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SheCAN Champion: Oprah Winfrey

SheCAN Champion: Oprah Winfrey

“It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from. The ability to triumph begins with you. Always.”

Oprah Winfrey is an American television personality, actress, and entrepreneur whose syndicated daily talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, was among the most popular of the genre. She became one of the richest and most influential women in the United States.

Winfrey was raised by her grandmother in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Despite having a modest childhood, Winfrey became an industry trailblazer and one of the most notable women on television to date.

(Image: Afro American Newspapers/GADO/Getty Images)

Winfrey is a producer, actress, television icon. She was the first Black American woman to own her own production company. She was nominated for an Academy Award in her first movie, The Colour Purple. Winfrey was once television’s highest-paid entertainer as the successful host of a syndicated television talk show that reached 15 million people a day. The Oprah Show lasted for twenty-five seasons.

(image: Winfrey Making her film debut in The Color Purple, 1985 | WARNER BROS/KOBAL/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK)

In 1987, its first year of eligibility, the show received three Daytime Emmy Awards in the categories of Outstanding Host, Outstanding Talk/Service Program and Outstanding Direction. The following year, the show received its second consecutive Emmy as Outstanding Talk/Service Program, and Oprah herself received the International Radio and Television Society’s “Broadcaster of the Year” Award. She was the youngest person ever to receive the honour.

(image: Accepting the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award at the 54th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, 2002 | FRANK MICELOTTA/GETTY IMAGES)

Oprah’s show also continued to attract the top names in the entertainment industry; a 1993 interview with the reclusive entertainer Michael Jackson drew 100 million viewers, making it the most-watched interview in television history. Oprah Winfrey was named one of the “100 Most Influential People of the 20th Century” by Time magazine, and in 1998 received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

(image: Michael Jackson talks with Oprah Winfrey in this televised interview recorded October 2nd, 1993.Sam Emerson | Reuters)

She does all that she can to eradicate child abuse. As a victim herself, Winfrey knows the damage abuse does to young lives. She was a major force in the drafting, lobbying, and passage of the National Child Protection Act. The Act was signed into law by President Clinton in 1994. The Act establishes a national registry of child abusers to help employers and those working with children to screen out dangerous people.

Winfrey is also a committed philanthropist, providing significant assistance to schools (Morehouse College, Tennessee State University, Chicago Academy of Arts) as well as to the Chicago Public Schools. She also funds battered women’s shelters and campaigns to catch child abusers.

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(image: At a ribbon cutting for her Leadership Academy for Girls school in South Africa, 2007 | AP PHOTO/DENIS FARELL)

Winfrey launched her television network OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) on January 1, 2011. She is credited for launching the careers of Dr. Oz, Dr.Phil, Nate Berkus, and Iyanla Vanzant. 

Winfrey today is considered an international sensation and a source of inspiration to many people around the world. Winfrey has, in a large way, made the world a better place for millions of people. Regardless of her disadvantaged background, Oprah has overcome obstacles and become an International Icon!

(image: Mario Sorrenti—Art Partner)

Read more on all of Oprah’s life accomplishments growing up in a disadvantaged background to later on achieving great success, click here