As quite possibly the largest media personality on the planet, Oprah Winfrey captures the hearts and minds of every human being who has a pulse. She’s a giant personality of a woman goddess. Whether as a talk show host, a media powerhouse publisher, or as an inspirational leader of the Super Soul Sunday series, Oprah Winfrey has carved out her reign in the global culture.
The Early Years
Born Oprah Gail Winfrey on January 29, 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississippi, Oprah lived on a farm with her grandmother named Hattie Mae Lee. Oprah’s mother Vernita and her father Vernon were young and in search of work. They moved around a lot, yet left Oprah behind on the farm in Mississippi.
It was Oprah’s grandmother who was instrumental in her humble beginnings. Hattie Mae taught Oprah how to read the bible at age 3. By the time she was impressionable, Oprah was reciting memorized verses to her grandmother’s friends and also speaking at their local church.
Because Oprah already knew how to read and write by the time kindergarten rolled around, her teachers advanced her to first grade. Subsequently, between a move to Milwaukee at age 6, a move to Nashville at age 7, and back to Milwaukee by the time she reached fourth grade, Oprah had envisioned her first thoughts of becoming famous.
As dire as it was for her family trying to maintain a healthy household, Oprah was subjected to sexual abuse at the young age of 9 by her 19-year old cousin. Keeping it all a secret was something Oprah was used to, as the abuse continued by other family members, namely an uncle as well as a family friend. Her silence was eating her from the inside out.
Her first experience in journalism came during a Nashville radio station interview. They requested an enthusiastic teenager to discuss events and community news, yet it was her unabashed vivaciousness that allowed her to continue on working at the radio station as a 17-year old who’d already secured a college scholarship and continue to build a successful career in media.
Broadcasting, the Media, and Movie Success
As one of the most influential people in the world. Oprah Winfrey moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1984 and took over as anchor of A.M. Chicago, w hich catapulted her career as a sensational media personality. By changing the issues from women-only to more controversial and current, Oprah was charting her own course in daytime television.
Movie moguls began recognizing Oprah’s talent and mystique and wanted to cast her in a Spielberg movie based on Alice Walker’s book The Color Purple.
After her Oscar-winning performance, Oprah’s entire media, broadcasting, and producer career took off like a rocket. She formed her own production company in 1986 called Harpo Inc, and began Oprah’s Book Club, w ith incredibly widespread global fanfare. She also publishes her own magazine called O, The Oprah Magazine, as well as hosts weekly guests on her Super Soul Sunday i nterviews. Each of these media and publication outlets continues to make Oprah Winfrey one of the wealthiest people in the world.
Oprah Winfrey partakes in philanthropy work, political activism, and far-reaching ventures that continue to escalate her presence in the mainstream media and world. She makes an impact like no other human being. In fact, there were hints of her running in the 2020 election as the first African American woman candidate, yet she quickly squashed those rumors and still advocates for human rights and for the education of the young and poor.
The leadership of Oprah Winfrey is all-encompassing. Whether in the spiritual realm, the publishing world, or how her meager roots were the cornerstone of her success, it’s a wonder she’s going to retire anytime soon.