Oprah Winfrey

By in Celebrity Leaders, Leadership

Oprah Winfrey posing for her magazine known as “The O.”

Success and Change is Upon Us. 

“I am a woman in process. I’m just trying like everybody else. I try to take every conflict, every experience, and learn from it. Life is never dull.”

Oprah Winfrey was an inspiration to many Americans especially woman. Winfrey who was an American media proprietor, talk-show host, actress, producer and philanthropist is according to some people the most influential woman in the world. She was the first African American to be recognized as number 9 in the magazine, Business Week, as one of the greatest Americans and top 50 of most generous philanthropist. In 2005, Oprah was named by Time Magazine as one of the most influential people of the year. Her accomplishments are innumerable because of her great advocacy towards making a change. Her net worth consists of 2.7 billion dollars. She was the first black woman to become a multi-millionaire.

Early Life:
Oprah Gail Winfrey who was born on January 29, 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississippi, a small farming community, and was sexually abused by in her childhood, but didn’t allow this terrifying experience to hold her back. She pushed herself and others to reach the highest of their potential. She once states, “It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from. The ability to triumph begins with you. Always.” Oprah Winfrey had the ability to move forward to accomplish many great things. She graduated from Tennessee State University with a degree in Speech and Performing Arts.

The Oprah Winfrey Show which ran from 1986-2011 on 120 channels was a great success because it was a way for her to connect with ordinary people. The television show was a form of public therapy where many would reveal their problems, success and private lives. After the first year of airing her show, she received 30 million dollars. She earned the respect of her viewers and refused to any exploitative topics on her show.  The Oprah Winfrey Show functions to elide matters of race and class. She created an equal environment for all her viewers and gave the best advice she could. Many people watched her show because of her wise words towards the meaning of life and her or people’s experiences. In the Oprah Phenomenon, it states, The Oprah Winfrey Show became a result of individual opinions, experience, and rights.  It was the number one show for many people because it was informative and intriguing.

Oprah has invested $40 million and much of her time creating the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls near Johannesburg and Capetown in South Africa. This Leadership Academy which started in January 2007, sparked the growth and success of others. Her efforts were recognized by Nelson Mandela who congratulated her for overcoming her own disadvantaged youth to become a benefactor for others and for investing in the future of South Africa.

Oprah Winfrey was applauded for her work through the many awards she received.
In the year 1987, Oprah won her first Emmy award for best talk/service show host and best show.Oprah received the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Entertainer of the year award in 1989. In the years 1987 and in 1995 Oprah won the Emmy for Best Talk Show and Best Host. In the year 1998 Oprah received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Daytime Emmy Awards and an award for top talk show host.

Leadership Style:

Oprah Winfrey follows the leadership skill of Septima Clark, which is supporting the growth of others. Oprah’s Leadership School in South Africa is a prime example for this skill because she opened it for a disadvantaged youth. She invested her time for the future of South Africa. Many people with sicknesses and illnesses appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show to share their experience and their troubles. Oprah was always supporting others to benefit and to succeed in their desires and wants. She strengthens many people’s thoughts because she cared for society.

One of the criticisms that I have for Oprah Winfrey is how she didn’t renew her lease with ABC for the Oprah Winfrey Show. She had this show for 25 years and her fame sprouted from this show. Even though she does have her own channel known as OWN, I still think she should have kept the show. Personally, whenever I came home from school I would turn on the TV and watch it. I thought it was very informational and crucial to watch. Many people criticized her because of her skin color and her gender. She didn’t allow this criticism to stop her from helping others. In the Oprah Phenomenon it says, “Oprah has repeatedly made national headlines by engaging and informing her audience with respect to her personal relationships to race, gender, feminism, and New Age culture.” She never spoke against her race and gender but spoke about it in a positive way. This didn’t hold her back from her accomplishments.

My Role Model: Oprah was always one of my role models because her strength to walk away from her childhood hardships to become one of the most powerful women in the world. I’m always amazed at her many accomplishments and her strong enthusiasm. I admire Oprah for being very philanthropic as well. She donates her wealth constantly to others who need it more than she does. I learned to never give up on my dreams. She taught me the act of giving and the happiness you receive from it. Oprah said she didnt have any children so she wanted to help as many children as she can. She calls the girls in the Leadership School in Africa her kids as well. She loved everyone and was willing to give a helping hand to anyone in need. I learned many skills such as supporting growth of others by studying her.

YouTube video: This is a short YouTube about Oprah’s life and some of her accomplishments.

Frykholm, Amy. 2012. “Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon.” Christian Century 129, no. 4: 46-49. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed December 7, 2012).

Illouz, Eva. Oprah Winfrey and the Glamour of Misery: An Essay on Popular Culture. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.

Lofton, Kathyrn. Oprah The Gospel of an Icon. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011.

Marshall, Christine, and Kiran Pienaar. 2008. “‘You are not alone’: the discursive construction of the ‘suffering victim’ identity on The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Southern African Linguistics & Applied Language Studies 26, no. 4: 525-546. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed December 2, 2012).