Before Henrietta Lacks died of cervical cancer in 1951, doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore removed some of her cancerous cells to grow outside her body in a petri dish.
Dubbed HeLa, the cell line from the 31-year-old African-American woman became one of the most utilized in medical research, helping establish billion-dollar biomedical industries around the world for cancer treatment, vaccines — including Johan Salk‘s polio inoculation — and even in-vitro fertilization.
It was all done without her knowledge or consent.
Struggling with poverty and racism in Baltimore, Lacks’s family discovered the truth accidentally years later.
Writer Rebecca Skloot‘s subsequent account, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” rocketed to public attention earlier this decade, spending 75 weeks on the New York Times paperback nonfiction best-seller list, and prompting a public debate about the ethics of harvesting people’s cells.
Now Oprah Winfrey has helped bring the story of Lacks and her “immortal” cell line to the small screen in a HBO film adaptation of the book that debuted on Saturday to mixed reviews.
The narrative focuses on Skloot’s interactions with Lacks’s daughter Deborah, played by Winfrey. A toddler when her mother died, she alternates between enthusiasm and suspicion of the project, eager to learn about her mother but prone to wild conspiracy theories.
The 63-year-old Winfrey, who once worked as a reporter in Washington, was determined to co-produce the film after reading the book. But the hugely successful talk show star — who is one of the country’s most influential public figures with her own cable channel, OWN — said she long resisted the idea of acting in it.
“I was really afraid to do this role,” she said this week during a promotional tour with the director George Wolfe, who had urged her to take it on. “I said from day one, ‘George, I don’t want to make a fool of myself.'”
Winfrey has won acclaim for a number of previous film roles, including in “The Color Purple” (1985), “The Butler” (2013) and “Selma” (2014).
Still, “I don’t put myself normally in situations where I am out of control and I don’t know what I am doing,” she said. “Everybody on set is better than I am because they’ve done it longer.”
“That’s the fear, that you’re not going to measure up in the moment.”
One of the ways the billionaire Winfrey was able to connect with the role was as a longtime campaigner against sexual assault.
“I came from a life of abuse,” she said.
In parallel with Henrietta Lacks’ unfolding tale, her daughter gradually reveals her own untold story: the fact she and her siblings faced mental, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of relatives after their mother’s death.
Still, Winfrey said she didn’t feel the kind of “rage and anger and fear” many other victims do. “I am pretty damn healed from all my past stuff.”
So when it came to a particularly emotional scene, she fell back on what she’s most famous for.
Remembering meeting a student from a school she founded in South Africa, whom she knew had been abused by an aunt, she said: “I called her and said, “Tell me about your aunt…'”
Comedian Woli Agba Gifts Cars To Crew Members
Nigerian comedian and gospel singer, Ayo Ajewole alias Woli Agba, recently surprised three members of his crew with brand new cars.
The comedian’s right man and ministry son, Mide Oladimeji, otherwise known as Dele Omo Woli Agba, took to his Instagram page to share the exciting news.
Dele Omo Woli Agba posted a video which captured the moment each of them received the car gifts.
The young man captioned the post with the words;
“Words fail me I can’t contain my JOY. My daddy bought me a car. IPM not only me oooooo and also to our manager. Ko tan sibe. Pastor OJO is not excluded 3 cars at a time KPK. Thank you Daddy @woliagba_ayoajewole Thank you @olori_olaifeayo”
See the screenshot of the post below:
‘I Don’t Want To Return To Lagos’, Toke Makinwa Says From Her Vacation Abroad
Popular media personality, Toke Makinwa, has shared her desire to remain at her vacation spot and not return to Lagos via her Snapchat account.
The actress, author, vlogger and entrepreneur says in the video:
“People, I am serious about this. This is the life I was made for. Like, I did not come to this life to suffer. I don’t want to come back to Lagos.
I just want to enjoy, just be relaxing and be taken care of. I have lived a ‘stressless’ life in the last two days. This has been an ultimate getaway for me.
I am absolutely loving it, guys. I’m loving it. I don’t want to come to Lagos again.”
Watch the video below:
Davido Celebrates Late Mom On Her Posthumous Birthday
Popular Nigerian singer, Davido wished his late mother, Veronica Adeleke a happy birthday via his Instagram page on Monday.
The ‘FEM’ crooner commemorated his mum, Veronica Adeleke on her posthumous birthday.
According to reports, Veronica died of cardiac arrest at the age of 39 in March, 2003.
The singer, who still holds memories of his dear mother close to his heart, posted a throwback photo of them with the caption;
“Happy Birthday Mama … love and miss you always”
Information Nigeria recalls that the singer got emotional after his fiancée, Chioma Avril Rowland gifted him a necklace with a photo of himself and his mother.
Read Also: Davido Shows Off Birthday Gift From Chioma
See his post below:
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