Oprah Winfrey took the stage Sunday night at the 75th Golden Globes Awards Show, and although there had already been plenty of social commentary by the time she was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award for “Outstanding Contributions to the World of Entertainment,” nobody was quite ready for what Oprah might say.
Throughout the night, actors and actresses, most of whom were wearing all black in support of the #TimesUp movement – which in itself was almost an offshoot of the #MeToo groundswell of women brave enough to begin to tell their stories of abuse – all left their own mark on what is sure to a widely-discussed, heavily dissected broadcast.
But the Globes’ version of the Lifetime Achievement award went to a woman – the first black woman ever to receive it – who has a vision of America that doesn’t leave much room for abuse, and definitely has no more time for racism and sexism.
In her speech, Oprah never attacked Trump directly, though he might have provided an easy target as precisely the kind of racist, sexist, corrupt abuser that social justice movements seek to stop. But she was unequivocally talking about him and his behavior:
We all know that the press is under siege these days. We also know it’s the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and to injustice. To — 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.”
You can’t even really call that “thinly-veiled” — it’s pretty blatant.
And as hard as Trump has worked to revive the decades and in some cases centuries of oppression of certain groups in America, Oprah named and honored them, calling up their spirits right next to her on the stage: Maids and migrant workers, waiters and widget-builders, scientists, teachers, doctors, athletes, and the soldiers who put their lives on the line for America regardless of whether America has yet accepted them as fully human.
Oprah brought up the case of Recy Taylor, whose story to this day serves as an example of institutionalized racism, sexism, and rape culture in America. But rather than preaching at her by then captive audience, Oprah used the example as a way to encourage others to tell their own stories, and to never stop pursuing justice.
Frankly, we’ll be amazed if Donald Trump doesn’t have some snarky, vitriolic remarks about Oprah’s amazing speech at the Globes by morning, if he’s not already awake in his bed stewing over it. In the meantime, if you missed it, you can watch the speech in its entirety here:
— Golden Globe Awards (@goldenglobes) January 8, 2018
Featured image via Paul Drinkwater/Handout/Getty Images