Prince Harry & Meghan are ‘friends’ with some of Oprah’s favorite self-help gurus

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex react as they leave after their visit to Canada House in thanks for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada, in London on January 7, 202

There is so much racism and just *insanity* targeted at the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, it didn’t even seem important to point out the dumbf–kery of the British media’s obsession with Oprah’s connection to the Sussexes. The British media would have their readership believe that Harry and Meghan are being guided by Oprah in all things, that Oprah is their mentor and that if H&M know anyone in LA, it’s because Oprah introduced them. It’s more than possible that Oprah has taken an interest in the Sussexes in general, but the application of Oprah’s name to every Sussex story is hilarious and vaguely racist, playing into the “all black people know each other” stereotype. Plus, it discounts the fact that Meghan and Harry know tons of people on their own. So, here we go.

Oprah Winfrey seems to be playing an integral role in helping Prince Harry and Meghan Markle settle into their new life in America. First, the legendary talk show host may have set them up in Tyler Perry’s mansion, and now it looks like she’s introducing them to all her friends, like self-help guru Brené Brown.

For their first joint appearance from their new Santa Barbara home, the royal couple spoke with the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, a group set up to “champion, fund and connect young leaders who are working hard to change the world,” about how the digital world can be used for good. During the conversation, CEO of The Man Cave, Hunter Johnson, quoted Brown, saying, “Vulnerability brings connection and connection is why we are here. It brings meaning and it brings purpose to our lives.” Johnson also brought up Tristan Hunter, the co-founder of the Centre for Humane Technology, who urges the tech industry to address “the broader societal threats that the attention economy poses to our well-being, relationships, democracy, and shared information environment.”

Prince Harry enthusiastically responded to Johnson, “I love the fact you’re quoting Brené Brown and also bringing up Tristan Harris because they are two people we absolutely adore as well and that we know.” Meghan added, “We love them!”

Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston and best-selling author of numerous self-help books. She became widely known thanks to her 2010 TED Talk, “The power of vulnerability,” and, in 2013, she was interviewed by Oprah in a two-part Super Soul Sunday episode. Since then, the pair have remained close friends and collaborators, regularly appearing on the OWN Network in conversation. In 2018, Brown wrote that she is, “so grateful for what Oprah Winfrey has taught me and continues to teach me.”

[From Vanity Fair]

See, to me, the story is not “Oprah introduced H&M to her guru friends.” The story is that Harry & Meghan are friends with self-help gurus. In Finding Freedom, one of the most ominous parts of their courtship was when Meghan gave Harry a book about “mindfulness” and he read it and became some kind of mindfulness convert. I know I’m cynical as hell, and I’m not trying to convert people to my cynicism. People may genuinely find help and inspiration in what Brene Brown says and I’m not discounting that. But I do find all of this stuff vaguely Goopy and false, and it has nothing to do with Oprah. It’s about self-styled gurus peddling trendy watchwords and rebranded philosophical and spiritual ideologies which are appropriated and disconnected from their actual roots. So much of this sh-t is just “rebranded Hinduism” and “rebranded Buddhism.” Oprah is Oprah, and we’ve known about her love of gurus and self-help motivators for decades. That works for her. But for the Sussexes, it’s kind of a weird Goop-adjacent look. Just my opinion!

Speaking of Oprah introducing them to people, someone in the Sussex camp slipped a story to People several days ago about how grateful they were to Tyler Perry for lending them his mansion. A source said: “They’re really grateful to Tyler Perry for his kindness. They have endless gratitude to him for helping them during a complicated time. With COVID and as they were stepping back from their royal duties, he provided them a safe haven.” I guess that’s for all of the stories about how much Harry hated LA and he didn’t think Perry’s mansion was his style.

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40 Responses to “Prince Harry & Meghan are ‘friends’ with some of Oprah’s favorite self-help gurus”

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  1. JennyJenny says:

    As long as it’s not Dr. Phil!!

