Oprah Winfrey is one of the most accredited media icons in the world today along with being touted as one of the most successful women in the media as well as a self-made billionaire and reputed philanthropist. As an African-American who managed to climb the corporate hierarchy at a time when racial as well as gender discrimination was at a peak, Oprah Winfrey is noted for being an exceptionally strong woman who despite her history of poverty, rape as well as physical abuse, managed to rise to a position of power and excellent repute.
Born in Kosciusko, Mississippi in 1954, Oprah experienced a turbulent childhood due to being shifted to and fro from her grandmother’s to her mother, where her relatives regularly abused her sexually since the age of nine. She was eventually sent to live with her father at the age of 14, who ensured that she at least worked her way through college. Starting as a news broadcaster, Oprah began to pursue entertainment wherein she received many rewards and accomplishments for her work. From acting to hosting television shows, Oprah saw national success with the advent of her own program – ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ which shot her to the spotlight by virtue of being uniquely spiritual and self-empowering.
The Oprah Winfrey Show has proved to be one of the most-watched and successful television shows of all time. The show has served to break many cultural and social barriers in issues such as homosexuality to be a forum for conversation and a proactive instrument for addressing personal and social concerns. Oprah is therefore seen as a powerful role model for women and in particular black American women. She is also credited with promoting an intimate confessional form of media communication which is now popularly imitated across the world.
Along with hosting the popular television show, Oprah is the successful owner of a business Harpo Inc., an entertainment and media company, with subsidiaries such as Harpo Print, LLC and counts in its holdings the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) of which it owns a 50% share in. Hence, Oprah’s various media enterprises have made her one of the richest women in the world – from 2004 to 2009, Forbes international listed her as the world’s only black billionaire and the first-ever black billionaire woman. Subsequently, in 2014, Oprah had an estimated net worth of over 2.9 billion dollars.
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