The issue of widespread sexual assault and harassment against women in the entertainment industry – and in American society at large – was front and center at tonight’s Golden Globes.
Legendary media mogul Oprah Winfrey brought down the house tonight with a powerful acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille award, declaring that “a new day is on the horizon!” for women in America – and hopefully the world as well.
Delving into a discussion of race as well as grappling with sexual assault, Winfrey’s powerful speech turned political when she addressed President Donald Trump’s war on the media.
We know the press is under siege these days. We also know it’s the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and to injustice. To—to tyrants and victims, and secrets and lies. I want to say that I value the press more than ever before as we try to navigate these complicated times, which brings me to this: what I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. 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.
But it’s not just a story affecting the entertainment industry. It’s one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics, or workplace. 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 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.
With the specter of Jim Crow and white supremacy rearing its ugly head in the White House and in the policies of Donald Trump and his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, Oprah engaged with the dragon head-on, unafraid to touch on uncomfortable subjects and exposing the darkest aspects of our nation’s past.
And there’s someone else, Recy Taylor, a name I know and I think you should know, too. In 1944, Recy Taylor was a young wife and mother walking home from a church service she’d attended in Abbeville, Alabama, when she was abducted by six armed white men, raped, and left blindfolded by the side of the road coming home from church. They threatened to kill her if she ever told anyone, but her story was reported to the NAACP where a young worker by the name of Rosa Parks became the lead investigator on her case and together they sought justice. But justice wasn’t an option in the era of Jim Crow. The men who tried to destroy her were never persecuted. Recy Taylor died ten 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.
Their time is up. And I just hope—I just hope that Recy Taylor died knowing that her truth, like the truth of so many other women who were tormented in those years, and even now tormented, goes marching on. It was somewhere in Rosa Parks’ heart almost 11 years later, when she made the decision to stay seated on that bus in Montgomery, and it’s here with every woman who chooses to say, “Me too.” And every man—every man who chooses to listen.
Social media instantly burst into speculation about a possible run for the Presidency by Winfrey, so awestruck by the somber power and emotion that she brought to the stage. While it’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not she will, it’s clear that Oprah is preparing bigger role in the public eye – and we can’t wait to find out what that will be.
Watch it here:
“I want all of the girls watching here now to know, that a new day is on the horizon.”
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 8, 2018
This article was published on washingtonpress.com