No. 6: Oprah Winfrey, The Media Powerhouse

Follow the Black Enterprise 40th Anniversary countdown of the most impactful black business leaders of the past 40 years

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Oprah Winfrey is among the shrewdest of entrepreneurs as well as one of the most ubiquitous brands, influencing the buying decisions of millions worldwide. Since 1986, she has transformed Harpo Inc. into a multimedia conglomerate that has footprints in television, print, radio, and film. As a result, this dynamo represents one of the few black billionaires in America.

In celebration of our 40th anniversary, Black Enterprise is taking a look both forward and backward at the world of black business. Our list of 40 “Titans: The Most Powerful African Americans in Business–and How They Shaped Our World” recognizes and pays homage to the entrepreneurs and business men and women who paved the way for all of us. Follow our countdown of the most important black business leaders of the four decades since Black Enterprise Magazine was founded in August 1970.

These are the men and women who fought the odds, suffered setbacks, regrouped, and eventually emerged victorious. Whether they conducted business from their own offices or the executive suite, their professional excellence, deal-making prowess, and unwavering advocacy converted promise into channels of prosperity and levers of power. These are the pioneers who withstood the elements–institutional racism, resistance from the business establishment, and lack of resources–to plant a flag on their own patch of territory.

These are the Titans: bold leaders who shattered conventional modes of commerce. Because of their contributions over the past 40 years, the world of business has been transformed forever.

Be sure to pick up the commemorative 40th anniversary August 2010 issue of Black Enterprise, which contains the entire Titans list.

  • Oprah became my hero the moment she stepped on stage in the late 80’s. Up until then I had not seen anyone that looked like me on a talk show. Here was this brown skinned woman who didn’t fit the mold of most women who were on television. She wasn’t supermodel thin and didn’t come from the white pickett fence background. She was intelligent and had a personality larger than life. Congrats to Oprah on 25 years!

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