The last eight months has seen a spotlight on the endemic, engrained corrupt and abusive environment and people that have been controlling many different fields from the glittered streets of Hollywood to the gilded halls of the Capital. From op-ed pieces exposing abuse to social media campaigns, people have found community, support, and ability to use their voices.
The 75th Golden Globes saw the visual protest and marker of solidarity with attendees wearing the color black and wearing the Time’s Up pin. The Time’s Up campaign and organization has helped to connect many different women in different fields and circles to provide legal assistance and support in combating sexual abuse, harassment, and work inequality.
Men and women who walked the red carpet at the Golden Globes were showing their support and adding their name to helping to stop the injustices, violence, and erasure that many different people have felt throughout the years. Debra Messing called out E! News for the continual gender pay inequality practices. Natalie Portman brought attention to the blatant sexism surrounding Directors. And it wasn’t just in what the attendees were wearing that made this year’s Golden Globes feel different.
The Golden Globes was also the site for three historic wins – Sterling K. Brown became the first African American to win Best Actor in a Television Drama. In his acceptance speech he brings to attention the need for Hollywood to write more roles like the one he portrays in “This Is Us.”:
“Dan Fogleman, you wrote a role for a black man. That could only be played by a black man. And so, what I appreciate so much about this thing is that I've been seen for who I am and being appreciated for who I am. And it makes it that much more difficult to dismiss me, or dismiss anybody who looks like me.”1
Aziz Ansari became the first Asian American to win Best Actor in Television Comedy for his Netflix series Master of None. But the night goes to Oprah Winfrey. She was awarded the Cecil B DeMille Award, an honorary award given to a person who has exhibited outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment. Oprah became the first African American Woman to receive this honor. Her speech shows exactly why she was chosen and why it matters.
“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.”2
I have been ambivalent towards Oprah for many years, but hearing that speech tonight, feeling my spirits rise, my hope rekindled, and wiping the steady flow of tears being shed I was again indebted to the fact that there is such power in speech, in the ability to pen words to mouth what thousands have been feeling since November 2016.
The time has come for women’s voices, for minority voices, for the disenfranchised, for the poor, for all those that have been silenced, been robbed or intimated to not speak to lift their voices in a cacophony, a shouting that even the heavens will tremble.
Why now? What makes this time, this moment in history ripe for this call of change, this rising in solidarity? Why when centuries of mistreatment, abuse, and erasure have come and gone? Is it because we are learning from our mistakes? Are we more educated and more self-aware? Are we living in the age where all genders, all races, all religions will finally be equal?
I can’t help but think maybe it took half our nation to elect the worst possible candidate to office, for the other half to take hold, push back, continue to rise in stronger numbers for us to realize that we are not living our best lives, the American Dream is not being achieved by many of its citizens and residents. I see this current presidency as a mirror reflection – a reflection that I do not want to continue. Reminiscent of when Frodo looks into The Mirror of Galadriel and it shows, "things that were, and things that are, and things that yet may be”3
This current presidency and its policies and actions and even the temperature of the nature are examples of what needs to end, the rotting dead branch that needs to be cut for the tree to survive. It is a benchmark for us to rise and rise and rise. I also see a link in the fact that it was a woman showing a male what was, is, and could be – correlating how it is women front and center in this collective movement towards gender equality and sexual justice. The Women’s March of 2017 was a global protest and continues to galvanize people.
No longer can we stay silent or let others keep us silent. Leonardo de Vinci, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, and Elie Wiesel have all poignantly stated that silence is complicity, that through silence the corrupt and power controlling masses will continue to press on. And while these quotes can be used time and time again, sometimes a mundane and silly reference or quote can be just as powerful and highlight the truth in such things. I had always been moved by the speech given in the film Independence Day by Bill Pullman’s character, and I concluded last night because at the core, the speech is about raging against the oppressor, about fighting an uphill fight, and finding your voice in that struggle. And I found that this quote sums up best how I view what and how we need to continue our protests, our solidarity, and our progress – as it truly is – a fight for our very survival: “…The day when the world declared in one voice, 'We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on, we're going to survive.' Today we celebrate our Independence Day!"4
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings, Book II, Chapter 7.
Independence Day Film