Helen Buyniski is an American journalist and political commentator at RT. Follow her on Twitter @velocirapture23
Billionaire media mogul Oprah Winfrey has bankrolled 26 billboards in Louisville calling for the police officers who shot Breonna Taylor to be charged. Like too many “saying her name,” though, Winfrey’s campaign reeks of grift.
Winfrey began deploying the billboards on Thursday – one for each of the 26 years of Taylor’s life – and they are expected to be in place by Monday. The displays read “Demand that the police involved in killing Breonna Taylor be arrested and charged” and feature a link to UntilFreedom.com, a “racial justice organization” founded by Women’s March co-founders Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour, hip-hop artist Mysonne Linen, and civil rights lawyer Angelo Pinto.
The TV billionaire has jumped onto the Breonna Taylor bandwagon with both feet, also featuring the slain black woman on the front cover of her O Magazine for September – the first time in over two decades the publication has featured anyone other than Winfrey herself on its cover. The cover photo is the same image as the one appearing on the Louisville billboards, which also feature a giant “O” Oprah Magazine logo, facilitating maximum brand recognition.
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Taylor was infamously shot by Louisville police as she lay in bed in the early hours of March 13 as officers served a ‘no-knock’ warrant, supposedly looking for drugs – even though the dealer they suspected of using the apartment as a stash house was already locked up. The cops’ failure to identify themselves as they broke into the apartment led Taylor’s boyfriend to shoot at what he thought were burglars. The officers fired back, hitting Taylor eight times and killing her. While the Louisville City Council unanimously voted to ban the controversial no-knock warrants that led to her death in June, the police responsible were only recently fired and still haven’t been charged with her murder.
Taylor’s tragic death – as well as the failure to punish those responsible – has become a cause célèbre among the Black Lives Matter movement and the parade of grifters operating in its midst. Despite her billions, Winfrey hasn’t hesitated to recast herself as a victim of discrimination amid the racial reckoning which has roiled the US over the past three months following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. She launched a new series on Apple TV+ in July called ‘The Oprah Conversation’, devoted to castigating her white audience for their supposed racism and encouraging her black audience to blame white people for their problems.
Guests like former NFL player Emmanuel Acho and bestselling “antiracist” author Ibram X. Kendi have joined her on the show to push her divisive message. In last week’s episode with Acho, Winfrey declared “the system of white people” was responsible for keeping black people off “the ladder of success.” No matter how poor a white person might be, the TV personality stated, “you still have your whiteness.”
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Unsurprisingly, a woman whose net worth is north of $ 2.6 billion lecturing white people about their privilege didn’t go over very well – Winfrey was excoriated for her tone-deafness on social media, and even by some in the mainstream media. The Taylor billboard campaign would be an easy distraction from her pushing her victim act a little too hard down her adoring public’s throat – after all, who can fault a billionaire using their money to demand justice for a young woman murdered in her bed by police?
Winfrey is far from the only celebrity virtue-signaling over Taylor’s body – well-heeled opportunists from actress-turned-royal Meghan Markle to the entire NBA have deployed her name as a virtue-signaling talisman. Until Freedom, too, is going all in on Taylor. The New York-based group announced earlier this week they would move their entire team to Louisville to organize “day in day out” until those responsible for her death were held accountable. Co-founders Sarsour and Mallory were booted off the Women’s March board last year, supposedly for “antisemitism,” over their refusal to distance themselves from controversial Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Who wouldn’t benefit from a little whitewashing under the aegis of Black Lives Matter?
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