To take advantage of our United States visa, let’s continue on American soil, because we are going to talk about a person we all love.
Today we will talk about:
- The richest African-American woman in the world in the twentieth century;
- First place in the 2009 black billionaires ranking;
- The most popular woman in Tennessee;
- First place of the most powerful people in show business (Entertainment Weekly);
- One of the most famous people in the world (Life magazine);
- The first black woman to win the Cecil B. DeMille (Golden Globe) Award;
- The world’s first black woman billionaire (Forbes magazine)
- The biggest black philanthropist in American history (Business Week magazine)
Born Orpah Gail Winfrey (biblical name) on January 29, 1954, her name had to be changed to Oprah because people could not understand Orpah and spoke Oprah.
Oprah was raised by her grandmother on a farm in Mississippi, where she lived in extreme poverty. Despite the lack of money, she did not miss a study and she learned to read at the age of two. At age 3, she recited poems and Bible verses, and showed signs of being a very intelligent child.
This is the greatest example that no one needs money to be a good student. You just need to want to learn and have someone who really wants to teach!! Because of this, she values teachers and has a post on her website dedicated to the Teachers Who Changed Oprah’s Life and considered the great Maya Angelou as her mother at heart.
She went to the first grade of elementary school at the age when children are usually in kindergarten (about 4 or 5 years old), because she wrote a letter to her teacher saying that her place was not there but in the first grade.
The next year she skipped second grade and went straight to third grade. And me here thinking that learning to read and write in kindergarten, while the other children learned in pre-school, was a prodigy child…
Her mother went to Milwaukee in search of a job and went back for her daughter when she was 6 years old and took her to live with her in the house where she worked.
Oprah became a teenage troublemaker and her mother even tried to send her to a juvenile detention home, but since there were no vacancies she decided to send her to live with her father.
Just before moving to her father’s home at the age of 14, Oprah, who was sexually abused by her cousin and uncle from the ages of 9 to 14, found herself pregnant. Two weeks after giving birth, the baby died.
It was a very painful event for her, but that she and her father decided to see it as a second chance.
I chose to talk about Oprah because she is a great inspiration in my life. I’ve been abused by my uncle till the age of 13.
Anyone who has ever experienced sexual abuse knows how devastating it can be in a lifetime … I was not raped like Oprah, but I know how much my life (and my personality) could of been different without this to haunt me.
Oprah was raped, got pregnant, lost a newborn child … and yet she NEVER lowered her head!!!
Since she could not change what had happened to her, she used it as a force to become someone important enough to fight it so it did not happen to other people!
She made a point of becoming one of the most respected and influential people in history and using that influence to do good to others!!!
Her father saved her when he took her in (Nashville, Tennessee), where she moved to a safer, healthier environment. However, Oprah had to abide by stringent disciplinary rules and had to strive to be the best, in everything.
Always with the emotional support of her father, who demanded weekly summaries of books. He gave her punishments, and left her without dinner until she learned 5 new words a day.
By doing that, Oprah became a brilliant student, won oratory awards, dramatic recitation, attended her school’s student council, and won a beauty contest, Miss Fire Prevention, from the local WVOL radio station, which earned her a job to read the evening news.
She earned a full scholarship from Tennessee State University where she graduated in Communications and Performing Arts and after graduating she signed a contract with a local television station to be a reporter and anchor.
WJZ-TV News, a CBS affiliate, offered her a job and she became the first African-American woman to be co-anchor in an evening paper.
Later, she went to Baltimore, where she presented the news of Good Morning America and where she would be the co-host of the talk show Baltimore Is Talking, along with Richard Sher.
She was so successful and handle the audience so easily that an ABC unit in Chicago invited her to host a 30-minute morning talk show, the A.M. Chicago, which was consistently ranked last.
In 3 months, she reversed the situation and had the highest audience in the rankings, which earned her the name change for The Oprah Winfrey Show and made the show a hour long.
In 1985, Oprah starred in the big screen classic, “The Color Purple,” opposite from Whoopi Gorlberg and Danny Glover, directed by Steven Spielberg and co-produced by Quincy Jones, who chose for the role of Sofia, who earned her an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe as Best Actress in a Motion Picture.
As a visionary, Oprah created her own production company, Harpo Productions Inc., and acquired the rights to “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” becoming the first woman in history to produce her own talk show and took the opportunity to also create her own Book Club. The Oprah Book Club, where she encourages everyone to read.
In 1994, then-President Bill Clinton signed a bill Oprah proposed in Congress to create a national database with information on convicted child molesters. Once again her past made her protect others …
After creating the Oprah’s Angel Network, a program that inspired people to help others by encouraging charitable projects and supporting non-profit organizations, she has become one of the greatest philanthropists in the world.
Oprah founded the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls – OWLAG to help African girls gain access to a university because she has always believed that good university education is fundamental for students to achieve their professional and personal goals and contribute to society, in addition to become financially independent.
She saw this foundation as a chance to provide quality teaching so that people had a chance to dream and opportunity to achieve their dreams.
Is it too late for me to enroll in OWLAG ?
In 2007, Oprah, for the first time, campaigned for a politician when he joined then-presidential candidate Barack Obama and drew the biggest audience at a rally in the Primary Election phase.
Oprah’s charisma with the people was such that several people began to consider her future candidacy for the United States President.
I’m not American (so I’m sorry if my opinion is not compatible with US reality), but it would be BEAUTIFUL to see a country ruled by this wonderful person!
A person who knows teachers value, who believes that those who are dedicated deserves a chance of recognition and that it inspires the in of the human being …
I’m sure that if she were eligible in Brazil, I would vote for her!
