Why Oprah points to Australia as a beacon of social change

Oprah Winfrey attends the European Premiere of <i>A Wrinkle In Time'</i> in London.

Oprah Winfrey attends the European Premiere of A Wrinkle In Time' in London. Photo: Getty

From Time’s Up to Enough is Enough, Oprah Winfrey is looking to take social change movements global and believes young people have a key role to play.

The talk show queen and businesswoman made headlines around the world with her rousing Me Too speech at the Golden Globes in January.

Such was the response she was urged to run for US president in 2020, only to dismiss the suggestion a short time later.

Now she wants to put the spotlight on students who are protesting for gun law reform in the US and says they are looking to Australia for inspiration.

“We see what’s happening with our young people who have said ‘enough is enough’,” she told ABC News Breakfast.

“And they’re using Australia as an example of how things can change when people decide that they want to make life better for other people.

“You had the shootings and then changed the laws and haven’t had one since.

“I think it’s a good time to be alive, for people to find their own warriors within and take charge of what really matters to all of us.”

Winfrey features in the new Disney fantasy blockbuster A Wrinkle In Time, which tells the story of a girl of colour who goes on an epic hero’s quest.

With themes of fate, identity and female empowerment, Winfrey said it was the “right moment, right time in the zeitgeist” for its release.

The film is based on the classic 1962 book, and the adaptation is led by director Ava DuVernay, who previously directed the Martin Luther King Jr biopic, Selma.

DuVernay said she was drawn to telling the Wrinkle In Time story and giving a new generation of young girls a different sort of sci-fi hero to look up to.

“To bring it to life cinematically right now, I think it speaks to a lot of ideas about women and girls that we’re talking about in society,” she said.

“I so, so wanted the characterisation of Meg as a girl of colour, as a hero of her own journey to exist in the world.

“We never see girls at the centre of these sci-fi, fantasy spectacles.

Never Ending Story or Lord Of The Rings or Avatar – you know, a girl at the centre with no superpowers, just a human girl.”

Winfrey said she was now talking to other women in the Time’s Up movement to take the campaign global and look beyond just show business.

The movement has already spawned other versions around the world, including in Australia this week where stars launched the NOW campaign.

“There are conversations with the Time’s Up women about how we move this into a global environment and not just confined to the United States and not just confined to what’s happening in Hollywood,” she said.

For DuVernay, there is still work to be done in her own industry.

“There’s some shifts. There are some things that are trends. There’s some moments. But that’s not change,” she said.

“Change is deeply rooted. It’s systemic. It’s when something moves and does not go back, and I don’t think we’re there yet.

“But I feel like we’re at the precipice of it and we’re at a place where it’s highly possible.”

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