A speech “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”; and to much more.
In the times of #MeToo movement and the big and powerful of the Hollywood opening up with sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, Oprah’s Winfrey’s address made an emphatic statement for a global audience, raising and answering questions on the same.
The 75th Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California would be remembered for many things. As the biggest names of the Hollywood turned up draped in black in solidarity with the victims of the sexual harassment, a winners list drawn from a global cultural and geographical background also stood remarkable. But, save for the statement made by the award reception of Oprah Winfrey, the gala would have been miles short of greatness.
After being introduced to the stage by Reese Witherspoon for the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement, Oprah Winfrey knew exactly what needed to be said. She knew the perfect address the crowd sitting in the Grand Hall needed and the follow-up the applauds sought. She delivered a speech which was to be the preamble to the event curated to the MeToo and Time’s Up campaign, intertwining the political, social, and gender nuances but not exceeding the decorum and scope of an award show stage. She made a political commentary which was derived from her personal life and her acting career, and with the ring of “dreams”, “incredible men and women” and “new dawn”, she made it know to “all the girls watching” among others that hope has a new day.
It began with her story, “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”, as she went on to tell the story of the stories, the struggle of dreams being the daughter of a lady, “bone-tired from cleaning other people’s houses”. Her energy gradually culminated like a soprano, cinematically developing from Sidney Poitier to Dennis Swanson, and from the soul wrenching effect of Recy Taylor to the hope in Rosa Parks.
Her address was a story of hope that could not have come from any other place in the universe. Here was a tale which would have been too dramatic for a presidential speech and far too powerless without the jingle of the applauds by the most distinguished professionals in the global cinema. Stories had magic, she knew, and she used stories to create a narrative no number of articles in newspapers and tweets could have ever created.
“So I want all the girls watching here and 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, 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. Thank you.”, thus concluded the most beautiful speech, in all the beauty’s sense, and Oprah Winfrey descended to the thunder of applauds, smiles, and tears.
New York Times, the very next day, came up with an article about her presidential potential and NBC in a since deleted tweet referred to her as “OUR future president”. But all said and done, we could all leave the White House speculations for some time and just bask in the glory of a wonderful speech made with a wonderful motive.
Feature Image Credits: Getty images