Oprah Winfrey: Powerhouse Outlier Essay

2289 words - 9 pages

As technology has developed over the years, society has become extremely reliant and addicted to the media. According to A.C. Nielsen Co., a global information and measurement firm, the average American youth watches twenty eight hours of television per week. Within a sixty-five year timeframe an individual will have spent a total of nine years watching TV (Herr). Both of these sects contribute millions of jobs providing individuals with ample opportunities, a gateway to success. It certainly provided the break for one African American woman to attain a status she could have only dreamt of as a child growing up in an unstable, emotionally debilitating, and unpromising environment. Oprah Winfrey is arguably one of the most influential women in modern times. She sprang up from seemingly nowhere becoming a media mogul, named most influential and wealthiest woman numerous years in a row by both Forbes and The Time. Oprah was brought to fame for her critically acclaimed talk show, which swiftly boosted her from rags to riches, and over the years resulted in her crowning as the “Queen of Talk.” Oprah Gail Winfrey, named the first African American female billionaire, was nominated for an academy award in her performance in The Color Purple, and through hard work and persistence forged her way into a position as CEO of her own television network and production company. Her self-entitled talk show, which would become the highest rated of its kind, served as a pioneer for many TV shows that emerged in the late 1980’s following the premiered of her show on daytime television. “I’m Oprah Winfrey, and welcome to the very first national Oprah Winfrey Show!” she exclaimed as the studio audience cheered enthusiastically (Brown). However, what people weren’t ready for was the impact that Oprah was to make, not just in the U.S., but throughout the world. She channels her prosperity into helping others and has become a widely recognized philanthropist, initially via with her talk show then in establishing philanthropic projects that have touched millions around the world. Oprah’s success is undeniable, but what makes her so influential, so remarkable? According to Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Outliers: The Story of Success, there are certain factors that contribute to or thwart the success of an individual; but does Oprah fit the archetype that defines a successful person, or was she simply lucky?
Oprah Gail Winfrey was born on January 29, 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississippi to the unwed Vernita Lee and Vernon Winfrey at a time when illegitimate children were highly frowned upon. Soon after Oprah’s birth, her parents separated; her father, who was in the military, moved to Nashville and remarried; while her mother moved north in search of employment and a fresh start, leaving Oprah to be raised by her grandparents. From an early age Oprah exhibited elevated intelligence, her grandmother, Hattie Mae Lee, encouraged her curious mind teaching her how to read at an...

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