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The Post  
 
Is Oprah's End Only the Beginning?
 
  by: iradiotom - Philadelphia, PA
started: 05/27/11 1:01 pm | updated: 05/27/11 1:01 pm
 
After 25 years on network daytime TV, 57 year old Oprah Winfrey has stepped down. She plans to concentrate on her other interests which include film, Broadway, publishing, politics, cooking, fitness, the self-help industry, and a cable channel.

Born into poverty, Oprah built a media empire around her own nationally syndicated talk show.
"The adversity of her childhood somehow gave her a sense of confidence, a sense of empowerment and a desire to help, and that's part of her basic persona," says American broadcast journalism, Barbara Walters, who has interviewed Winfrey on multiple occasions. "I think Oprah is a superb performer … She has this amazing capacity to relate to an audience, which made her a star almost from the day she started to broadcast. It's in her magazine and it's in everything she does."

Over 25 seasons, Oprah has entertained 30,000 guests, a million studio audience members, viewers in 150 countries. She's earned 48 Emmys and a Kennedy Centre Honour.

According to Forbes Magazine, Winfrey's personal net worth is $2.7 billion making her the only female African-American billionaire. Her national magazine has 2 million subscribers. Oprah Winfrey's charity, now shut down raised more than $80 million and built schools in South Africa.

This week's finale was Oprahs' show number 4,561.

"Speaking for those of us who were deeply involved in civil rights, she did more for African Americans than all of us put together," says congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who witnessed Winfrey's efforts to raise funds for the National Council of Negro Women in Washington.
"A black woman becoming an icon of educated, working-class white women is beyond anything any of us could've hoped to do. You can't love Oprah and hate black people. And when you consider how much drudgery is on television, to see this woman who stands for reading books, for making women think better of themselves, for making people feel guilty if they hated other people - she's a phenomenon the likes of which this society has never seen."

According to Marjorie Jolles, a professor of women's and gender studies at Chicago's Roosevelt University. "I would even call it a spiritual empowerment," Jolles says. "I see Emerson as her main rhetorical ancestor, in thinking that the individual is something that unfolds in a divinely inspired way."

Oprah said it herself in 1988. "I have always known that I was born for greatness in my life."

Oprah Winfrey's final guest was Oprah Winfrey. "There will be no makeovers, no surprises - really, no surprises," she told her studio audience. "You will not be getting a car or a tree. This last hour is really about me saying thank you."

Winfrey urged her audience to "connect, embrace, liberate, love somebody, just one person and then spread that to two and as many as you can."

TV's Oprah Winfrey Network is now just six months old and it's hard to believe that the end of one journey is not the beginning of another.
 
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