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Oprah Hosts Tribute to Pioneering Women

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With Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Usher, Barbara Walters and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama among her guests, Oprah Winfrey rolled out the silver carpet at Santa Barbara’s swank Bacara Resort and Spa on Saturday night for a lavish tribute to 25 pioneering black women, including Coretta Scott King, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Della Reese, Maya Angelou and Cicely Tyson.

They were cited for their ongoing contributions to the arts, entertainment and civil rights.

“These are women who, when I was growing up, made a difference for me,” Winfrey, wearing a red Vera Wang ball gown, told reporters beforehand, says the Associated Press. “The first time I saw Diana Ross and the Supremes on the Ed Sullivan Show, it changed my life.”

The previous day, Winfrey, 51, hosted a luncheon at her Montecito home, so guests and honorees could meet. “There was nobody hating on nobody,” said singer Patti LaBelle, who attended that gathering with Mariah Carey and Alicia Keys.

Others at Saturday’s bash included Janet Jackson, Gladys Knight, Halle Berry, Ashanti and California First Lady Maria Shriver.

As the festivities kicked off on Saturday, USA Today reports, the hostess’s boyfriend, Stedman Graham, could be found roaming the Bacara grounds with the couple’s 10-year-old “daughter” Sophie … a cocker spaniel.