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Oprah Winfrey Shares Her Personal Connection to ‘Greenleaf’

Oprah Winfrey and the cast of OWN’s new original drama, “Greenleaf,” hit the green carpet for the show’s L.A. premiere on Wednesday at The Lot in West Hollywood.

Stars Lynn Whitfield, Keith David, Merle Dandridge and Lamman Rucker met Winfrey and creator Craig Wright to discuss how they brought the show to life.

Greenleaf” follows an African-American family who runs a megachurch and the trials that tear them apart. Winfrey, who in addition to playing Mavis McCready is an executive producer, said a key part in producing the series was ensuring that it was an authentic reflection of the black church.

“The whole scene where Kerissa (Kim Hawthorne) is attacking Grace (Dandridge) at the table about, ‘Are you spiritual, or religious?’… I had that,” Winfrey said. “I’ve also had that moment where Grace is saying out loud, ‘I swear to God.’ I was a little girl once and I said that. And my father said, ‘Not in my house you won’t.'”

Winfrey added, “One of the writers in the room actually is an ‘every-Sunday-morning-church-going-person’ … so it’s pretty authentic.”

But Winfrey said that not everything about the show is pure. “You can’t have a TV show without sin.”

Considering the lack of scripted content showing the church on TV, the cast and creators said they didn’t want the show to be an ironic depiction. “It had to feel like it was truthful,” said Clement Virgo, an executive producer who also directed the pilot.

Guests were treated to BBQ following the screening. The series debuts June 21 on OWN.

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