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Henrietta Lacks: Oprah Winfrey conquers acting fears in new movie about African-American woman

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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.'”

‘Measure up’

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…'”

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‘Nigeria Should Be A YouTube Channel Or A Netflix Movie’ – BBNaija’s Kimoprah

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KimOprah
KimOprah

KimOprah

Reality TV star, Kimoprah, has likened Nigeria to a YouTube channel or a Netflix movie. The former BBNaija ‘Pepper Dem’ housemate took to her Twitter page to express that some of the events that have occurred in the past few days seem too unbelievable to be real.

In her words:

“This country is supposed to have a Youtube channel or be a movie on Netflix cos some things are just unbelievable You will wondering if they are real… God help us”

Read AlsoBBNaija: Kimoprah Trends As The Prettiest Girl Ever On The Show

She also weighed in on the COVID-19 palliatives stored in warehouses. To her, it is broad daylight robbery and greed to hoard what is meant to be shared to the masses.

See her post below:

The reality TV star’s posts

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Toke Makinwa Blasts Lagos Lawmaker For Saying He Wanted To Share Looted Palliatives On His Birthday

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Toke Makinwa
Toke Makinwa

Media personality, Toke Makinwa

Popular OAP, Toke Makinwa, has expressed her distaste for the Lagos Lawmaker, SOB Agunbiade, who said he wanted to share looted palliatives on his birthday.

The media personality cum actress and author took to her Twitter page to describe the actions of the Majority Leader of Lagos State House of Assembly as disgusting, adding that it is a means to profit off the poverty of the masses.

Read AlsoToke Makinwa Celebrates Drake At 34

In her words:

“Then someone said he was planning to share the palliatives on his birthday, I simply cannot can’t, my head is spinning from it all. How do you share what is rightfully ours on your birthday like as messiah saving the masses, you profit off their poverty? Disgusting. #endsars”

See her post below:

The OAP’s post

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‘We Need A Female President Now, More Than Ever’ – Actress Sylvia Oluchy

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'We Need A Female President Now More Than Ever' - Actress Sylvia Oluchy
Actress Sylvia Oluchy

Actress Sylvia Oluchy

Nigerian actress, Sylvia Oluchy, has called for the need to have a female president in Nigeria. According to the actress, Nigeria is in dire need of a feminine and motherly touch.

She took to her Twitter page to share her views. She also touched on the fact that Nigeria has never had a female president, attributing it to the lack of success in many areas of the nation’s development.

Read AlsoCheap gifts make no sense economically I hate them” – Actress Sylvia Oluchy

In her words:

“We need a female president now more than ever to run this country with feminine and motherly touch. Engaging only one gender is like using only half of your capabilities and ignoring the other half. You can never succeed that way! #EndSARS #EndBadGovernanceInNigeria”

See her post below:

The actress’ post

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