At the 2018 Golden Globes, Oprah Winfrey made history. She became the first black woman to win the Cecil B DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award – an honorary award presented for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment”. Before Winfrey, Sidney Poitier had become the first black man to win the Academy Award for best actor in 1964 – 18 years later, Poitier was the recipient of the Cecil B DeMille award at the 1982 Golden Globes.
36 years after Sidney Poitier made history, Oprah Winfrey also stamped her name in the history books.
In fact, when she began her speech, she said, “In 1982, Sidney received the Cecil B DeMille award right here at the Golden Globes and 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 same award. “Winfrey carried on to say, “It is an honor – it is an honor and it is a privilege to share the evening with all of them and also with the incredible men and women who have inspired me, who challenged me, who sustained me and made my journey to this stage possible.”
After Reese Witherspoon introduced Winfrey to the stage, the actor and philanthropist used the stage as an opportunity to further address racial injustice and sexual abuse on an evening where Hollywood’s women and men wore black in solidarity for the #MeToo movement.
Oprah then addressed the press and victims of sexual abuse. She noted that recent revelations about Hollywood’s sexual misconduct is not just in the entertainment industry, noting that this issue “transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics, or workplace”. Winfrey went on to say, “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.”
The room was electrified as Oprah Winfrey’s words resonated with everyone, even those watching from their TV screens.
At this point, everyone in the audience was in awe, feeling her raw energy and passion consume them. But Winfrey wasn’t done, she next said, “They’re the women whose names we’ll never know. They are domestic workers and farm workers. 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 politics and business. They’re our athletes in the Olympics and they’re our soldiers in the military.”
Next, Oprah addressed the story of Recy Taylor.
Recy Taylor was a black woman from Alabama that was abducted in 1944 and raped by six men. Powerfully, Oprah 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. 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. Their time is up.”
Next Oprah said with a fire in her heart, “So I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon!” The audience is on their feet at this point, she’s given a standing ovation.
“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.”
After Oprah’s stirring speech, many are calling her to run in the Presidential bid in 2020.
Comedian Sarah Silverman tweeted “Oprah/Michelle 2020.” The actor Leslie Odom Jr wrote, “She’s running. A new day is on the way.” Now it seems to be all anyone can talk about – many say that Oprah is the perfect candidate, the ones Democrats have been searching for.
Whether Oprah Winfrey will run for president or not is unclear, but what we do know: Winfrey’s speech at the Golden Globes was an intense, heartfelt message of solidarity, she projected dignity and offered hope because a new day truly is on the horizon!