How The Award Shows Became a Platform for ProtestsBy Kaylin Young
Jan. 10 2018, Updated 11:20 p.m. ET
Award season kicked off Sunday night with the 75th Golden Globes Awards. The night – which typically honors excellence in film and television – paid homage to the women who spoken up about the sexual harassment and abuse in Hollywood. From lengthy speeches to the guests’ black attire to the unexpected activists who appeared as dates, the evening was full of vocal and silent protest.
The color of the evening was black to pay respect to the women who have experienced sexual harassment in light of the #MeToo movement in the past few months. The color palate was coordinated by Time’s Up, a movement and legal defense fund founded by Hollywood elite to support women coming out about workplace sexual harassment in and out of the entertainment industry. Men and women donned (mostly) head-to-toe black in their designer suits and gowns. In the past, colored ribbons were the protest attire of choice, but this years’ color scheme spoke volumes to the fact that there is power in numbers.
While most faces on the carpet were familiar, there were a few newcomers. Several Time’s Up founding members brought prominent women’s activists as their plus-ones.
All the Money in the World actress, Michelle Williams was joined by Tarana Burke, the original founder of the #MeToo hashtag in 2006. Big Little Lies actress, Laura Dern brought Mónica Ramírez, the Board President of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (a non-profit which serves to improve the lives of farmworker women facing sexual assault, domestic abuse, and breast cancer). Meryl Streep attended with Ai-jen Poo, the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance which helps protect domestic workers.
Other dynamic duos included Dern’s BLL co-star, Shailene Woodley and Calina Lawrence, who has advocated for Native treaty rights and Standing Rock movements; Amy Poehler and Saru Jayaraman, co-founder and co-director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United; Susan Sarandon and Rosa Clemente, the first woman of color on the Green Party ticket as vice-presidential candidate in 2008; and Emma Watson and Marai Larasi, the director of Imkaan, a women’s organization dedicated to addressing violence against Black and ‘Minority Ethnic’ (BME) women and girls.
On the red carpet, the activists spoke at length about their core mission in wanting to improve the livelihood of women across all industries in the face of sexual harassment and injustices. On stage, winners and presenters were intentional about expressing their support as well.
While presenting the award for Best Drama, Barbra Streisand said, “I’m very proud to stand in a room with people who speak out against gender inequality, sexual harassment, and the pettiness that has poisoned our politics… And I’m proud that our industry, faced with uncomfortable truths, has vowed to change the way we do business.”
Perhaps the most uplifting moment was Oprah’s acceptance speech for the Cecile B. DeMille Award. Winfrey became the first woman of color to receive the award 66 years after its origin, a fact that she expressed her surprise and humility at during her speech.
“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… 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.”