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Posted by Caribbean World Magazine on 24 January 2021 | 0 Comments

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24 January 2021

Three decades with her partner, four years tolerating Trump’s presidency and two oh-so luxurious waterfront homes in the palm-scattered Caribbean. 

She is a passionate supporter of Caribbean-American Heritage Month each year in June in her native US and in her mega-selling self-titled magazine she often seeks out Caribbean authors to recommend to her millions of readers.Oprah Winfrey, award-winning American talk show host, television producer, actress, author, and billionaire philanthropist, is a frequent visitor to the Caribbean region and admits to only feeling truly relaxed when she is enjoying the oh-so-slow pace of life in the Caribbean where she has two luxurious homes.  

Firstly, a spacious waterfront home on palm-trimmed Paradise Island in The Bahamas just a 30-minute flight from Miami. Secondly, a gorgeous getaway in picturesque Jumby Bay amongst Antigua’s swaying palms. Winfrey is 67 this year and has made R&R downtime a bigger part of her life, since she scaled down her broadcasting commitments. The media mogul, who campaigned actively in support of Obama in 2008, struggled with life in the USA during to the Trump administration and was the target of several of his tirades during his infamous late-night Tweets. Winfrey, who refused to directly respond to Trump's late-night rants, said: 'I don't like giving negativity power' when pressed during an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Her way of coping? Very much in the style of Michele Obama - who famously urged "When they go low, we go high”. Winfrey maintained this dignified silence even when Trump falsely recounted appearing on her final TV talk show - yet it was another of his out-and-out lies. In her final week of shows, Winfreyplayed tribute to her appearances with Will Smith, Michael Jordan, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Beyoncé and Jerry Seinfeld. On her final show she appeared alone. 

Born on January 29, 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississippi, the young Oprah Winfrey could never have imagined she would grow up to become the host of America’s most watched daytime TV show. Her troubled childhood is often credited for her empathetic, natural style with guests and audiences for which she earned her widespread popularity and certainly Oprah Gail Winfrey, who was born to unmarried parents Vernita Lee and Vernon Winfrey on an isolated farmstead, had to learn life skills pretty fast as her parents separated soon after she was born and left her maternal grandmother’s care.She play-acted in front of farm animals and went regularly to church where she addressed the congregation aged two. At six years old Winfrey was sent north to join her mother and two half-brothers in a Milwaukee ghetto, an extremely poor and dangerous neighbourhood. She moved to Nashville, Tennessee to live with her father at twelve years old  - she was happy, safe and fulfilled there but was called back by her mother. Milwaukee’s poor, urban lifestyle had a negative effect on Winfrey as a young teenager, and her problems were compounded by repeated sexual abuse, starting at age nine, by men that others in her family trusted, and very little supervision by her mother.

Books, reading and education were a lifeline for the teenage Oprah who eventually was allowed to return to her father. Winfrey said her father saved her life, giving her guidance, structure, rules and support. He even tasked his daughter to complete weekly book reports learn five new vocabulary words each day. Winfrey became an excellent student, participating as well in the drama club, debate club, and student council. In an Elks Club speaking contest, she won a full scholarship to Tennessee State University. The following year she was invited to a White House Conference on Youth. Winfrey was crowned Miss Fire Prevention by WVOL, a local Nashville radio station, and was hired by the station to read afternoon newscasts - Oprah Winfrey the broadcaster was born.

Today Oprah often spends extended periods in the Caribbean with her partner of more than 30 years author, educator and businessman Stedman Graham. Another frequent travel companion is her best friend Gayle King, who Winfrey met when they were both in their early 20s when working for a TV station in Baltimore. Although Winfrey remains one of the wealthiest women in America she is a generous contributor to charitable organisations and institutions such as Morehouse College, the Harold Washington Library, the United Negro College Fund, and Tennessee State University. She also founded a Girls Leadership Academy in South Africa and supports community-led projects in her “adopted” islands of Antigua and the Bahamas.