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Winfrey's Greenleaf delves into church

Associated Press Associated Press 14/06/2016

ATLANTA June 15 AP - Oprah Winfrey wanted to deliver a story revolving around one of the biggest institutions in the African-American community: The Black Church.

In her new dramatic series Greenleaf, Winfrey believes she's accomplished that goal. The show, which premieres June 21 on Winfrey's OWN network, explores the flawed nature of the first family of a sprawling Memphis, Tennessee, megachurch where lies, adultery and scandal consume a house of worship.

Winfrey assures the 13-episode series isn't an attack on black churches, which the media mogul called her "foundation" and "hope for the future" growing up.

"These are stories that are reflective on our life," said Winfrey, who is the executive producer and plays the role of Mavis McCready, an outspoken bar owner she calls the "high priestess" of the neighbourhood. The character, she says, is based on her late friend and mentor Maya Angelou. This is Winfrey's first recurring role on a scripted TV show since the 1989 ABC miniseries "Women of Brewster Place."

"I lived in the church," Winfrey said. "Preachers were heroes for me. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realised preachers are real people. That some preachers are ordained by God. While others are kind of, maybe not."

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