“We all lived in the culture, broken cruel powerful men.” Talking to Oprah Winfrey on sexual violence and women’s courage
American actress and TV host Oprah Winfrey on Sunday 7 January 2018 at the ceremony “Golden globe” won the prize Cecil B. De Mille — from 1952 presents American foreign press Association for outstanding achievements in film. Forbes Woman publishes Winfrey’s speech delivered at the ceremony.
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In 1964, I was a little girl and sitting on the linoleum in my mother’s house in Milwaukee, looked like Anne Bancroft was declared the winner in the nomination for best actor for 36th Oscars. She opened the envelope and uttered the 5 words that literally made history: “Winner — Sidney Poitier”. On the stage stood the most elegant man I ever saw: I remember he had a white tie and of course dark skin. I’ve never seen so glorified dark-skinned man. And I tried many times to explain what this moment means to a little girl who was watching him from the cheap seats, while her mother went into the house, exhausted after cleaning other people’s homes. But all I can do is to quote and give an explanation of the role of Sidney in the movie “lilies of the Field”: “Amen, Amen.”
In 1982, Sidney received the award Cecil B. DeMille here on “the Gold globe” and I do not forget that now any little girls watch as I become the first black woman that gets the same reward.
It was an honor and a privilege to share this evening with all of them and with incredible men and women who inspired me, put in front of me calls, supported me and made possible my journey to this stage. Dennis Swanson, who took a chance by giving me a role in the show AM Chicago. Quincy Jones, who saw me at this show and said to Steven Spielberg: “That’s Sophia from “Color purple”. Gale, who embodied the definition of a friend. And Steadman, who became my rock. It is to call only some.
I would like to thank the foreign press Association of Hollywood, because we all know that the press is today under attack, but we know that infinite devotion to the discovery of absolute truth helps us not close our eyes to corruption and injustice, tyrants and victims, secrets and lies. I want to say that I appreciate the press is stronger than ever before — now, when we are trying to set a course in these challenging times. And this, in turn, leads me to the following: what I do know is the fact that the ability to tell the truth — the most powerful tool that is in each of us. And I am especially proud of and inspired by all those women who have felt the strength to speak out and share their personal stories. Each of us in this room became known through the stories that it tells, and this year we ourselves become history. But it’s not just a story about the entertainment industry. This is a story that goes beyond any culture, geography, religion, politics, or place of work. And today I want to thank all the women who survived years of abuse and attacks, because they, like my mother had to feed the children, pay the bills and follow your dream.
Women whose names we do not know. The housekeeper and female employees of the farms. Employees of factories, restaurants, members of the academic community, engineers, physicians and scientists. Representatives of the technology sector, politics, and business. Olympic athletes and soldiers in the army.
But there are still some- of Resi Taylor. The name that I know, and I think that it should know you. In 1944, the Resi Taylor was a young wife and mother. She was just walking home from a Church service in Abbeville, Alabama, when she was kidnapped by six armed white men, raped and dumped blindfolded at the road leading to the house from the Church. They threatened to kill her if she told anyone about it, but her story came to the NAACP (national Association for the advancement of colored people — Forbes Woman), where a young employee by the name of Rosa parks led the investigation into the matter. Together they sought justice. But justice was not possible in the era of Jim crow. Men who tried to destroy her, never appeared before the court. Of resi Taylor died 10 days ago, on the eve of his 98th birthday. She, like all of us, lived in the culture, broken cruel powerful men.
For too long women have not heard or did not believe them, when they found the resolve to speak out against the power of these men. But their time came to an end.
Their time came to an end. I just hope the Resi Taylor died without knowing her truth, as the truth of many other women who were exhausted in those years, and being tortured now, continues to go around the world. It was in the heart of Rosa parks, nearly 11 years later, when she decided not to give place (to a white passenger — Forbes Woman) on the bus in Montgomery, and today she is every woman who decides to say “Me too”, and every man who decides to listen.
I always tried to do in his career — on television or in film is to say something about how men and women behave in fact, to show how we feel shame, love and anger as experiencing failure as retreat, as we continue to move forward and how to overcome difficulties. I played the role and was interviewing people, faced with the most ugly things that can throw you a life, but the quality seems to have each of them is the ability to keep hope that there will come a Sunny morning, even in the darkest of nights. And I want all the girls who are watching us now know that a new day is on the horizon.
And when the new day finally arrives, it will happen with many beautiful women, many of whom today are sitting in this room, and extraordinary men who are struggling to become leaders, leading us into the future, where nobody will have to say “Me too”.