O: Oprah Winfrey #AToZChallenge

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She was born to a teenage mother who was dependent on government welfare payments and never really knew who her father was. At the age of nine, she was sexually abused by her cousin, uncle and other relatives. She went to school wearing clothes made of potato sacks and was ridiculed by her class mates. She fought obesity, depression and suicidal tendencies. A few decades later, she became the richest African American of the 20th century and also has been called the most influential woman in the world. Orpah Gail Winfrey's life has never been easy. But, here was a woman who did not let her past define her. She fought hard, followed her passions and made a life for herself that most people envy today.

Anything I say about her here would not do justice to the wonderful woman that she is. From being a co-anchor at a news channel to hosting her own talk show, 'The Oprah Winfrey Show', that has changed so many lives today, she sure has come a long way. Born as Orpah, after the biblical figure in the Book of Ruth, she changed it to Oprah when almost everyone mispronounced her name. At age 14, she had a son who was the result of years of abuse. The boy was born prematurely and died in infancy. When Oprah opened up about her abuse on her show when she was 24, her family refused to believe her.

There were many talk shows already ruling the roost, when Oprah made her presence felt. She is credited with creating a more intimate confessional form of media communication. Through this medium, she broke century old taboos and allowed LGBT people to enter the mainstream through television appearances.

In 2004, Oprah Winfrey became the first black person to rank among the 50 most generous Americans. By 2012, she had given away about $400 million to educational causes. To celebrate two decades on national TV, and to thank her employees for their hard work, she took her staff and their families (1,065 people in total) on a vacation to Hawaii in the summer of 2006. In 2013, she donated $12 million to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom later that same year. From AIDS to natural disasters, her Oprah's Angel Network supports all charitable projects and provides grants to nonprofit organizations around the world.

Here's a woman who created a life for herself and is also helping others stand up on their feet. She did not let her past define her and yet never forgot where she's come from. She's the ray of hope everyone needs in their life and she was exactly that to so many people. For me, the minute I hear the word inspiration, it is her face that flashes in my mind.

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I'm participating in the April A to Z Challenge for 2019 and my theme is Wonder Women.

14 comments:

  1. I was looking forward to reading about Oprah. She and Ellen are two women who never fail to inspire me--be it through their talk shows or their kindheartedness, their courage or their love for people. Just reading about how she rose to such a position after a troubled childhood goes to show how sheer hard work, passion , perseverance and faith in one's capabilities can help us fulfil our dreams!

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    1. Both these women are way too good for this world.

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  2. I have always liked Oprah, her TV show and her charitable work. Very inspiring life!

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  3. Another wonderful choice Soumya. She's an inspiration and her kindness and generosity are legendary.

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    1. Thank you, Tulika. We need more people like her.

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  4. i HAVE WATCHED many of Oprah's shows and I like the way she conducts herself on the show. But this amazing woman has not let her past bog her down. hats off to her.

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    1. That's what is the most inspiring thing about her!

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  5. I used to watch a lot of Oprah shows for it used to come in one of the English channels in the morning, I guess. She is truly an inspiration.

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  6. She basically started her own movement, didn't she? Love this woman!

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    1. She did, and how! We need more women like her.

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  7. She is another strong woman who has done so well and so much despite such hardships and adversities.

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