This year’s Golden Globes was special. Not just because Oprah Winfrey received the Cecil B. Demille Lifetime Achievement Award, making her the first Black woman to do so. It’s an award she rightly earned. Just look at what she’s done: Winfrey was known as the queen of the daytime talk show with The Oprah Winfrey Show, which ran for 25 seasons from 1986 to 2011, while also acting in lead roles in critically acclaimed movies (many of which she also produced [Boss move!]). In 1985, she costarred in Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple, a role for which she received a Golden Globe nomination. In 1998, she produced and starred in the movie adaptation of Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Beloved, and later in Lee Daniels’ The Butler and Ava DuVernay’s Selma. She is also the Chairman and CEO of the cable network, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, and founder of O, The Oprah Magazine.
But the award isn’t what made the night special, it was what Oprah said in her acceptance speech that made people proud, while they shed a tear and had their insides jump for joy.
“What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have,” exclaimed Oprah. “I’m especially proud and inspired by all the woman who felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories.”
Attendees at Sunday’s Golden Globes protested sexual harassment and sexual assault in Hollywood by promoting the new Time’s Up initiative and also wearing black to express unity.
“This year, we became the story. But it’s not just a story affecting the entertainment industry, it’s one that transcends any culture, or workplace,” Winfrey said, before noting that sexual misconduct affects women and men in industries that stretch beyond Hollywood.
Winfrey then took us to church by telling the story of Recy Taylor, who was raped by a group of white men who never got convicted.
Recy Taylor was a black woman from Abbeville in Henry County, Alabama, US. On September 3, 1944, she was kidnapped while leaving church and gang-raped by six white men. Even though the men admitted the rape to authorities, two grand juries subsequently declined to indict the men, meaning no charges were ever brought against her six assailants.
In 2011, the Alabama House of Representatives apologized on behalf of the state “for its failure to prosecute her attackers.” Taylor’s rape and the subsequent court cases were among the first instances of nationwide protest and activism among the African American community, and ended up providing an early organizational spark for the Civil Rights Movement.
“Recy Taylor died 10 days ago. She lived too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. Women were not believed,” Winfrey said, before talking directly to the abusive men, “their time is up.
Winfrey closed her speech with a call for unity: “I want all the girls watching to know 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 they are the leaders to take us to the time where nobody has to say ‘me too’ again.”
Post courtesy of BlackDoctor.org.