Oprah Winfrey: The Woman Who's Doing It All

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This weekend, media mogul Oprah Winfrey celebrates her 57th birthday. And while she is one of the richest and most influential people in the world, life for her "ain't been no crystal stair." Like the Langston Hughes poem, her journey has had tacks in it, pulled up boards, and splinters; but it's also had plenty of shining moments.

Her life has been filled with seemingly insurmountable odds -- poor, pregnant by age 14, molested by relatives. It is often said that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and as a testament to this saying, Winfrey has excelled as a media mogul, branding herself in film, TV, publishing, and radio.

But she's also used her name and resources to open doors for so many others.

Born into a family of meager financial means in Kosciusko, Mississippi, Winfrey learned early on in life that the world was often a cruel place for young, black girls.

Like the characters portrayed in the novels of some of the black women authors she came to admire later in life, such as Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou, Oprah yearned to be seen and to be loved.

And through all of her adversity, she found her voice. And it would prove to be her bread and butter. She attended Tennessee State University, but left prematurely to begin a career in broadcasting at Nashville's WTVF-TV (she was awarded her BA in Speech and Performing Arts from TSU in 1987). Before becoming an ABC news affiliate in Baltimore, Maryland, Oprah became the youngest and first black woman to anchor the news in Nashville.


Her talent in front of the camera took her from news anchor to television talk show host; the most successful talk show host in history to be exact.

Realizing how valuable she was to the television market, she strategically began to brand and position herself to exceed talk show host status. This meant creating her production company, Harpo Productions as well as her own TV studio, Harpo Studios. This also meant that she would become a household name, and remain one for no less than 25 years to come.
Rather than ask what has Oprah done, a better question to ask is what hasn't she done?

From launching the successful careers of Dr. Phil and Rachael Ray, to helping President Barack Obama make history and unveiling her very OWN TV network, Oprah is a woman who has done it and is doing it all.

Join BlackVoices.com in celebrating the life and times of the powerful woman born Orpah Gail Winfrey.


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