Exclusive-Whoopi Goldberg Knows Very Well That “The Fight Continues”

On-screen she has made our hearts ache (and soar) as Miss Celie in The Color Purple and helped us fall in love with love as Oda Mae Brown in Ghost, but it is Whoopi Goldberg’s passion for equality and demand for what is right that the LGBTQ community truly adores Whoopi Goldberg for. She continues to enrich our community with content like Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley where she introduced the world to a comedian who helped defined stand-up comedy, and she continues her tireless work with The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. I was honored to sit down with Whoopi Goldberg for a chat about her endless passion for the LGBTQ community, where her advocacy truly stems from, and why following the “bright light” of Elizabeth Taylor was a natural step in her advocacy work. 

Photo Courtesy-(ABC/Robert Ascroft)

Michael Cook: The LGBTQ community has such a monumental reverence for you, but it is most definitely a mutual love affair. Where does it begin for you?


Whoopi Goldberg: I think it began when I was a little kid. I always knew, they used to be called “uncles”. You had uncles who you knew were never going to get married, and you knew it but you didn’t know what it really meant because you were a little kid. They were people you loved and who looked out for you and it’s always been. And my dad was gay; it’s always been part of my life. 

MC: So much of what you have done throughout your own career has become so much of the fabric of what the LGBTQ community loves, whether it is the heart of The Color Purple, Miss Celieor the gender-bending Laurel Ayres in The Associate. Do you look back on your storied career and wonder how that all happened? 

WG: It’s like, I just got lucky I guess. For me, the characters that I have played have always played have always been a little bit different from the mainstream so their ideas were different. They did things differently and they were smart in the way that they executed things. When you look at Miss Celie from The Color Purple and her going into creating those pants and all of the clothing, and you look at The Associate; in order to make life better, she had to come to a decision that I think a lot of people have worked with over the course of their lives.- “How do I explain to you that I am as good as you are, I am as smart as you are? I have to show you what you want to see, and then I can show you what I want you to see”


MC: So much of what you have done has been groundbreaking and much of it rooted in the LGBTQ community. What you have done behind the scenes though, is just as spectacular. For example, the biography you produced of Moms Mabley (Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley) didn’t just showcase her as an artist and a revolutionary comedian, but it also didn’t shy away from the fact that she herself, was a lesbian. 

WG: It’s important to know. I always say to people, there have always been gay people in our lives, whether we knew them to be gay or not. It is not something that came out of nowhere. It wasn’t born in a club, This has been who people have been their whole lives. The idea that you would tell someone to change who they are seems very bizarre to me; its like asking a peacock to change their feathers. 

MC: You have protested against California’s Proposition 8 and your work with The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation truly is a huge part of your own legacy and life’s work. National attention came to it when you were given the Elizabeth Taylor Legacy Award on The View in 2017.  While your relationship with Elizabeth Taylor may have been part of the foundation for you getting involved in the organization, it truly has to be a passion of your own as well, is that fair to say? 


WG: That and the fact that I lived in San Francisco, AIDS raised it’s ugly face. I saw what other people did to other people. Human beings putting other human beings out when they were sick, leaving people on the streets, having to go around and collect people and get them to someplace safe. When Elizabeth (Taylor) said that she was trying to get people to come do this benefit for her, she said “I don’t know if you know about this, but a lot of people are concerned about their careers because they don’t want to be associated with it”. I immediately said “I know what you’re talking about-are you talking about AIDS?” and I said “I just came out of San Francisco”. She said “oh that’s right”! It was a no brainer for me. For me, that was a guiding light. A lot of other people came and were doing amazing things, but she sort of came along and kicked the door open and said “my friends are getting ill and I want to be there, I want to help raise money”. And what can you do?-besides stand beside a bright light that says “we can do better”.

MC: A number of people from certain generations remain extremely conservative and rarely deviate from that. Conversely, you have always blazed your own trail and owned every aspect and facet of your career and who you truly are. Was that always how you were? 

WG: I think that I have always been kind of like that. I realized early on that this was going to be a challenge. To say what I believe and stand for something, stand for the things that I believed in. Whether they were okay with everybody or not okay with everybody-but I knew how I felt. I felt that if I couldn’t stand for something, I would stand for everything. 


MC: Coming from San Francisco and seeing the lives we lost in the 80’s and now seeing the community being a vibrant, active, and bright part of America’s fabric must be absolutely surreal for you. 

WG: For me, it comes with a codicil, because I also know that we are not done. We are now fighting for shit we have already fought for and won. Now we are starting to see a slide backwards because we are in the throes of a nation that has lost it’s mind. We are fighting for ourselves as human beings, for our dignity as people of color, as women, as gay men, straight men, gay women, straight women, were all in the fight. All who pay taxes in America. They don’t ever say “I’m gonna take this away from you and you’re not gonna have to pay any taxes”; that’s my attitude. if you are going to keep invading my space and invading who I am as a human being, you need to take a loss on some of this. You’re telling me I can’t be an American, you’re telling me I have to be other; we already changed that. There is only other to you. 


MC: You’re accomplished so much for your self, but you’ve also accomplished so much for the LGBTQ community. What gives you the most pride right now? 

WG: That there are more and more people fighting for the right stuff. The right stuff. The fight continues. And we are fighting for those that aren’t even born yet. 

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Follow The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation here 

3 thoughts on “Exclusive-Whoopi Goldberg Knows Very Well That “The Fight Continues””

  1. Hey WG—even though I’m older than u—a Vietnam Vet—always been a fan. U should have won the Oscar in 1985 & I’m still “mad” u didn’t. Thank u for ur support & empathy for people a little different.

    • Have loved Whoopi forever and I love her even more now, even though I have seen her alliedness(?) always present and important! I feel she gets a bad rap because of her honesty/integrity. We need more like her!


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