Oprah delivers big surprise to Atlanta fans

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Gay Atlanta men love to throw a house party. Some have lifeguards. Others have drag queens. Maybe even a political hopeful or two. But Oprah? Not until Sunday. 

So yeah, Imara Canady – a City Hall staffer for former Mayor Shirley Franklin turned community activist – now owns bragging rights for the biggest get of all for house parties. 

Via the AJC:

Dressed in a simple black T-shirt over a white long-sleeved shirt, Winfrey just walked in, plopped down in front of the television and watched – just like everyone else.

“It never was like it was anybody else but a wonderful person who decided to come share the evening with us,” Canady said. “I never felt like my house wasn't good enough or clean enough. She came just like everybody came.”

But she was also funny, took selfies, tweeted and carried on meaningful discussions about the show.


Big surprise at @icanady watch party. Epic night. #Belief. So much more to come.

A photo posted by Oprah (@oprah) on Oct 18, 2015 at 7:11pm PDT


Canady was screening the premiere of “Belief” for about 50 friends. Winfrey created the seven-part series to explore faith from different perspectives. Canady was involved in discussions about how to best use the series to spark dialogue, according to the AJC, but didn't expect that those conversations with Winfrey would lead to the megastar crashing his party. He got a heads up about an hour ahead of Winfrey's arrival.

Via the AJC:

“We kept it a surprise to all the guests,” Canady said. “Then during a commercial break she knocked on the door and I introduced her to the room. They went nuts!”

Winfrey was in Atlanta for production on the OWN/Lionsgate project “Greenleaf.” On Monday, she popped into Rathbun's to live-tweet another installment of “Belief.” And get pics snapped with fans.

UPDATE | We talked with Canady on Wednesday, who called to stress that the event was more about engaging discussion over “Belief” and the topics it raises than a mogul visiting his home. 

“It was a gathering that truly celebrated the divesity of Atlanta that happened to include a mix of individuals from the gay community, cultural diversity, age diversity. That's what was so special to me about it. It really was a diverse room,” Canady said. 

“Oftentimes, we don't have opportunities to celebrate when people of diverse backgrounds come together for one common purpose,” he added.

UPDATE II | The post has been revised to remove a mention and photo of a fan that Winfrey met at a second event, on Monday, who did not want to be identified.




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