KidsView  | The Adventist Review for kids and those who always will be kids at heart | February 2014

Oprah Winfrey: An African-American I Admire

By Joy Agwu, Grade 6

I admire Oprah Winfrey. She inspires me for multiple reasons. One of the reasons is what she does with her success: she continuously gives to her employees. 

Oprah’s Story

Oprah was raised in three different homes. Her first home was with her grandparents on a farm. She lived with them for six years. She was constantly made fun of for the potato sack dresses she often had to wear. Even though Oprah was poor, she still received a rich education from her grandmother, who taught Oprah to read before age three. This made her a strong reader.

 When Oprah was six, she moved to live with her mother, Vernita Lee, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At age 13 she ran away from her home. Stealing from her mother’s wallet so she could dress hip, her mother was greatly frustrated and sent Oprah to live with her father. 

Oprah on TVOprah’s father was very strict. He was also very encouraging and gave Oprah the chance she needed to turn her life around. She became an honors student and even competed in beauty pageants. That was how she got a job working at a radio station part-time. Oprah eventually moved up in the media business until it led her to Chicago in 1984.

Determination and Success

Oprah had a hard time getting to where she is now. Her mother worked long hours as a dairy worker and didn’t have plenty of time to mother Oprah. What I truly admire about Oprah, though, is the fact that she overcame her many hardships. 

I also admire her because of her work in media. She’s a great actress and producer. Almost every movie or TV show she’s participated in (acting or producing) has been successful. Many have won awards.

I admire her determination. I used to be self-conscious about my hair, and often begged my mother for a perm; she always said no. What helped was hearing and learning more about the time Oprah’s hair fell out. Her hair fell out because one of her past bosses made her get a perm. As a result of the perm, most of Oprah’s hair fell out, and she lost her job. Yet she still worked toward her broadcasting career.

Oprah knows exactly how it feels to be less fortunate. Instead of letting the weaknesses of her past pull her down, she uses her past to touch others and be an example to them. 

I think that every single one of the pieces of Oprah’s painful past has made her better. It makes her what I want to be and so much more.