Like many Americans, celebrities celebrated this past Fourth of July by spending time with family and friends. However, this was no ordinary Independence Day. Following the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, many A-listers took the opportunity to share their anger and frustration at the landmark ruling and to question the true meaning of American independence. Katy Perry, for example, tweeted that “Women in the US have fewer rights than a real sparkler,” while Jessica Chastain gave the holiday two middle fingers and tweeted, “Happy ‘Independence’ Day from me and my reproductive rights.” Other outspoken celebs were Madonna, who encouraged her fans to “start a revolution,” and Lizzo, who vowed to donate all proceeds from her Yitty shapewear line to the National Network of Abortion Funds over the weekend.
Not all chose to get political, however, opting instead to keep the focus on their loved ones. Michelle Obama, for example, celebrated daughter Malia Obama’s 24th birthday with a sweet Instagram tribute, while Oprah Winfrey decided to invent a brand new holiday in honor of her father, Vernon Winfrey. As she shared on Instagram in a video shot by BFF Gayle King, she made July 4th Vernon Winfrey Appreciation Day and invited all of his close family and friends to celebrate it. However, the reason for the special party was a bittersweet one.
Oprah’s special surprise for her father
Oprah is incredibly close to her father, Vernon Winfrey, and credits him for her success. As The Washington Post reported in 1986, Vernon—a hairstylist, church deacon, and elected city councilman in Nashville, Tennessee—was a life-changing influence on his daughter. As a teenager, Oprah acted up and even ran away from home. When she was 14, her mother, Vernita Lee, sent her to live with her father. His strict approach to parenting soon put her on the right track and pushed her to do better. “If I hadn’t been sent to live with my father, I would have gone in a different direction. I could have made a good criminal,” Oprah told the outlet. “He saved me.” It’s a sentiment she shared with People in 2021, saying it was Vernon who “made the difference between being who I am now and someone you never, ever heard of.” .
And so the talk show legend decided to celebrate her Fourth of July pops by throwing him a surprise backyard BBQ party. “My dad is ill so we wanted all of his friends to come and celebrate him while he can receive the joy,” she explained on Instagram. Though she didn’t elaborate on his illness, she shared that the menu of the day included fried chicken, burgers and brisket, and encouraged others to make the most of every moment with loved ones. “Remember to celebrate each other,” she wrote.