LOS ANGELES – Actress and talk show host Oprah Winfrey delivered a powerful acceptance speech on Sunday at the Golden Globe awards where she discussed sexual abuse, race and gender inequality.
She said “brutally powerful men” have subjugated women for too long and warned that their time is now up.
“For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up,” Winfrey asserted in her strong and uplifting speech to loud cheers and applause, using a phrase which is also the name of a fund launched by 300 powerful women of Hollywood to help unprivileged women in fighting sexual abuse at the workplace.
Winfrey was nominated for the Cecil B. DeMille award for Lifetime Achievement in the 75th Golden Globe awards for being “a role model for women and young girls” and “one of the most influential women of our time,” according to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which hosts the awards.
The producer and entrepreneur had begun her speech recalling how, as a child, she was inspired by Sidney Poitier, who was the first black actor to win the Oscar.
“His tie was white, his skin was black – and he was being celebrated. I’d never seen a black man being celebrated like that,” she said in her speech.
Poitier had also received the DeMille award in 1982 and Winfrey said it was not lost on her that “at this moment, there is some little girl watching as I become the first black woman to be given the same award.”
Winfrey dedicated her award to women and girls who raised their voice against abuses and injustices and recalled the case of Recy Taylor, a young black woman who in 1944 was kidnapped and gang-raped by six armed white men – who were never brought to justice – and left blindfolded by the side of a street.
“She lived as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men,” Winfrey said, adding that Taylor died 10 days ago, just shy of her 98th birthday.
Winfrey said she was inspired by all the women who came forward to share their personal stories as part of the global “Me Too” campaign last year.
“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,” said Winfrey.
Winfrey’s passionate speech also honored female actors in Hollywood who had revealed widespread abuse in the industry in a campaign which began with accusations against producer Harvey Weinstein and later spread out to include more names across various sectors.
The earlier recipients of the Cecil B. DeMille Award include actors Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington, George Clooney, Woody Allen, Jodie Foster, Morgan Freeman and Robert De Niro.