Oprah’s Inspirational Golden Globes Speech Put the Spotlight on Gender and Racial Injustice
Her speech even has people calling for a presidential bid.
Sunday night’s Golden Globes award show belonged to the women of Hollywood — in particular, the night belonged to Oprah Winfrey.
“Time’s up” was the main point made at this year’s awards ceremony. Women will no longer tolerate sexual misconduct in the workplace — and they certainly won’t stay silent about it any longer.
From Elisabeth Moss to Nicole Kidman to Rachel Brosnahan, women were recognized for their work portraying complex female characters. And several of these actresses used their acceptance speeches to highlight gender inequality in the entertainment industry and other fields.
Moss dedicated her award to Margaret Atwood, author of “The Handmaid’s Tale” on which Moss’s show is based, while Kidman used her win to talk about domestic violence, from which her character in “Big Little Lies” suffered, and the “power of women” on her female-centric show.
But it was Winfrey who stole the show as she accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.”
In a rousing speech, Winfrey — the first black woman to have received the award — addressed both racial and gender inequality.
“It is not lost on me that at this moment, there are some little girls watching as I become the first black woman to be given this...award,” she said. “It is an honor.”
But she quickly turned the spotlight away from herself to draw attention to the achievements of other women in the room.
“Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have,” Winfrey said. “And I'm especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories. Each of us in this room are celebrated because of the stories that we tell, and this year we became the story.”
And though Winfrey has been a power player in the entertainment industry for decades now, she was mindful of the fact that women across industries are fighting uphill battles against sexual harassment and gender inequality.
“I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue,” she poignantly said. “They're the women whose names we'll never know.”
Echoing the commitment of the “Time’s Up” movement, Winfrey noted the sacrifices and suffering of women in every field from agriculture to academia, from medicine to the military.
But she called attention to one woman in particular: Recy Taylor.
In 1944, Taylor, a black female farmer in Abbeville, Alabama, was gang raped by six white men as she walked home from church, the New York Times reported. Taylor, who died at the age of 97 last month, fought for justice after being gang raped but she never got it.
“Justice wasn't an option in the era of Jim Crow. The men who tried to destroy her were never persecuted,” Winfrey said. “Recy Taylor died 10 days ago, just shy of her 98th birthday. She lived as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men.”
And with that Winfrey pivoted back to the present time where hundreds of thousands of women recently said #MeToo, bringing their own stories of sexual harassment and assault to light.
“For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up,” Winfrey said. “I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say "me too" again.”
Winfrey’s speech received a standing ovation from those in the audience at the awards show, and overwhelming show of support on social media, including calls for a presidential bid in 2020.
When Oprah is speaking at the Golden Globes and your goals shift to VP... pic.twitter.com/3ghEVMmCwF— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) January 8, 2018
I don’t want Oprah to run for president. I just want to implant a tiny clone of her into everyone’s brains so they make the best choices and live their best lives IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK SCIENCE— Robin Thede (@robinthede) January 8, 2018
YOU GET A HORIZON. YOU GET A HORIZON. EVERYONE GETS A NEW HORIZON!!!— Akilah Hughes (@AkilahObviously) January 8, 2018
Global Citizen campaigns for freedom, for justice, for all. Take action here to support gender equality and help protect women around the world from sexual violence.