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Usually people call someone a genius when that person has been dead long already. It is perfectly of human nature to underestimate a living contemporary and his contribution to art, business or other sphere of activity and. However, in contrast, the person’s input is evaluated and recognized after his or her death since it is easy to admire an image, a brand of a man (if you will): people made of flesh and bone, living by your side who have achieved success often spur envy instead of admiration. However, some extraordinary people do manage to reach a status of live icons and still remain close to the masses, down-to-earth and understandable. Oprah Winfrey is certainly a textbook case of such person, a classical inspirational example of a woman who overcame countless and various obstacles and eventually changed the shape of modern media, introducing a brand new model of interaction with the audience and bringing the humanity into the previously harsh and overly official world of TV.

Oprah Winfrey, who is a worldwide famous media proprietor, actress and producer, was born in 1954 in Mississippi, United States. She is distinguished all over the world due to her award-winning, popular talk show that has become one of the highest-rated TV programs in the entire history of talk shows. She is regarded to be the wealthiest African American woman in the XX century, and also she is extremely generous towards her numerous funds and donations, which has gained her the title of one of the greatest philanthropists in the world. The major reason for her generosity has its roots in her childhood when she learned how to value the small things that you have, be grateful and share them with others. She was born into poverty in the rural town of Milwaukee, and her teenage mother faced a lot of life challenges, therefore, in the childhood, Oprah Winfrey was exposed to violence and criminal environment. Oprah’s excellent education and remarkable ability to learn is assigned to be the merit of her father’s approach to studies: he designed a strict but rewarding schedule that envisaged Oprah’s mastery of all kinds of knowledge: from physics to arts, and from politics to literature.

Consequently, Oprah’s impeccable erudition and manners earned her recognition and respect among colleagues and the audience.

One of the things, which allows me call her a genius, is her personal commitment to business that can be compared only to that of Steve Jobs or other prominent people of the kind. She is believed to have significantly shaped virtually all popular media. In filmmaking industry, she performed the leading role in Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple. In 1998, she challenged herself and became the producer of Beloved where she also starred. In 2005, she continued her career as a producer, promoting a Broadway musical. Her co-star, Tandy Newton, described Winfrey as “a very strong technical actress, a smart and acute person with a mind like a razor blade”. Establishing her own filming company Harpo Films, Oprah Winfrey produced the successful Charlotte's Web in 2006 and Bee Movie in 2007. She also co-authored several books, one of which related to weight loss and received the 14 awards, while at the same time reaching the best seller status. Working on her magazine The Oprah Magazine, she highlighted the important life issues of an ordinary American woman. Currently, she is involved in online business with her own website, offering approximately seventy million page reviews for six million users monthly. Being a truly kind person, Winfrey initiated “Oprah's Child Predator Watch List” through her website and show in order to aid in tracking down child molesters. In 2006, she signed the fifty-five million contract (with XM Satellite Radio) with a view to establishing a new radio broadcasting channel. Therefore, we can certainly say that Winfrey has achieved impressive heights virtually in all spheres of modern media, which is an unprecedented case for someone of her origin, and this is one of things to recognize her a genius of her time and field of activity.

Another thing that has made her prominent is her truly unique personality and empathy that empowered her to make a strong impact upon society. In her early career, around the mid 1990s, she was praised for removing one of the greatest taboos of the twentieth century. Her intimate approach to making shows and discussions allowed numerous sexual minorities having the freedom of assembly and freedom of personal expression. This was typical for four basic categories: gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. One more area of her influence is ranking high. Oprah Winfrey was named to be the most powerful and the most influential woman in the world (by CNN). Additionally, she is praised for coining the term oprahanation in the context of public confession as the form of therapy. One of her talk shows highlights Winfrey when she confesses all details about personal life: weight problems, love affairs, sexual abuse, and tears on TV. That is why she launched the new stream of TV shows, which can be called the Oprah-style debates, linking many ordinary American families together and uniting the American society, on the whole. Throughout her long career, it does not tend to be difficult to recognize her features of characters and contribution to the welfare of American community. First of all, she is extremely generous in all senses of this word: she is a prominent sponsor and she takes care of others. Second, she is the altruist and optimist, which indicates that she is strong, and she acts for the sake of others. Third, she is sincere and intimate towards everybody. She is not afraid of her own life and confesses everything to the overall public, in order to share her life experience with others and protect humanity from doing the same or similar mistakes. Finally, she is a wise woman, achieving her success herself devoid of any help. Her personal leadership style is often referred to as the ‘Spiritual Leadership’. In the modern context, it is mostly applied as the influential leadership model.

Therefore, Oprah Winfrey is, in my opinion, a true genius of our time who has managed to embody the business and financial success and become an influential social and spiritual leader whose work has shaped the modern media and the lives of millions of people, making them better.

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