to go on the trip. Oprah took a chance and said yes. That opportunity changed Kim’s outlook on the world and forged bonds that remain strong.
A decade later, Kim documents the stories of five of the young women she has come to call sisters -- some of whom are now graduating from colleges in the United States and others who have decided to stay in South Africa to make a positive impact in their home villages. Kim sits down for a reflective conversation with Oprah covering a range of topics -- why she started the Academy, what her relationships are like with the girls who attended, and what it was about Kim that made her say yes to that letter:
“My work with these girls feels as natural to me as if they were my own children. For me, this is what mothering was meant to be,” Winfrey told FUSION’s Kimberly Brooks in an interview. “I wanted to help girls who really wanted it. They could see the possibility for themselves, if only. If only they had the means to do it,” she said.
“For me, this is a living, breathing story. This journey continues for all of us. As a woman of color, I am grateful for an opportunity to produce content about women of color accomplishing incredible things in this world,” said Kimberly Brooks.
“This special has many takeaways, but at its core, this story couldn’t have been told without one person’s initial act of kindness. Throughout the documentary, we see how Oprah’s dream of making a difference has impacted so many lives,” said Mark Lima, Vice President of News Specials for FUSION and Executive Producer of “O Girls.” “Kim’s dedication to this project and her passion for authentic storytelling is evident, as she shares the successes of these bright, young women.”
Through impactful journalism and smart commentary, FUSION covers the stories that matter to the rising American mainstream. FUSION content is available to audiences across a broad range of platforms including cable television (channel listings), FUSION.net, various OTT providers and social media platforms. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. FUSION is a part of the Fusion Media Group, a division of Univision Communications Inc.
ABOUT KIMBERLY BROOKS
Kimberly Brooks is a FUSION correspondent and the co-anchor of ‘Nightline on Fusion.’ As a correspondent, Kimberly contributes regularly to FUSION’s “AMERICA with Jorge Ramos” and the upcoming series “Outpost.” Prior to joining FUSION in 2014, Kimberly spent eight years working in television production – beginning at “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” then moving on to produce for NBC’s national lifestyle programs in Chicago where she won two regional Emmys with her team. Later, she moved to New York, working as an ABC News fellow – producing stories for "World News with Diane Sawyer,” “Good Morning America” and “Nightline.” Kimberly holds a degree from Northwestern University and received her M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University where she graduated with honors.
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