05/30/2005 at 06:00 PM EDT
"This was more than fabulous," says Oprah Winfrey, summing up her Legends Ball weekend May 13-15. "It was extra. It defined the word 'extraordinary' – historic."
If Oprah Winfrey throws a party and says it should be cited in Webster's, believe her: Her three-day tribute to great African-American women was noble, lavish, starry, giddy, chatty, weepy – and stage-managed by Winfrey, 51, down to the nth detail.
The 25 "legends" (including Tina Turner, Coretta Scott King and Maya Angelou) were feted by 42 "young 'uns," (Halle Berry, Angela Bassett and Mariah Carey). "When I saw the list of names, it just got better and better as I read down it," says Berry.
But the party was more than just the talk show host's latest Wildest Dream fantasy and more than a chance to outdo her 50th-birthday lollapalooza, thrown last year with the help of planner Colin Cowie. "It was a divine vision," says Winfrey. "God can dream a bigger dream for you than you can dream for yourself."