In 1996, TLC Beatrice had sales of $2.2 billion and was number 512 on Fortune magazine's list of 1,000 largest companies. Despite being rich Oprah went through many problems in her life. The childhood's and careers, of Reginald Lewis founder of TLC Beatrice Foods and the talk show host Oprah WinFrey differ, yet their determination was the same. .
The childhood's of Lewis and Oprah differ. Lewis lived in a middle class Baltimore home with his mother and father until they separated when Lewis was five. After he moved in with his grandparents he enrolled in Catholic school, where he was involved in several confrontation with his teachers. He was told he would become nothing more than a carpenter, but still he was strong-willed, and later went on to earn a football scholarship to Virginia State College. Unlike Lewis, Oprah lived a dysfunctional life in Kosciuke, Mississippi. While living with her mother, she was sexually abused by relatives at the age of nine. Despite the traumatic beginning her precociousness led to her receiving an academic scholarship to Tennessee State University. .
Even thought they both struggled in as children they became successful black millionaires differently. Lewis inspiration led him to open TLC Group, a venture capital firm. After buying Beatrice International Foods, the Baltimore native created TLC Beatrice. It was a snack food, beverage, and grocery store that was the largest black-managed, and " First and only black-owned company to break the $1 billion revenues barrier," written in Black Enterprise in 1988. Oprah success started to skyrocket, when she obtained a job as a co-host on WJZ's morning talk show, People Are Talking. After she was offered a job, as a host of the talk show A.M. Chicago, her ratings equaled her opponent Phil Donahue's popular morning show after only a month. By the following year her show was so successful it was renamed " The Oprah WinFrey Show.