Refresh for updates… Oprah Winfrey, who co-produced and starred in the 1998 feature adaptation of Toni Morrison’s Beloved and was one of Morrison’s most devoted admirers, has added her voice to those mourning the author today.
“In the beginning was the Word,” writes Winfrey on Instagram. “Toni Morrison took the word and turned it into a Song…of Solomon, of Sula, Beloved, Mercy, Paradise Love, and more. She was our conscience. Our seer. Our truth-teller. She was a magician with language, who understood the Power of words. She used them to roil us, to wake us, to educate us and help us grapple with our deepest wounds and try to comprehend them. It is exhilarating and life-enhancing every time I read and share her work…She was Empress-Supreme among writers. Long may her WORDS reign!”
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Winfrey featured four of Morrison’s novels as selections of the talk show host’s influential Book Club: Sula, The Bluest Eye, Paradise and Song of Solomon.
Morrison, the towering author whose classic work explored identity, race and the black female experience, was remembered today by Hollywood, politicians and media figures as both an influence and an unrivaled guide.
“Toni Morrison was a national treasure,” tweeted former President Barack Obama, who presented Morrison with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012, “as good a storyteller, as captivating, in person as she was on the page. Her writing was a beautiful, meaningful challenge to our conscience and our moral imagination. What a gift to breathe the same air as her, if only for a while.”
“She made me understand ‘writer’ was a fine profession,” tweeted Shondaland producer Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal). “I grew up wanting to be only her. Dinner with her was a night I will never forget. Rest, Queen.”
Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts tweeted, “’Something that is loved is never lost’…encouraging words from the beloved author #ToniMorrison that we can surely use today. So sad to hear of the passing of the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Her legacy will live on through those who were impacted by her powerful and unique voice.”
See those and tweets from Wendell Pierce, Vivica A. Fox and Dan Rather, among others, below.
In the passing of Toni Morrison, we lost one of our greatest voices & storytellers. Holding close those touched by her being & her gift. Her work gave us power, hope & freedom. While our world shines a little less bright today, we know "something that is loved is never lost."
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) August 6, 2019
“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”
I cannot imagine growing up in a world without her words. I pray you rest In Peace and in Power.
We will celebrate you with endless gratitude and love. Always.
— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) August 6, 2019
Toni Morrison was a national treasure, as good a storyteller, as captivating, in person as she was on the page. Her writing was a beautiful, meaningful challenge to our conscience and our moral imagination. What a gift to breathe the same air as her, if only for a while. pic.twitter.com/JG7Jgu4p9t
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 6, 2019
She made me understand“writer” was a fine profession. I grew up wanting to be only her. Dinner with her was a night I will never forget. Rest, Queen. “Toni Morrison, seminal author who stirringly chronicled the Black American experience, dies” https://t.co/S6qxix5OCj
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) August 6, 2019
Thank you Toni Morrison. Beloved is indispensable to my understanding of America. We are grateful.
— rob delaney (@robdelaney) August 6, 2019
Our American story has lost a singular and courageous voice. Toni Morrison had to overcome the founding prejudices of her nation to claim a rightful place among the greats of American letters. The brilliance of her mind and spirit will live on in her words. May she rest in peace.
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) August 6, 2019
GM Dawlings. My #TuesTestimony is in salute to #ToniMorrison who passed away 2day. LUVS her quote "If you want to fly you have to give up the things that weigh you down" This QUEEN left us with so many gifts and was… https://t.co/STBNghZu6V
— Vivica A. Fox (@MsVivicaFox) August 6, 2019
Oh no…no no no…
Toni Morrison made me fall in love with words-she used them with greater skill and artistry than anyone I've ever read. She was to writing what Aretha was to music. Those who were lucky enough to know or meet her I'm so sorry & so envious. She was everything. https://t.co/vS7dY1ThAa
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) August 6, 2019
As she makes her way to her final place of rest, of being, in this new and mysterious way, let us embrace her genius and celebrate our ancestor #ToniMorrison, whose literary light and love gave us breathing room and unconquerable affirmation of our uniquely beautiful blackness.
— Michael Eric Dyson (@MichaelEDyson) August 6, 2019
"You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down." — Toni Morrison
A lesson for each of us. A lesson for our country. She may be gone, but her writing, her resolve, and her grace will live on forever.
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) August 6, 2019
Toni penned LIFE! Her written word and directions are a roadmap to freedom. Your wings are guaranteed each time you pick up her book.. you will fly free and meet her in that freedom. Rest well great freedom giver! You all go revisit and take flight with Toni Morrison. Fly high!
— Paul Mooney (@PaulEalyMooney) August 6, 2019
To lose Toni Morrison is terrible enough. But to lose her right now, at this time, makes it immeasurably harder.
Long live the words and wisdom of one of the most important writers of all time. #RipToniMorrison
— Amber Tamblyn (@ambertamblyn) August 6, 2019
“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”
Holding all those touched by Toni Morrison in my heart today. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/2jkAvtaErK
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) August 6, 2019
Today, the world lost a storyteller of unmatched empathy, elegance and power. Toni Morrison’s belief that language is the “measure of our lives” leaves an extraordinary, inspiring inheritance, and her beautiful writing will continue to be a blessing for generations to come. pic.twitter.com/cc3st7x2lM
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) August 6, 2019