Talk-show host, actor, producer and humanitarian Oprah Winfrey earned multiple standing ovations at Sunday’s Golden Globes as she accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award with a moving speech referencing civil rights and Me Too.
Winfrey became the first black woman to be given the award, which was presented in Beverly Hills, California. She spoke about the feelings she had as a young girl watching Sidney Poitier win the best-actor Oscar in 1964 and likened the pride she felt watching Poitier, the first black man to win the best-actor Oscar, to the impact she hoped she could have on young women.
“His tie was white and of course his skin was black and I had never seen a black man being celebrated like that,” Winfrey said.
As her longtime partner Stedman Graham watched from the audience, she told the story of an Alabama woman named Recy Taylor, who died at the age of 97 on December 28, 2017, and her fight for justice after her rape by six white men in 1944.
She expressed gratitude for Taylor and all the women who were silenced when they spoke out about powerful men, the women who worked in factories, farms, as domestic workers and in academia, whose names will never be known.
“For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men,” Winfrey said.
“But their time is up. Their time is up. Their time is up,” she said to a standing ovation.
Winfrey said while there was no justice for Taylor, whose attackers were never prosecuted, her truth lived on in the work of civil rights icon Rosa Parks, an ACLU investigator on Taylor’s case.
“It was somewhere in Rosa Parks’ heart almost 11 years later when she made the decision to stay seated on that bus in Montgomery,” Winfrey said. “And it’s here with every woman who chooses to say, ‘Me too’ and every man, every man who chooses to listen.”
Winfrey, who got her start in television journalism, also thanked the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which gives out the Golden Globes.