Golden Globes Awards enthusiasts witnessed an historical event in many ways.
Golden nuggets emanating from the night saw never before witnessed solidarity as stars supported the Time’s Up movement by donning all black. Then there was Debra Messing calling out E! for underpaying a former female anchor, Catt Sadler, and This Is Us star Sterling Knight becoming the first African American man to win best actor in a drama.
However, Brown was not alone in achieving personal milestone recognition as part of the ceremony. Popular media mogul and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey also shattered a record by becoming the first black woman to be awarded the Cecile B. DeMille trophy.
This award is presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) to individuals who have shown remarkable and significant impact on the entertainment industry, and to be sure, it is surprising that Oprah had not been named previously.
In her acceptance speech, Oprah did not disappoint. She gave a powerful, inspirational and moving oration that illuminated women’s issues, abuse, and her support for the press. Clearly, many in the audience were moved to tears before speech ended.
“At this moment, there are some little girls watching as I become the first black woman to be given this award,” Winfrey said, after recounting a moment from her childhood when actor Sidney Poitier became the first black person to win an Oscar for best actor.
She continued, “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.”
Oprah went on to laud the efforts of working women who labor to support their families, rise to new heights, and to strive to make their voices heard. She drew attention to a woman by the name of Recy Taylor, who in 1944 suffered violent gang rape by six white men. With the help of Rosa Parks, Taylor launched a campaign for justice which did not end until her death on December 28, 2017.
“For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power to those men, but their time is up. Their time is up!” Oprah said. “I just hope that Recy Taylor died knowing …her truth, even now, goes marching on.”
In addition, Oprah noted the #MeToo movement and the need for honest reporting by the press in helping both men and women to truthfully come forward. She acknowledged her own experience, being a victim of sexual abuse, and rape, at the tender age of just 9-years-old.
“What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have,” she said. “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 we tell and this year we became the stories. It’s one that transcends and culture, geography politics or workplace.”
She added, “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.”
“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!” she concluded the speech as the room rose for a standing ovation.
This was Oprah’s first Golden Globes Award win, but she was previously nominated in 1986 for her performance in The Color Purple.
You can watch the entire acceptance speech below:
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