    • Myra says:

      Oprah has endorsed a lot of these quacks (lmao). It’s the one (and only) thing I hold against her. She gave so many of them a platform they don’t deserve

      • sara says:

        Dr Phil (and dr oz) were respected in their fields when Oprah gave them a platform. It’s not Oprah’s fault they both sold out to make more money and fame.

  2. Sunshine says:

    Brené Brown wrote an article in Meghan’s Vogue last year. So these people are very late to the party and incorrect in their assumptions. I just listened to Oprah’s most recent podcast with BB and she said she only just met her recently through friends.

  3. A says:

    This seems right up both their allies. I guess as long as they’re disinfecting their jade eggs and vaccinating their kid it’s none of my business.

  4. OriginalLala says:

    The Tig had a self-help, mindfulness, sometimes-veering-into-woo woo vibe.. Meghan’s been interested in this kind of thing for a while, but of course the racist media thinks Oprah plays fairy godmother to all black celebrities.

    • Flamingo says:

      The Tig did have a lot of woo woo, goopy posts. This is nothing new and honestly like half of the people I know in LA are into this. I have a good friend who has a shaman and spends her vacations at bikram retreats and it’s quite normal in her circle.

      • OriginalLala says:

        I’m a huge fan of meditation, it’s helped me so so much, but I’m really not a fan of the commodification of it all, especially the self-styled white, super rich “gurus” that abound in the West.

  5. MarcelMarcel says:

    Some of this is the racist trope of ‘black people automatically being friends’. And some of it is outrage about Megan stemming from misogynoir- how dare a BiPoc womxn successfully network with people to achieve her goals?! How dare she navigate the world without relying on white gatekeepers who used the press to bully her?! How dare she find romantic fulfilment with a white man who chose their relationship over a white institution. Different day same flavour of misogynoir.
    Imagine if these bigots focused on their own dreams & aspirations instead of punishing Meghan for existing.

  6. pasdesmots says:

    Good lord, can’t get why people are listening to any of these wacky ppl, still there are so many intelligent folks who fall for them …gurus….but well, just my opinion.
    I hope H&M do not get too involved with these kind of people

    • hmpy says:

      Brown isn’t a guru, she’s a respected researcher. A lot of the mindfulness stuff being peddled right now is actually coming straight from psychology research (for instance yoga and meditation are genuinely found to help with several conditions), it is just packaged funny sometimes.

      • EEMM says:

        I came here to say the same thing. Brene Brown does a ton of really good work starting with her research. The reason she is popular is because so many people resonate with the wisdom that has come from this research. I recommend her books to everyone and you can get those through the library and not pay a thing.

  7. Sam the Pink says:

    I mean, if you read the Tig, yeah – Meghan has always kind of been like this. Which is fine.

    It is hypocritical, though, because the same British press that will lambast Meghan for this will not mention it about Charles – who has always been a booster for alternative medicine and “new age” things as well. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, but not in this instance.

  8. Sunnee says:

    I’m not sure why the thought here is “mindfulness” practice is strange or “woo-woo”. I’m in a field with high worker burnout and part of the self-care that our job pays for is mindfulness Training. I love it. Mindfulness is about getting rid of the “noise” that clutter our everyday existence that drowns out our awareness. My takeaway was that it teaches us to take the time to be introspective, to live in each moment, to be grateful, to be patient with ourselves, to practice self care, to listen to our bodies and ultimately to let go And not perseverate on the experiences that have harmed us. It is about prioritizing our mental health.

    • Jules says:

      I agree that mindfulness and meditation are all good. But it’s the selling of it, and making oneself into a guru, that corrupts it.

      • pasdesmots says:

        This!

      • Chica says:

        This is a slippery slope “the selling of it” bc a lot of mindfulness stuff is out for the world to see for free. Also some of these things being sold become products to sell bc the way in which it’s delivered is palatable to particular audiences. Why should someone who spends a year writing about their experience with the practice and hours spent conducting the research then put this tool out for others to be able to interpret and apply for free?

