Stedman, aka ‘Oprah's man,’ inspires TAF Academy students

Stedman Graham asks TAF Academy ninth-grader Fartun Mohamed a question during his motivational speech to the school on Tuesday. - PHOTO COURTESY OF DEB STENBERG
Stedman Graham asks TAF Academy ninth-grader Fartun Mohamed a question during his motivational speech to the school on Tuesday.

Stedman Graham told TAF Academy students on Tuesday that he had humble beginnings, wasn’t a great student and only really pushed himself through college to prove to the grocer down the road that he wasn’t too stupid for college.

He played basketball, well enough to play through college, then played in Europe for a while before getting a job in the prison system for five years. Then he moved to Chicago and met a woman. You may have heard of her: Oprah Winfrey.

“It’s tough to be in a relationship with a very powerful woman,” Graham said. “They put me in a box as ‘Oprah’s man.’ But it’s not how the world defines you, it’s how you define yourself.”

Graham spoke to the 190 TAF Academy students in grades six through 10 about how it is important to know who you are. He asked close to a dozen students to explain who they were. Whenever they thought they had summed themselves up properly, he quickly asked them, “And?”

“When you don’t know who you are, you can’t become a co-creator,” Graham said. “99 percent of people don’t know who they are.”

Graham was at the school as a motivational speaker while promoting a program, “My Life is About,” which he developed for success, based off of his book “Teens Can Make It Happen.”

Graham said he wrote the book after not being able to find it anywhere else.

“I’ve been looking for this kind of information and freedom all my life,” Graham said. “We’re held back by this programming.”

One of the main things Graham reiterated to the students was the importance of reading and education. He admitted he wasn’t much of student during his early years, but he now spends much of his time reading. His girlfriend of over 20 years, Oprah Winfrey, has also bettered herself through education.

“She was abused as a young girl,” he said. “The only thing that got her out of there was an education.”

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates