Commentary: Time is up … it is time for us to get free

Oprah Winfrey

Commentary: Time is up … it is time for us to get free
January 19
16:26 2018

By Micha James

Oprah Winfrey, “Ofrah” as pronounced by my grandmother, has been an icon in my family since the mid-1980s. She has been my homegirl in my head ever since I spotted her and Stedman getting in the car as I was passing Dr. Maya Angelou’s house in my elementary school bus.

After viewing her acceptance speech as the first black woman to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 75th Golden Globes, she has since been upgraded to my bestie.

I have listened to the speech at least 13 times, and I feel something different each time. What I felt when I initially listened and what also prompted me to write this was relief. The sassiness, power, assuredness, strength and ability in her tone was no different than what I remember hearing on the “Oprah Winfrey Show” or even what I hear now on “Super Soul Sunday”; but it was the spirit in which she articulated, “But their time is up …” and the spirits of those in the room applauding that shifted my being.

I began 2018 by participating in the “7 Days of Defining Moments” exercise; a resource for “The Power of Moments” written by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. Day 4 was where I was to “deepen a tie with a friend or family member by going beyond small talk to discuss a struggle I am facing at work or home.” I chose to deepen the tie with my mother and confess to her my plan to seek therapy. After writing my last piece, I have had to face the psychological impact of the recent encounter with the man who molested me, along with the health of my father, who has issues with addiction.

I have been focused on helping others for so long but am failing myself by suppressing the thoughts, triggers and situations that have molded me into the woman I am today. Time is up … it is time for us to get free. It is time to stop hiding behind shame, the shadows of bullies and our past so we can get free. I agree with Bestie Oprah in that, “Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have,” but it does not happen without sacrifice and consequence. Do not let the consequences stop you from reclaiming the time Auntie Maxine Waters obtained for us last year.

We should know by now how powerful women are and the Alabama Senate race was yet another example of what happens when black women work their magic. Release your power, ladies. Continue to stand in solidarity, speak your truths, seek help and get free. Their time is up, our time is now and I, too, live for the dawning of the day when “Nobody ever has to say ‘me too’ again.”

Micha James is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University who works as a health care advocate by day and a volunteer in a variety of capacities by night. She can be reached via

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