Oprah Addresses N-Word Controversy: ‘You Cannot Be My Friend and Use That Word’

It seems the subject of discrimination is more important than ever in 2013. Between the Trayvon Martin movement, the retelling of Oscar Grant’s tragic story in Fruitvale and the progression/setbacks in gay rights, people are more invested in how they are viewed by others, including celebrities.

Later this year, media juggernaut Oprah Winfrey will return to the silver screen in The Butler- the story of a black man who serves multiple presidents as a servant. While discussing her role with Parade Magazine, the former TV host opened up about the N-word and why its usage never sits well with her.

“You cannot be my friend and use that word around me. It shows my age, but I feel strongly about it. … I always think of the millions of people who heard that as their last word as they were hanging from a tree.”

She also dishes on how the film will portray black people as different than any other film.

“It’s a story many have not seen with black people in these roles, because usually we’re one extreme or another. But to see that we are people who love our children, who have the same aspirations as everybody else—I just love that.”