When Oprah was on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert a couple of weeks ago, a dude “ambushed” her and told her he was her son while she was signing autographs outside of the theater. (The Daily Mail has pictures of that if you want to see it.) Oprah probably hears that a lot. I mean, if I ever see her in public, I’m going to run up to her while screaming, “Auntie O, it’s my birthday,” hoping that she’d hug me before giving me a stack of money as a present. But the guy who ambushed her is someone she knows and tried to help decades ago.
After The National Enquirer ran a story about how The Mighty O heartlessly abandoned her “secret son,” she gave her side of the story to Entertainment Tonight. Oprah says that she met Calvin Mitchell in 1992 while she was shooting the TV movie There Are No Children Here in Chicago. Oprah was sitting on set during a break when teenage Calvin came up to her and gave her a soda. They got to talking and Calvin told her that his mom didn’t have a job and they were living in the projects. Oprah decided that she wanted to help Calvin and his family, so she moved them out of the projects and helped his mother find a job. Oprah also enrolled Calvin in a private school, but she was later told by the principal that he was skipping class.
Oprah and her longtime piece Stedman Graham visited Calvin at his house to ask him why he wasn’t going to school. Calvin’s family told Oprah that they weren’t getting up in time to take him. Oprah noticed that they didn’t have one clock in the house, so she and Stedman went to KMart and bought them a bunch. Oprah taught them how to set the alarm so they’d get up in time to take Calvin to school.
Calvin was later expelled from that private school. Oprah talked to Calvin and told him she was going to give him a second chance. She figured that maybe if she moved Calvin from the “environment he was accustomed to growing up,” he’d do better. So she put him in a boarding school. Calvin quit that boarding school, because he didn’t think the teachers liked him. Oprah then sat Calvin down and gave him one of her signature “You’re trying my last goddamn nerve” talks:
“I said, ‘Calvin, this is the moment. This is a seminal moment for you. I know you are 16 and can’t see the road ahead, but if you leave this school and refuse to get an education — I have tried to offer you an education twice — there isn’t another school I can put you in. If you leave this school, I am done. There is nothing else I can do.’ … And that was my last conversation with Calvin in the early ’90s.”
Oprah didn’t immediately recognize grown-up Calvin when he came up to her outside of The Late Show. Oprah says she knew something was up, because The National Enquirer just asked her for a comment about her secret son. Calvin wanted to talk her. She couldn’t talk then, but asked one of her minions to get his number. Oprah later found out that it was just a set up for his interview with The Enquirer. Oprah, who says she never tried to adopt him, has no interest in speaking to him again. DAMN. My face is frozen now, because I felt that chill. She also says that Calvin inspired her to open up her school in South Africa.
“I learned from that experience, if you really want to change somebody’s life, you gotta be able to spend enough time with them to change the way they think about what their life can be. It isn’t enough to give a person a new life or money or a new car, you have to teach them how to fish themselves.”
Well, Calvin really fucked up and I bet he wants to get into Bill & Ted’s time machine so he can go back to the early 90s and slap the hell out of his teenage self. If he would’ve stayed in school and gotten really, really close to Oprah, he could’ve spilled her secrets in a multi-million dollar tell-all! That’s how you properly sell someone out. Now, he has to settle for coins from The National Enquirer. How dreadful.