Los Angeles, As Oprah Winfrey became the first black woman to receive the Cecil B. DeMille award at the 75th Golden Globe Awards here on Sunday, she called for — in a powerful acceptance speech — a world free of sexual abusers where nobody ever has to say ‘Me too’ again. Winfrey’s inspirational and moving speech, which drew a standing ovation from the Who’s Who of Hollywood, saw her talk about people speaking out the truth and fighting for justice.
“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,” she said in reference to the slew of sexual abuse allegations against men in and outside Hollywood.
Stressing that it’s not just a story affecting the entertainment industry, Winfrey, 63, said: “It’s one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics, or workplace. So I want 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.”
Winfrey took the audience through the story of the late Recy Taylor, a woman who in 1944 was kidnapped and raped, but never got justice. “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,” Winfrey said, her voice exuding the confidence which sets her apart.
Dressed in an all-black number — expressing support to the silent protest against sexual predators — the world-famous talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist said she has attempted through her career “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’ve 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.
“So I want all 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, 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.”
Winfrey had begun her speech by reminiscing about being a young girl in 1964, watching Sidney Poitier become the first black man to win the Academy Award for Best Actor. “I’d never seen a black man being celebrated like that,” Winfrey said of the moment in 1982. “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.”