Oprah Winfrey Ushers In "The Time When Nobody Ever Has To Say 'Me Too' Again"
Hollywood award shows reached an all-time high at the 2018 Golden Globes when Oprah Winfrey delivered one of the most powerful and moving acceptance speeches in the show's seven-decade long history.
While not awarded for any particular film or television performance, Oprah was recognized for something much more memorable.
She ended her night with a Cecile B. DeMille award in hand after a touching introduction by Resse Witherspoon. The award is one of the highest honors an actor or actress can receive during the Golden Globes, and is given to celebrities that have positively impacted the entertainment industry through their body of work and other advocacies.
Oprah is the first black woman to receive this award since it was first given in 1952, and only the fourth African-American to get it. Her acceptance speech will be one shown in classrooms, looked to for inspiration, reviewed for inspiring quotes, and definitely be one for the books—watch it yourself and try not to reach for a box of tissues.
The queen of daytime television turned full-time philanthropist and chairman and CEO of the Oprah Winfrey Network began her speech by recalling a time in 1964, when she was just a girl watching Sidney Poitier receive the same award. She says that she had never seen a black man be given such an honor, and the image remained with her after all these years.
Oprah, a survivor of sexual abuse herself, then focused her speech by acknowledging the fact that many young girls and women were watching her at that very moment, and the message she wanted to tell them was that a new dawn was about to break—a dawn when injustices would not be tolerated, when shame would be replaced by courage, and when women would finally be heard and believed.
She referenced other moments in history that highlighted her message, most notably that of Recy Taylor. Taylor was a black woman who was kidnapped and raped by white men in the 40s and never found justice, passing away a mere 10 days before the Golden Globes. According to Oprah and the women like her fighting for social change, there is renewed hope that there would be no more stories like that of Taylor's ever again.
The nine-minute speech seemed to not go on long enough.
With her heart in her words, Oprah brought her A-list audience to their feet, bringing both men and women to tears and thunderous applause.
A few moments after she sat back down, Oprah reacted to joking musings by her followers and Golden Globes host Seth Meyers about her running for president with Tom Hanks as a vice president in the next US elections. The hashtag #Oprah2020 has even started making the rounds on social media, but the media mogul has made it clear that politics is out of the question—for now.
In a rousing ending, Oprah closed her monologue with words that touched millions around the world: "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."
Take the time to read the full speech below. We promise that it's worth it, and a great way to feel like 2018 will be a more hopeful year to come.
"Hi. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you all. OK. OK. Thank you, Reese. In 1964, I was a little girl sitting on the linoleum floor of my mother's house in Milwaukee watching Anne Bancroft present the Oscar for Best Actor at the 36th Academy Awards," she said.
"She opened the envelope, and said five words that literally made history: 'The winner is Sidney Poitier.' Up to the stage came the most elegant man I had ever seen.
"I remember his tie was white and, of course, his skin was black. And I'd never seen a black man being celebrated like that.
"But all I can do is quote and say that the explanation in Sidney's performance in Lilies of the Field, 'Amen, amen. Amen, amen'.
"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.
"It is an honour. 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 inspire me, who challenge me, who sustain me, and made my journey to this stage possible.
"Dennis Swanson, who took a chance on me for AM Chicago. Quincy Jones, who saw me on that show and said to Steven Spielberg: "Yes, she is Sofia in The Color Purple. Gayle, who has been the definition of what a friend is. And Stedman, who has been my rock. Just a few to name.
"I'd like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association because we all know that the press is under siege these days, but we also know that it is the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and to injustice, 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.
"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 and engineering and medicine and science.
"They're part of the word of tech and politics and business. They are athletes in the Olympics and they are soldiers in the military.
"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 a mother. She was just walking home from the 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 (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People), 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 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.
"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.
"In my career what I've always tried my best to do, whether on television or through film, is to say something about how men and women really behave, to say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere, and how we overcome.
"I've interviewed and portrayed people who have withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights.
"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.