golden globes by Julia Ismail January 8, 2018
Oprah Winfrey is arguably the most powerful woman out here today. She is the first Black woman to own and produce her own talkshow, a self-made billionaire, and now the first woman to receive the Cecil B. DeMille award.
Over the years Oprah has blessed us with so much greatness it’s hard to keep track of all of her accomplishments. Last night at the Golden Globes, the TV host delivered a speech so impactful it left the viewing audience and media in a daze.
Oprah’s speech touched on the subjects of importance in 2017: Sexual harassment, progression of female empowerment, and the degradation of the racial and political climate of our country.
Oprah’s speech provided us with more than a timeline of the issues that have been brought to light. It was moving, and full of important issues that are more relevant than ever to discuss.
Last night, Oprah was given the Cecil B. DeMille award for “best outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment,” making her the first Black female recipient of the award.
In her acceptance speech, Oprah addressed the issues of sex and race through her own experiences as a child and a woman in the entertainment industry. She recalled, as a little girl sitting on her mother’s floor, she sat watching in amazement as Bahamian actor Sidney Poitier won the Oscar for Best Actor at the 36th Academy Awards in 1964.
“Up to the stage came the most elegant man I had ever seen. I remembered his tie was white, and of course his skin was black, and I’d never seen a black man being celebrated like that. I tried many, many, many times to explain what a moment like that means to a little girl, a kid watching from the cheap seats as my mom came through the door bone tired from cleaning other people’s houses.”
Years later, Sidney went on to receive the 1982 Cecil B. DeMille Award, leaving history in his wake. If any female in Hollywood today deserves to be recognized, it’s Oprah. For all her contributions to society today, there has been no one who’s more deserving of the prize than Oprah.
While it may not seem like it, the #MeToo movement brought to light important issues that we have swept under the rug for entirely too long.
After the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, #MeToo took off, with women from every part of the world sharing their sexual harassment stories.
Last night, in support of the ‘#TimesUp’ movement, attendees of the Golden Globes wore all black. In her speech, Oprah took on the state of sexism and sexual harassment in the entertainment industry and beyond.
“So 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. They’re the women whose names we’ll never know. They are domestic workers and farmworkers. They are working in factories and they work in restaurants and they’re in academia, engineering, medicine and science. They’re part of the world of tech and in politics and business. They’re our athletes in the Olympics and they’re our soldiers in the military.”
Originally, the sexual harassment allegations primarily focused on the figures that run Hollywood today, shattering the image of Hollywood. As it progressed, we were able to see just how far sexual harassment has extended.
While the original scandals might have been sectored within Hollywood, Oprah’s awareness of how widespread these issues have become really spoke to the audience, as well as the world.
Some might argue that Oprah’s speech may have larger implications, such as Oprah moving into politics.
After Golden Globes host Seth Meyers hinted at Oprah’s possible presidential run, reports began coming out that might she might have been doing much more than just sharing her feelings in her recent speech.
BBC broke down Oprah’s speech into components of rhetoric: “Personal touch, Statement of purpose, Compelling anecdote, Call to action.” While it can’t be denied that Oprah’s speech came from the heart, perhaps there is possibility for larger plans in 2020.
“What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.”
Amen to that, sis.
Oprah has been, and continues to be, an impactful activist and game changer in the media for women, Black people, and people of color. She is one of the most successful people walking this earth, giving hope to those who feel that their racial or economic background may be hindering their professional or personal success.
In her speech, Oprah mentioned Recy Taylor, a Black wife and mother who was brutally raped by 6 armed white men who were never punished for their actions in 1944.
While we still have a long way to go, Oprah’s mention of Recy shows us that, though our progression has been slow, we can change for the better.
“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 for too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared speak their truth to the power of those men. But their time is up, their time is up.”
If Oprah’s speech has taught us anything, it’s that 2018 is the year to make amends. As dark as 2017 might have been on our nation, the only thing we can do now is move forward with the blessings that have been given to us.
2018 started with a bang, positivity flowing from all directions. It’s up to us to keep the momentum going.