As life is never that simple, and as much as Oprah likes to do good to people, she recently stated on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show that she will NOT run for President of the United States!
In 2011, Oprah ended its The Oprah Winfrey Show and launched her own channel, The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), which sold the channel’s shares to Discovery Chanel for approximately $70 million and she will continue as CEO until 2025.
As not everyone is evolved, Oprah went through a classic case of prejudice in 2013 while shopping in Switzerland. She entered a Tom Ford store and asked to see a purse of approximately $38k that was behind the counter.
According to her, the saleswoman said that the bag was very expensive for her and recommended cheaper products. The manager recognized Oprah and claimed that everything was just a big “misunderstanding”.
So, in the 21st century, with all technology and information we have, there are still people who see a black person and judge her by the color of the skin! I hope this salesgirl has learned that a person’s character is not measured by the color of their skin!
Also in 2013, Oprah received the highest civilian honor from the United States of America, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, delivered by President Barack Obama, for her contributions to the country.
In 2018, she became the first black woman to win the Cecil B. DeMille Award in the last Golden Globe. In her speech, she took the opportunity to speak about the fight for racial equality and the anti-sexual harassment movement #MeToo and has made so much success that you can access the contents of the speech in full here.
A tip from SIS: I highly recommend that you watch the speech here. It’s worth it!
In 2018, following the shootout at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, Oprah said she would follow George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin’s example and would also donate $500,000 to the March for Our Lives, which took place last Saturday, March 24th.
SISter’s Tip: Do not miss the debut of Oprah’s new movie, “A Wrinkle in Time”, with the cute Storm Reid, the wonderful Reese Whiterspoon and an incredible cast, plus amazing effects. It opens tomorrow, March 29.
Want to know a little more about our beloved Oprah? So come with SIS to see some tips about the city that marked the life of this wonderful woman:
Attention passengers. Last call for Flight SIS007, bound for Nashville. Immediate boarding at the SIS Passage gate.
Nashville is the capital of Tennessee and is known as the “Music City” as it is the American capital of country music, the American version of the Brazilian “sertanejo”, although other styles such as pop, rock, gospel, jazz and blues are very strong in the region.
In the “Entertainment District” you will find some of the city’s best tourist attractions, such as the Country Hall of Fame and Museum.
Still in the Entertainment District, you’ll also find Broadway Street, which is one of the main streets of Nashville and which concentrates lost of the city’s “steakhouses” BBQs. The best place is the Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint, followed by Jack’s Bar-B-Que. In these places you will find lots of meat, including the traditional pork ribs that Americans love so much.
In addition, Broadway and 2nd Avenue are places where you’ll always find many bars open playing country music no matter what time or day of the week. And, like every good Music City, there are also several streets musicians to entertain your walk.
If you enjoy a gastronomic tour when traveling, know that in Nashville you will find everything from the typical southern menu to haute cuisine. As the gastronomy is a great point of every trip, the city invested in two great tours: the Local Tastes of Nashville and the Walk Eat Nashville. You will learn a little about history and gastronomy, getting to know a little more about the neighborhood’s development with the largest number of renowned restaurants and savoring delicious food along the way.
The Food Truck universe is also very strong in the region, and the city has big names like The Grilled Cheeserie (cheeses) , Cousins Maine Lobster Nashville (lobsters), Wicked Kitchen (all kind of food, specially mac’n’cheese), and Mas Tacos Por Favor (Mexican food).
Another wonderful place to go with the family (or alone, whatever!) is the Wildhorse Saloon. The place is a restaurant and bar for music and dance, and is even a great house of concerts. It is there where people go to do the famous Line Dancing, which is when everyone does the same choreography. All this in one place! Even if you are not a fan of country music, the SISter here recommends you go to the Saloon because the food is delicious, the atmosphere is super nice and maybe you’ll even leave with some new country steps…
Still in the “gastronomic tourism” category, you can’t miss breakfast at The Loveless Cafe ! It is located in a Motel (HOLD ON! Motel in the United States is different from the Motel in Brazil! There, Motel is a simpler “hotel” and usually at the roadside…). The food is really caloric and your cholesterol goes super high, BUT it’s an unique experience ! There you can taste the real southern breakfast and you probably won’t need to eat for the rest of the day…
Close to Nashville is the largest cave complex in the world, Mammoth Cave National Park, which is one of the best tours to do, whether with the family, with the love of your life (enjoy the climate of the cave…) or even alone.
Now, if you prefer the typical quiet stroll, to have a first generic contact with the city before choosing the sights you really want to visit, SISter has a great tip for you: the Music City Trolley Hop !! This tour will guide you to 16 of the 100 most wanted sights in the city (but the guide always talks about other points that pass along the way, even if they are not on the schedule).
If you are interested in the musical side of the city, don’t miss the chance to meet the Ryman Auditorium which is a true “sacred temple of music” because it was built in an old church and is considered the Carneggie Hall of the South, as well as Johnny Cash Museum, which features the world’s most complete collection of Cash. Now, if you go to the city at the end of the year (early November) don’t miss the opportunity to buy tickets for the Country Music Awards – CMA, which is the annual country music awards in the USA.
Last but not least, be sure to visit the Parthenon of Nashville, a life-size replica of the Parthenon in Athens, located at Centennial Park, and it’s the reason the city of Nashville was known as “Athens of the South”. It is a classic tourist spot but well worth it.
I can imagine myself doing a Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton, Miranda Lambert, LeAnn Rimes or Faith Hill cover… no, wait ! I’m not blonde like them, so I’ll have to content myself to be a Shania Twain cover and go out there singing “Man, I feel like a woman” !
Well… Let’s go !?