        We all pay for education.

      • Frida_K says:

        Thank you, @Chica!

        Yes, and it’s also emotional labor to be present for someone who wants/needs healing and support. A person who takes the time to learn healing arts deserves compensation for their study and knowledge and the learning they impart. As you note, that is something that has value and is worth something.

        If it’s in-person and/or ongoing, the practitioner also deserves to be compensated for the emotional labor cost of holding space for an injured person’s breakdowns, breakthroughs, and healing.

        And let’s not forget things like rent and other overhead–that is another cost to add to education, time, and presence.

        If there is hands-on treatment, the cost to the practitioner in bones, joints, tendons, and other soft tissue also factors into the equation.

        People don’t realize what it takes to be genuinely excellent at some of these non-standard/not allopathic modalities. And especially if it’s performed by a woman, the unconscious thought that women are natural healers, naturally nurturing, and don’t require compensation, not really, does also have an impact on the value (or lack thereof) placed on the service.

        Healing is an exchange. If the patient gives nothing in return, then eventually the healer is sucked dry. There needs to be some exchange of some sort, even if it is, by necessity, small.

    • OriginalLala says:

      nothing wrong with mindfulness and meditation (I practice daily) but we can’t ignore that it’s been heavily commodified by (mainly) white westerners to make alot of money.

    • JV says:

      Love this

    • Noodle says:

      @sunnee, I love words, and I love that you use perseverate here. It’s an underused word and powerful. Excellent diction!

  9. Palmasan says:

    Please let’s not mix apples and oranges. Mindfulness is strongly based on vipassana, a very ancient form of meditation with Buddhist roots that can be learned in free retreats all over the world. There’s nothing goopy or new age about it, and its benefits have been proven scientifically. You use your body as anchor to quiet your mind. It’s like saying that yoga does nothing. At this point in history I think we can agree both yoga and meditation are immensely beneficial.

    • AEvaJohnson says:

      Thank you! I’ve been practicing vipassana meditation for almost a year and it’s been so beneficial. It’s had a positive impact on every aspect of my life. Glad to see someone else in the comments showing respect for the practice.

      • Alexandria says:

        Interesting. We do get comments saying they don’t know how Meghan copes being attacked all the time, and that they couldn’t do the same. I wonder if that’s what’s helping her get through the noise and put her game face on all the time.

  10. Deanne says:

    Well if they start pushing these self help grifters, I’m out. It turned me off of Oprah, especially since so many have turned out to be so problematic. Promoting health and wellness is great, but anytime someone is referred to as a guru, I roll my eyes. Just because they’ve met someone doesn’t mean that they are besties with them.

    • MaryContrary says:

      Brene Brown is not a “self help grifter.”

      • Deanne says:

        I didn’t mention her specifically and my criticism is with Oprah. She’s elevated and given credibility to many people who are very problematic and questionable. She has a huge platform and should be more selective with who she gives exposure to. Brene Brown is a real researcher, but it’s Oprah who brought Marianne Williamson onto her show and gave her her stamp of approval and she’s an anti-vaxer who claims positivity cures cancer and covid-19. Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz sold out for money and are now Fox contributors and they are Oprah’s creations too. There have been too many over the years to list.

    • Amy Too says:

      I rarely hear people refer to themselves as gurus, though. It seems to be a title that is applied, by the media, exclusively to people who teach, mentor, or study anything even remotely non-Western or involving any type of spirituality that isn’t based in American Protestant-Christianairy. The word guru seems to be used for these people in this way, specifically to make the reader roll their eyes and immediately question/discredit the teacher. The word guru in these articles seems to be used mockingly/sarcastically almost, as if the word has implied scare quotes around it, as to alert the reader that they should immediately be skeptical of this teacher’s/expert’s beliefs, practices, teachings, and especially motives. I doubt Brené Brown would identify herself as a guru. Just like most yoga instructors, meditation teachers, mindfulness researchers, or herbalists, would not call themselves gurus.

