Oprah Winfrey


Oprah Winfrey turned twenty-one on January 29, 1975. She was attending Tennessee State University in Nashville, where she studied communication. Nashville was a record 75.9° Fahrenheit on Oprah’s twenty-first.

Oprah was working at Nashville’s WLAC-TV as the first black female and youngest ever news anchor. She would move to Baltimore later that year to co-anchor the six o’clock news on Baltimore’s WJZ-TV. She had to choose between the job and graduating from Tennessee State. She chose the job.

Oprah was dating William “Bubba” Taylor, who she would break up later that year because he didn’t want to move to Baltimore with her. While Oprah was twenty-one, she began her famous friendship with her current magazine editor Gayle King.

She talked about this time in her life in an Entertainment Executive interview: “It was very uncomfortable for me at first because when I first started as a broadcaster, I was 19. Very insecure. Thrown into television, pretending to be Barbara Walters, looking nothing like her. And still going to college. So I’d do all my classes in the morning, from eight o’clock to one o’clock, and in the afternoon, I’d work from two o’clock to ten o’clock and did the six o’clock news. And I would stay up and study and all that until one, two, three o’clock in the morning, and then just start the routine all over again. My classmates were so jealous of me, that I remember like, taking my little $115 paycheck – and at the time I thought it was really a lot – and trying to appease them. Anytime anybody needed any money, I was always offering, “Oh, you need ten dollars?” Or taking them out for pizza, ordering pizza for the class, things like that. That whole “disease to please.” That’s where it was the worst for me, I think, because I had wanted to be accepted by them, and could not be. First of all, I didn’t have the time. They wanted me to pledge, and I didn’t have the time to pledge. I didn’t have the time to be a part of all the other college activities, or a part of that whole lifestyle. And it was very difficult for me socially. Really one of the worst times of my life, because I was trying to fit in at school, and be a part of that culture, but also trying to build a career in television.”


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