How Oprah Winfrey Went From Poverty To Become America's Only Black Billionaire

The Queen of American Media, Oprah Winfrey

Image: DonkeyHotey / CC-BY-SA

Meet Oprah Winfrey: America's only Black Woman Billionaire

“Turn your wounds into wisdom” was Oprah Winfrey’s famous quote that summed up her entire life story. We know her now as the queen of all media with a multi-million media empire that would cement her name in history books. Oprah - just one name would be known as the first woman who owned, operated and named a TV Network after her. That’s the kind of influence she has in American business. 

She was born with the name Orpah Gail Winfrey, but people actually kept mispronouncing it to Oprah - the name would eventually make the woman.  She’s the wealthiest African American in history with a net worth of $2.9 billion and the first black woman to receive the honor. Her accolades would actually do her justice. She’d talk her way into fame and fortune but her heart is what adoring fans love most about her.

The Queen’s Humble Beginnings

When most babies are born with expensive pair of shoes on pictures, Oprah’s start in life is nothing like the existence she knows today. She was born into poverty where money and food was so scarce that she wouldn’t own a pair of shoes until she turned six years old. She was raised in rural Mississippi where her teenage mother would struggle so much. Her childhood would then proceed to be a very difficult one where she would be raised into a dangerous neighborhood, raped at age 9 and give birth to a son she would mourn in his infancy.

But her family’s misfortunes would actually propel her into a gallant future. Her struggles would be the driving force that persuaded her to do well in her first media job as a radio news anchor in high school. She would eventually be conquering the world of American media by changing the way viewers and listeners thought about talk shows. She revolutionized the tabloid talk show circuit where her show would be syndicated and then reach No. 1 in the ratings. It’s not a bad accomplishment for a woman who was fired from her first TV job for being unfit. 

OWNing a Media Empire

As of today, Oprah Winfrey is now the co-founder of a cable television network dedicated to women called Oxygen and then would eventually sign a deal with Discovery Communications and rename Discovery Health Channel into OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. She also owns a production company named Harpo Productions that continually produces movies and television series.

But she would mostly be known for her 25 years as the celebrated talk show host of The Oprah Winfrey Show. She would eventually open the world to the issues of the ordinary people from health, geopolitics, spirituality to any life-changing topic the media would dare not speak of. 

She would also be famous for her unforgettable interviews with celebrities such as Michael Jackson, Barack and Michelle Obama. Her status now is nothing short of being the world’s most influential woman. Being poor and maltreated is no excuse to fail in life. She was right when she said that we can have it all, just not all at once. 

Lessons From Oprah Winfrey, The Media Queen

  • Poverty is never an excuse to fail in life
  • Personal tragedies can be turned into strength for the future
  • The problems of today can be turned into wisdom for tomorrow

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"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." Isaac Newton

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