Let's Talk About Oprah's (Awesome) Hair

Diana Ross, You Just Got Served

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I have basically one indelible memory from the April 17, 2000 launch party for O, The Oprah Magazine: the moment Diana Ross arrived. Everything else is a blur.
The new issue of O is triggering memories for former staffer Simon Dumenco
The new issue of O is triggering memories for former staffer Simon Dumenco

I was at the party because, during the preceding five months, I'd served as consulting executive editor at the magazine -- I was a hands-on launch consultant, basically -- and I needed a drink. Many drinks. (It was an exhausting launch.)

In addition to O mag staffers, Oprah's famous friends and assorted media-world grandees packed the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. I should state here that since I'm a longtime New Yorker, my default mode upon encountering celebrities is a certain blasé stance.

But when Ms. Ross entered the room, she took over the room. Everybody -- including me -- turned and gawked, in large part because her hair was done up in a giant afro that, from a distance, seemed to be floating through the room, just above the heads of us mere mortals, like the Goodyear blimp.

Ms. Ross had arrived, and briefly put Oprah in context. Oprah was and is very famous, but in person she's actually very normal and approachable; she was just, you know, my boss for awhile.

But Ms. Ross and her hair -- damn. The Queen of Motown, the living legend, was in the house, y'all!

Fast-forward to right now. The main coverline of the just-released September issue of O magazine is "Let's Talk About Hair!" The cover photo shows Oprah wearing an afro so big it deserves its own zip code. It's so epic, so awesome, that it's actually making me question my memory of the epicness and awesomeness of Diana Ross' afro from 13 years ago.

Well played, Oprah. Well played.

Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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