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Root Ball Could Draw Them All: Obamas, Oprah and...



Oprah Winfrey gestures at The Hollywood Reporter's annual Women in Entertainment Breakfast in Beverly Hills, Calif., Dec. 5, 2008. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Ah-hah! So now we know - or so we're told - where Oprah Winfrey will be celebrating the inauguration of her favorite president-elect. At least one of the nights while she's in town.


She's widely expected to attend The Root Inaugural Ball, being co-hosted by her dear friend, Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr., editor-in-chief of The Root, the daily online magazine owned by the Washington Post Company written from an African-American perspective.


The Root ball, which will be held Sunday Jan. 18 at the National Museum of American History, is drawing an impressive roster of A-list celebrities and renowned academics and will surely be one of the hottest tickets of the entire five-day inaugural celebration.


Besides Winfrey, the hosts of the party have extended an invitation to President-elect Obama and his wife, Michelle, who will become first lady in just 13 days. No word yet on whether the Obamas will attend.


The Root's managing editor, Lynette Clemetson, who rebuffed all our attempts to confirm Winfrey's attendance, makes a great case why the Obamas should attend The Root ball, of all the many unofficial balls out there.


She describes Obama's inauguration as "historic for all Americans, but it's especially poignant and emotional for readers of The Root."

Noting that The Root launched last January just after Obama's big victory in the South Carolina primary, Clemetson says, "Over the year, our readers came to trust us for black perspectives on the campaign. And the Web site had a tremendous first year in large part because of President-elect Obama's campaign. So we're really thrilled to help our guests celebrate this once in a lifetime."

While Winfrey is all the buzz surrounding the ball, organizers of The Root celebration won't comment on whether the richest woman in entertainment will attend. They have, however, confirmed Spike Lee, director John Singleton, actor Chris Tucker and Sarah Jessica Parker will be there. (And apparently Tina Brown, who recently founded the Daily Beast web site, will be bringing her own bevy of celebrities to the Sunday night ball.)


Biz Markie, the DJ and self-declared class clown of rap (he's as much a comedian as he is a DJ and rapper) will be the headline entertainment, according to the invitation.

In addition to Gates and Clemetson, the ball is being hosted by Donald Graham, CEO and chairman of the board of The Washington Post Company, Donna Byrd, publisher of The Root, and Brent Glass, director of the National Museum of American History.

Another big - or small - celebrity expected to attend the Sunday night ball is 10-year-old Damon Weaver, America's most adorable TV reporter, a 5th grader from Florida, who has been trying desperately to score an interview with Obama for his elementary school's television news program.

The Root has even taken up Weaver's cause, writing an editorial to Obama's transition team appealing for Obama to grant the kid an interview. Weaver, who's already a polished pro at TV reporting despite a speech impediment, will be chaperoned by his speech coach.

Something tells us Weaver may just get that interview after all.


By Mary Ann Akers  |  January 8, 2009; 4:45 PM ET
 
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Comments

I predict Winfrey will be unable to attend. Oprah goes into a very active orgasmic state whenever she talks about the Obama. Thus, she'll never make it due to fatigue.

Posted by: Tupac_Goldstein | January 8, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

It kills me to think that caucasians think that ALL African Americans have a ghetto
mentality! To Diannne721, can YOU SPELL HARVARD! The Root gives a different outlook on issues from an African Americans persepctive. It's 2009 and we are CELEBRATING our First African American President of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!! It's time for the RACIST remarks to END, and people to start seeing ALL races, ALL people as human being and judge NO ONE for he/she be judged. WAKE UP PEOPLE! When will we start seeing the Positve in people instead of looking for something negative, or racist to say. And lastly, what makes you think that Michelle's middle name is Shaniqua? GROW UP! There's a NEW AFRICAN AMERICAN SHERIFF IN WASHINGTON! If you don't like it leave the Country! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Posted by: sdouglas-green | January 9, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I am appalled by the comments made by Diannne721. Leave the ignorant racial remarks to yourself. Grow up and find something more meaningful to put in print that people would find insightful to read.

Posted by: msharris116 | January 9, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

hey sdouglas-green, now that an African American has been elected President, it is time for the African to be dropped and just be known as Americans. You have arrived. No more playing the race card, no more playing the victim.

Posted by: grunderpup | January 9, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

grunderpup
and Mexican-Americans; Asian-Americans;Greek-Americans and others are playing the "race card". I think not.
It is pride in their heritage that they use the term.
You are the one playing the "race card" here.

Posted by: katerinaDeligiannis | January 9, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

The reason Obama was chosen was because all the blacks and 65%f mexicans voted for him and may be a few whites.Obama had his lawyers cross Hand only his name was there.Then Obama had his Hillarys name off the list of those.

Posted by: flemingd13 | January 10, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Baloney, katerinaDeligiannis.
Think melting pot.
All hyphenated Americans will never be equal until they become "only" Americans.

Posted by: grunderpup | January 11, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Quite the contrary, I have reason to believe that Oprah will be in attendance. I guess will have to see on Sunday night. It's predicted to be one of the most incredible event of this inaugural season.

Posted by: jhawks20 | January 11, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Oprah should be there, Obama can go if he wants... but I won't be there. Shoot.

And if he does go, give the kid an interview.

Posted by: ahumesbz | January 12, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Just a quick correction/update - the article advocating that Pres. Elect Obama allow 10 year old Damon Weaver to interview him is at:
http://www.theroot.com/views/barack-sit-down-damon.

The other link did not work.

Posted by: mizzy1 | January 12, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I didn't vote for Obama, but he was elected and is the POTUS. He deserves to party with whoever/where ever he and his family chooses. Barack Obama is now my President and I hope for the same level of candor and quality from the rest of the country that he is showing.

God Bless America.

Posted by: wyattpittman | January 12, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: flemingd13wtf are you sayinhg? it makes no sense whatsoever. There are areas of this country that are WHITE and Obama won in many of those states.
All hyphenated Americans will never be equal until they become "only" Americans.

Posted by: grunderpup
I know that America is a "melting pot" of many nationalities. I believe we are "egual" without abandoning our Heritage. Whi died and made you hall moniter? Cannot be equal until we become "only Americas"? That is baloney. We are Americans if born here or become a citizen. That, in and of itself, makes us "EQUAL!

Posted by: katerinaDeligiannis | January 13, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

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