#8 Oprah Winfrey

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  • USA 
  • Media proprietor, actress, author and philanthropist

 

Not only is the American daytime TV queen the only black billionaire in North America, Oprah, 62, is also ranked as the greatest black philanthropist in US history. Her passion for media helped her rise above the rape, abuse and poverty she experienced in her Mississippi childhood. Since launching the Oprah Winfrey show in 1984, the influence she has developed cannot be underestimated. Oprah’s endorsement of Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary race reportedly contributed over a million votes to his campaign. This ‘Oprah Effect’ has been credited with motivating millions of people to read more, think about animal rights, be more altruistic, consider the implications of war and conflict and become more tolerant of ethnic, religious and sexual diversity.

Oprah has even emerged as a new age spiritual leader in her own right, preaching positivity and purpose. Her two international charities, Angel Network and Leadership Academy for Girls, have also seen her emerge as an impactful humanitarian..

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