This Sunday, Oprah Winfrey, selected as TIME 100 for most times, accepted the Cecil B DeMille Award at Golden Globe Awards, and delivered an inspirational speech in Beverly Hills, California. In her speech, she mentioned her misfortune in her childhood, and the moment she was inspired by the Best Actor of the 36th Oscar Sidney Poitier, the first celebrated actor with black skin, who also received the Cecil B DeMille Award in 1982. Then, she encouraged the press against the complicated time and to keep speaking the truth about corruption and injustice.
The highlight of her speech is that she talked about Recy Taylor, who was raped in 1944 and stood out against the victims as a black woman. By this instance, she expressed the support for “MeToo” and “Time’s Up”, which both are the movement to support women to speak up the experience about sexual misconduct. “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,” she said. “So I want all the girls watching here now to know that a new day is on the horizon.” Her words moved the participants and the whole world through TV and the Internet.
On the Sunday morning, her speech has become the most popular issue through the whole America. This time, according to CNN’s Brian Stelter, the friends close to Oprah have said she is “actively thinking” about running for president in 2020. As this news came out, the public and all the progressives of Oprah could not be happier and believe that she is the one who can beat Trump.
From The Oprah Winfrey Show to the movies and books she published, Oprah has built shared values and humanity through the scaffolding of her voice and the architecture of her moral leadership. “Donald Trump made money. Oprah made a difference,” the CNN Political Commentator Sally Kohn said. In addition, Oprah has given hundreds of millions of dollars to support educational opportunities in the United States, Africa and around the globe. For instance, when Hurricane Katrina and Rita swept over America, Oprah personally donated over 10 million to build homes across Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama for those displaced by the storms. However, her donations being different other celebrities were made but often not publicized.
Besides the huge donation, Oprah’s story is the aspirational story of America. Living in a poor family in which unmarried teenage mother was a housemaid, Oprah suffered from poverty when she was a kid, and she was sexually abused for many times and even got accidentally pregnant at the age of 14, but her son died in infancy. Oprah landed a job in radio while still in high school and began co-anchoring the local evening news at the age of 19. She was both the youngest news anchor and the first black female news anchor at Nashville’s WLAC-TV. In 1983, Oprah relocated to Chicago to host WLS-TV’s low-rated half-hour morning talk show, AM Chicago. Within months after Oprah took over, the show went from last place in the ratings to overtaking Donahue as the highest-rated talk show in Chicago. From then on, Oprah has become the most representative host in the US.
As she made clear in her Golden Globes speech, Oprah knows the unique power she represents. It’s not hard to imagine lines similar to those closing out a speech by Oprah announcing that she is running for president, which is the fact that Oprah is absolutely, 100% aware of. She carefully chose her words which sounded like the rhetoric of a campaign was not by accident and started people talking about what it might be like if she did run for president against Trump. Although she said on CBS’s morning show last fall “There will be no running for office of any kind for me,” and emphasized that she is lack of political experience, however, after Trump took White House, it doesn’t seem like a problem now. Winfrey recently sold part of her stake in OWN but renewed her contract to remain CEO through 2025. It would be relatively easy to step aside from OWN for a presidential campaign. With her deep pocket and deeper well of charisma, it seems like the best timing for her to join the election now.
The touchstone of her speech was the #MeToo movement; she said it would be a “seminal moment for women.” But the moment has yet to happen — which is one of the reasons Sunday’s speech stirred so much attention. Oprah has discussed the prospect of a female president and said “America, it’s about time that we made that decision,” during Clinton’s campaign. Oprah would have a lot of supporters in the entertainment industry. “I want her to run for president,” Streep told The Post. “I don’t think she had any intention [of declaring]. But now she doesn’t have a choice.” After the speech at the Golden Globes, there have been plenty of posts on Twitter and Facebook support her to run the election in 2020.
Her Golden Globes speech was, without question, a first step down a political path. Now we have to see if she keeps walking down it. Although her close friends said that she hasn’t made the final decision, “It’s up to the people,” Oprah’s longtime partner Stedman Graham told a Los Angeles Times reporter. “She would absolutely do it.”
The following is the full text of Oprah Winfrey’s speech as she accepted the Cecil B DeMille Award at Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards:
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 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. And I have tried many, many, many times to explain what a moment like that means to a little girl, a kid watching from the cheap seats as my mom came through the door, bone tired from cleaning other people’s houses. 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 honor – 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. So I want tonight 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 and engineering and medicine and science. They’re part of the world 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, 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. 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.
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. 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. Thank you.