  11. Edna says:

    Is every area and corner of their life going to be dissected and written about? Is every association, minutiae of everything Sussex going to be examined to bits? Can these two just be left alone to breath and live?

    • BayTampaBay says:

      @Edna – No, they will never be left alone because they make too much money for British Tabloid Media. No other member(s) of the BRF sell newspapers and generate click$ for revenue$ like the Sussexes.

    • CrazyHeCallsMe says:

      It seems the answer is no. Nothing about the Sussexes seems to be too small or trivial for the BM and RRs to go on about. Just shameful.

  12. JV says:

    It’s quite possible to practice and benefit from mindfulness without going into Goop-y guru territory! I was very resistant for the exact same reasons, thought it was a bunch of new-age BS. However, my very non-woo therapist eventually convinced me to give it a try, and it can honestly say it’s been a life-changer for me. I now have simple tools to use to combat my anxiety, which was crippling to the point of having to drop out of grad school. I was able to return to school, complete my degree, and be successful in my career. No medication I ever tried (and I tried many!) helped me as much as simple mindfulness tools. I’ve never read a word of Brene Brown, Goop, or that other person. :)

  13. MsIam says:

    Mindfulness is actually pretty mainstream now. Our CEO led us in an exercise over Zoom. But, honestly, I’m not into that or it’s quasi-religious sister “Manifesting”. But if that floats H&Ms boat then so be it.

    • SomeChick says:

      Manifesting is silly. Mindfulness is a real thing, and actually helps people. They are really nothing alike. Manifesting is basically wishful thinking.

  14. Miss617 says:

    I’m very anti-Goop but I remember watching Brené Brown’s “The Power of Vulnerability” in a group therapy session and being blown away. Outside of being a self-help influencer, she’s a respected professor of social work. I would never put her in the same bubble as Marianne Williamson.

  15. BnLurkN4eva says:

    We utilize this at work and it helps many of us, especially those with severe anxiety. I don’t think mindfulness should be dismissed or thrown in with goopyness. Also, Oprah shouldn’t be blamed for how some of the people she recommended turned out. They, none of the ones I’m familiar with started out like they turned out. Fame absolutely corrupted the ones I know of, so I don’t think Oprah could have predicted that grown, seemingly sensible people would turn into greedy monsters who will say anything for further money and fame.

    As for Meghan, if you read the Tig, she’s always been into this way of living without being guru like about it. I think mindfulness is just a tool she employs to live her best life and she no doubt introduced it to Harry because, why not.

  16. A says:

    “It’s about self-styled gurus peddling trendy watchwords and rebranded philosophical and spiritual ideologies which are appropriated and disconnected from their actual roots.”

    I agree with you. The majority of what passes as self-help is just marketing. The whole category exists to make money for the people who have a stake in its publishing. There are very few books out there that are sincere, and genuine in its efforts to help people become better, but the rest of it is just not that.

  17. ML says:

    I’m a yoga teacher and study the history as much as I can (check out Yogic Studies, I think it’s the premier academic platform). Anyway I tend to think that a lot of the Western appropriation of Eastern “mindful” practices stem from either a fear of Hinduism/Buddhism or from a fear of rejecting Christianity. Rather than viewing spiritual practice as a complex spectrum that can call upon many different traditions, it’s important to make sure one’s Christianity isn’t questioned. “I practice mindfulness but I go to church on Sunday.” I believe the roots go deeper than just appropriation for capitalism, although that’s an element as well. Either way this appropriation is commonplace and highly problematic.

  18. L4frimaire says:

    Meh, I guess they have their self help gurus and the Cambridges have their astrologers. I don’t how into these people any of these celebrities actually are. Are they really followers, or pick and choose, like tapas. Does it even mean anything, whether they do this or see a therapist or go to church regularly?