Oprah Winfrey speaks onstage during the 55th Annual NAACP Awards at the Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall on March 16, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Oprah Makes Pride Tribute to Brother Who Died of AIDS During 'Extremely Cruel' Time

Emell Adolphus READ TIME: 2 MIN.

It's Pride Month and Lady O just posted a regal tribute to her dearly departed brother Jeffrey Lee, whose life was cut short at age 29 by the AIDS epidemic in the United States.

In a June 4 message posted on Oprah Daily's Instagram, Winfrey said that she believes her brother would be amazed at how far gay people have come in being able to live in their truths.

"It was 35 years ago that my younger brother Jeffrey Lee died from AIDS," Oprah said. "He was 29 years old. The year was 1989 and the world was an extremely cruel place, not just for people suffering from AIDS, but also for LGBTQ people in general."

She added, "I often think if he'd lived he'd be so amazed at how much the world has changed, that there actually is gay marriage and a Pride Month."

How different her brother's life might have been had be lived in these times, said Oprah, adding "In a world that saw and appreciated him for who he was rather than attempting to shame him for his sexuality."

Everyone "has the right to love," said Oprah, and she said her wish is for people to continue "living a life that feels authentic to you."


"I wish for you the continued freedom to rise to your truest highest expression of yourself as a human being," said Oprah.

Watch her message below.

In March, Oprah was received the Vanguard Award at the 35th GLAAD Media Awards in March, and she also took that moment to pay tribute to her brother.

"At the time, I didn't know how deeply my brother internalized the shame he felt about being gay," she said. "I wish he could have lived to witness these liberated times and be here with me tonight."

Something tells us he's proud of his big sister.

by Emell Adolphus

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