Oprah Winfrey, or should we say the next leader of the free world after the Golden Globe Awards, accepted the Cecil B. de Mille Award at the prestigious 2018 ceremony and made a speech that had everyone on their feet. “I want all of the girls watching here now to know that a new day is on the horizon,” she said, as the audience applauded.
If you haven’t already watched the Golden Globes or seen the speech doing its rounds on social media, we suggest you watch it immediately. And after that, you sit your kids down and have them watch it too.
And this, in our break-down of the speech, is why.
Oprah took to the stage dressed in black, like the other talented individuals in the room, as part of the Time’s Up movement's stand against sexual harassment. This was of course in response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal and subsequent #MeToo campaign still making headlines.
- Also read: Will you raise your sons to become like Harvey Weinstein? Watch Big Bang Theory's Mayim Bialik respond
She opens her speech explaining that when she was younger, in 1964 to be exact, and watching the Golden Globes on the floor of her mother’s home, it was a huge moment for her to see Sidney Poitier win the award for best actor at the 36th Academy Awards. She explained that she had never before seen a black man being celebrated in the way that he was.
Sidney Poitier then also went on to receive the Cecil B. de Mille award in 1992 for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment. And she says, “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.”
As her mother came home “bone-tired” from work because she needed to put food on the table, a young Oprah sat in the “cheap seats” watching the award shows. She was moved and inspired, just as we hope our daughters will be after seeing this, because things were changing then and they certainly are now.
But in order for things to keep changing, our girls, much like the women who were courageous enough to come forward with the recent sexual harassment claims, will have to speak up and stand up for themselves.
“Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have,” she says.
She talks about all the women who have endured the struggle for much too long, mentioning Recy Taylor’s brutal gang rape in 1944 by 6 white men, who were never prosecuted.
“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 dared to speak their truth to the power of those men.
“But their time is up.”
With this sentiment she explains that no longer will women be silenced, and it’s up to our girls, and boys, to make sure that things continue to change so that we don’t live in a world where such injustice continues. And we now, more than ever before, have the disposition and drive to ensure it doesn’t and hope to believe it won’t.
“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 the ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights.
“So I want all of the girls watching here now to know that a new day is on the horizon. And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, 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 #MeToo.”
- Also read: Disney encourages girls to dream big
Now, I can’t say exactly what I, as a young and impressionable woman, would have felt years ago, but I can say what I hope my daughters – and sons – will.
I hope they will feel something greater than moved and inspired. And I hope they will have the courage to do more with that feeling than what has come to be expected from them in a culture broken, but not beyond repair.
I hope they will feel stirred, impassioned and exhilarated.
I hope they feel restless, renewed and then determined.
I hope they know that this is just the beginning, and one Oprah Winfrey is an example but not the exception in a culture filled with powerful patrons. I hope they know not to shy away from powerful people but instead become one of those people in their own right. And I hope they know that it all starts with them speaking their truth.
So after watching this, I hope our daughters feel something even greater than moved and inspired. I hope they feel empowered. I hope they feel free.
How do you feel about Oprah's 2018 Golden Globes speech? Will you be showing your daughters her speech? Tell us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we may publish your comments.
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