For the last few years, the battle for the title of richest black woman in the world has been between TV executive Oprah Winfrey, Angolan businesswoman Isabel Dos Santos, and Nigerian oil magnate Folorunsho Alakija.
Richest Black Woman in the World
Oprah Winfrey is currently the richest black woman in the world, according to Forbes.
She was also the first female black billionaire in the world. Oprah is worth more than $2.7 billion.
Winfrey was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi on January 29, 1958. She is among the most powerful people in the world and is best known for her work in TV, philanthropy and unimaginable success all round.
Early Difficult Childhood
Unlike many rich people around the world who grew up with a silver spoon in their mouth, Oprah grew up with challenges. She grew up in extreme difficulties most of which came when she was a teenager. Her parents even separated and she was forced to live with her grandparents.
At the age of 6, her mother moved to Wisconsin and worked as a maid. She hardly had time for her due to the extremely demanding job. When she was 9, Oprah was raped by her cousin, family friend and uncle. This forced her to flee home at the age of 13 and she later became a mother at just 14.
Afterward, she moved into her father’s place in Tennessee when her son passed on while still an infant. She alludes to the death of his son as being the reason she took studies seriously. Ultimately, she managed to become an honours student.
Her toil paid off as she received many awards during open speech competitions. She became very popular in East Nashville Highschool. After her success in high school, she went on to pursue Communications at Tennessee State University.
Queen of All Media
Oprah’s success started from the bottom all the way up. In a talk that she gave at Stanford, Oprah attributed to her success to her inner life. She said that it was intact and this helped her have a great life outside and inside.
Additionally, she said that her success is fueled by the realisation that she can make a world a better place. She makes sure that she is stuck to her inner sanctuary. This is her precondition for her achievements.
Oprah says that when she began her show in Chicago there were doubts. No one really saw that it would amount to anything. It was only Gayle King, her best friend, who believed in her. The boss, many friends, and even her father said that it would be a longshot and it would fail. Since she had a strong urge to prove them wrong, she continued with her idea.
Additionally, she says that she had a strong belief that this was her calling. Everyone gets called and this goes beyond what one’s career is.
Fast-forward, and after 25 years of success, she felt that there was more to fulfil in the world. She named it the “Emotional GPS System”. She says it helps people make decisions they consider best for themselves.
Lady of All Trades
Apart from being a producer and a TV host, she also started the Oprah Magazine. She is also the co-founder of Oxygen Media.
Oprah used her talents very well in television and her AM Chicago show became so big that it was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show. And for over 25 years, this show was the best talk show. Her brilliance, humour, and trademark hair made her very popular.
Her production company Harpo collected over $3 billion, which made her the richest black woman in the world.
In 2018, Apple entered a multi-year partnership with Oprah. This partnership would make it possible for her to produce original programming exclusively for Apple TV+.
Moreover, she purchased a minority stake at Weight Watchers for $34M in 2015. In 2020, the values of those shares are estimated to be more than $430M. Additionally, she has also invested in True Food Kitchen, a restaurant chain.
Greatest Black Philanthropist in American History
Oprah hasn’t kept all her success to herself. Apart from being the richest black woman in the world, she has ventured out and made the world a better place. She has been involved with charity work for a longe time.
In 1998, she started a charity called the Oprah Angel Network.
An Inspiration to Many
Oprah, now retired, remains an inspiration to several women across the globe. She overcame a difficult childhood and the social barriers placed on black women and managed to establish herself as one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in the world.
She is now the chairperson and CEO of Harpo Productions, and CEO of the Oprah Winfrey Network.