Oprah Winfrey Surprises Her Father Vernon with an Appreciation Day amid His Ongoing Illness

"We wanted to be able to have all of his friends come and celebrate him while he's able to receive the joy," Oprah Winfrey said of her father, Vernon Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey. Photo: David Livingston/Getty Images

Oprah Winfrey is going all out for her dad!

The media mogul, 68, celebrated the 4th of July on Monday by throwing her father, Vernon Winfrey, a special surprise party.

In a video shared on her Instagram, Oprah said that although she was hosting a backyard barbecue, the true reason for the occasion was to hold a Vernon Winfrey Appreciation Day.

"My father is ill and so we wanted to be able to have all of his friends come and celebrate him while he's able to receive the joy," she said while showing off the banner behind her in her 88-year-old father's honor.

When asked by her best friend Gayle King if her father was "excited" about the celebration, Oprah said, "He doesn't even know that this is for him."

"He thinks it's a Fourth of July thing," she continued. "He doesn't know ... He's gonna walk out and see everything."

Running down the menu for the event, Oprah said she was serving fried chicken, turkey, burgers "and all that stuff."

She then wrapped the video by showing her father taking in the moment in a spot he knew best. "My dad is a barber so we put him in the barber chair," she shared as she showed her dad sitting down across the yard.

In the caption of her post, Oprah wrote, "Giving my father his 'flowers' while he's still well enough to smell them. Happy 4th of July as you gather with your family and friends. Remember to celebrate each other 💐"

At this time, it is unclear what illness Vernon is battling. Oprah did not provide any further details about her father's condition.

Oprah Winfrey, Vernon Winfrey
Vernon Winfrey and Oprah Winfrey. Adriane Jaeckle/Getty

Over the past few days, Oprah has been documenting her time in Nashville, Tennessee, where her father currently lives.

She shared several snaps and videos of herself spending time with family, and also shared a video with King, 67, as they made breakfast together.

"Making breakfast for the family with @gayleking 🍳🥓☕️ #Nashvillestyle," Oprah captioned the clip, which showed them making bacon, sausage and grits.

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In June 2021, Oprah spoke with PEOPLE about her father ahead of the OWN special titled Honoring Our Kings, Celebrating Black Fatherhood, in which she co-hosted with This Is Us alum Sterling K. Brown.

"I had a father who took responsibility for me, even though he knew I could have been somebody else's child," she said of Vernon.

RELATED VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King on Being 'Like Sisters': "She Became All the Things I Had Never Had"

"My mother and father never married," she added. "They had sex one time. He gets a letter after I'm born saying, 'Send money. You have a daughter.' And the reason he did, he said, is because it could have been him. And the responsibility that he took for me, not just a responsibility but care and love and direction and support as a young teenage girl, is the thing that made the difference in me being who I am now or somebody you would have never, ever heard of."

"I saw that over and over again in my father's barbershop. Men would come in, hardworking men, doing everything they could in their lives to support their families, working sometimes two and three jobs to do that," she continued. "So that's the story I know of Black fathers — the ones I grew up with and the man I know. The narrative of the absentee father, it's not accurate that that is the only picture. That's what I want to say."

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