Gloria Mayfield Banks Built a Multimillion-dollar Platform, Didn’t Allow Dyslexia and Domestic Violence be “The End” to Her Story


“Oprah’s bigger than life.”

Q. I want to talk about your sit down with Oprah. When you set down with her, what was that experience like for you?

A. Oprah’s bigger than life. I mean, I don’t know what it’s like to be her, but she’s bigger than life. This is what I loved about being with Oprah. I was talking about empowering women and girls when we set down to talk, and the young woman who we were celebrating was one of her daughters from South Africa. When she finished talking Karl, I told my friends, “She’s going to be president of the world.” Not the United States. I said this girl was going to be president of the world. I was so impressed with her.

And what I loved about Oprah was she wasn’t trying to hold her daughter back. She wasn’t trying to hold her down. She didn’t tell her she couldn’t handle it. It was awesome.

Q. Something we touched on earlier was the state of the black community today. While I have been able to experience people from all walks of life and I’m able to be transparent with everybody, it is still important for me to see other people that look like me who are doing well and who are very strong and positive figures in the black community.

That’s obviously what you are. How important do you feel it is for people in the black community, especially young people, to see strong, educated, professional and successful black men and women living a life of success?

A. When you were talking, I was thinking about what word would be more powerful than “critical.” I think it’s critical and it goes back to what I said about not being able to become what you can’t visualize for yourself. When people walk up to me and say they want to be just like me, I say “No, I need you to be better than me.”

My job is to encourage you to be better than me. It’s just something in your soul when you see one of you do the same thing.

I remember being with a really great friend of mine and she’s a very powerful and successful white woman. She has some of the most amazing African-American women on her team. She told me that she doesn’t see black and white. She sees everyone together. But, what I had to tell her is that we’re not just alike. That doesn’t mean we want to be seen as less than though. It’s not about being seen as less than or more than. I told her that I just wanted her to embrace our differences. We don’t listen to the same music. We don’t eat the same food. We don’t like the same jokes. We have different cultures and that’s okay. She has a different culture and it’s okay. That’s beautiful. But, for you to see me as you, that’s not being realistic because it’s not the truth.


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