Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World - Ann Shen (2016)
Arguably the most powerful human on earth (it’s estimated that her endorsement of Barack Obama in the closely contested 2008 election alone brought in one million votes), entertainment mogul Oprah Winfrey (1954–) was fired from her first evening news reporter job for being too emotional. So the girl who was raised in rural Mississippi so poor that she wore potato sacks to school brought all her emotional strength to bear and built a media empire that would shape our entire culture. When she was moved onto a flailing daytime talk show, Oprah flourished as the first female African-American television host; she invented an entire genre of confessional talk shows that a Yale University study showed broke twentieth-century taboos and brought topics like homosexuality mainstream.
Two years after her arrival, the show was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show and made its first national syndication debut in 1986. Oprah became a household name and soon the head of an entertainment galaxy and America’s first female self-made billionaire. There was no secret in her life too dark to share with her audience—from getting pregnant at fourteen and losing the baby to smoking crack cocaine with a man she was obsessively in love with in her twenties—and the world loved her for it. Her greatest strengths—her empathy and her humanity—became her greatest gifts to the world.
Along with being a spiritual guide for the twenty-first century through her television network OWN, Oprah is a generous philanthropist. In 2007, for example, she donated forty million dollars and her time to opening the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.