Oprah to Stacey Abrams’ Fans: “Y’all Are About to Make Some History”

If Abrams prevails on Tuesday, she’ll soon be the country’s first black woman governor.

Stacey Abrams and Oprah Winfrey onstage in Decatur, GeorgiaKiera Butler

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Stacey Abrams may be a draw, but there’s nothing like Oprah to bring out the crowds.

And out they came on a rainy Thursday afternoon, huddling under umbrellas outside an auditorium in Decatur, Georgia, to see Oprah Winfrey in conversation with Georgia gubernatorial hopeful Abrams. Winfrey was just one of the celebrities who have come to Georgia to campaign with Abrams: Comedian Will Ferrell was here earlier this week. Barack Obama is due to arrive in town tomorrow. 

I asked some of Abrams fans what made them come out in the rain.

Decatur, adjacent to Atlanta, has a large African American population, and as the throng waited for Winfrey and Abrams to arrive, the mood was jubilant: People danced to Pharrell’s “Happy,” Whitney Houston’s “I’m Every Woman,” and Beyoncé’s “Run the World (Girls).” 

When Winfrey took the stage, to thunderous applause from the 400 attendees, she said, “I’ve been watching what’s been going on down here. Y’all are about to make some history down here.”

Winfrey said she had called Abrams just three days earlier to float the idea of coming to Georgia to campaign for her. Abrams, Winfrey said, was driving, and when she realized who was calling, “She said, ‘Girl, let me pull over!'”

The wide-ranging conversation touched on many of Abrams’ campaign issues: expanding Medicaid, protecting voters’ rights, and ensuring access to higher education, among others:

But there were plenty more Winfrey-style personal moments. Abrams opened up about how writing (she’s a published romance novelist) serves as a welcome distraction and release. She also confessed how difficult it had been to hear from old friends who didn’t support her campaign. Some, she said, had told her, “‘Stacey you’re smart and talented, but you’re a black woman.’”

In one of the afternoon’s most powerful exchanges, Winfrey asked Abrams what she dreamed of for Georgia’s future. Abrams responded:

The women joked easily with each other and with the crowd—at one point, they imagined a romance-novel scene that involved going to the polls to vote. Just before the Q&A portion, Winfrey asked Abrams what she planned to do on November 7. Abrams smirked and responded, “Take a nap!”

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate