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‘You Could Flaunt, But You Inspire’: Ava DuVernay Praises Oprah Winfrey for Being ‘Real’ in Birthday Message Months After Howard Stern Accused the Mogul of ‘Showing Off Her Wealth’

Ava DuVernay has plenty of praise for Oprah Winfrey on her 69th birthday.

The “Queen Sugar” writer began with “You can have the world, but you’re happy as a clam with a good cup of tea. You could travel to fancy spots everyday, but your favorite place is home. You’re invited everywhere, but you’d rather snuggle with your doggies and read a book.”

Ava DuVernay, Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay. (Photos: @ava/Instagram.)

She then commented, “You could flaunt, but you inspire.” That particular line comes just two months after controversial radio host Howard Stern accused the mogul of flaunting her wealth. While on his SiriusXM radio program, “The Howard Stern Show,” he slammed Winfrey for not being embarrassed by her financial success; he even suggested that she lacked self-awareness while sharing glimpses into her luxurious life.

“I make a good living, and I’m having trouble watching Oprah,” said Stern. “I go, ‘Wow. Look what’s going on over there!’ Her estate is unbelievable. When she goes shopping, she goes shopping in her backyard, ’cause everything is growing back there. There’s a farm back there,” he remarked.

The OWN Network founder has amassed an empire worth more than $2.5 billion, according to a Forbes report. Some of her lucrative business deals include dominating daytime television for over 20 years with “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” partnering with Apple TV+, as well as having stake in Weight Watchers, to name a few.

DuVernay’s message to her friend and collaborator continued with more praise for the ways in which Winfrey impacts the lives of others. She wrote, “You could ignore, but you lean in. You could be so different than you are, but you are exactly what most people hope you to be. Warm. Real. Funny as heck. Smart as heck. Very kind. Empathetic. Consistently grateful. Deeply authentic. What a thrill to be in this world at the same time as you.”

There is no denying that Winfrey’s wealth has afforded her a more comfortable life than those well beneath her tax bracket, but as many fans learned it also means there are mundane experiences she never had. For instance, last year, she revealed that she pushed a stroller for the first time while spending time with her best friend Gayle King’s grandson Luca. The admission left fans in stitches then — and again, days before Christmas.

The media veteran seemed nearly floored when a TikTok user asked her to help him come up with a gift for his mother. The only catch is that it had to cost less than $100 and have sentimental value. Winfrey seemed slightly taken aback by the budget, but ultimately advised him, “Okay, then; this is the perfect gift for your mom. You do a list of your top 10 reasons why you love her, and you make a beautiful card and it’s your top 10.”

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