Sterling K. Brown and Oprah highlight 75th Golden Globes

Oprah in Miami on her The Life You Want tour, October 2014. (From Wikipedia)

Sunday, January 7, Seth Meyers kicked off the 75th annual Golden Globes Awards show in Los Angeles by addressing sexual harassment in Hollywood head-on, taking aim at Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Woody Allen in his opening monologue.

“Good evening ladies and remaining gentlemen,” the host of Late Night with Seth Meyers began. “It’s 2018. Marijuana is finally allowed, and sexual harassment finally isn’t.”

At this year’s ceremony, almost all of the attendees, men and women. were mostly attired in black as a sign of solidarity with the victims of sexual abuse. Many also wore a pin that read “Time’s Up” as part of an initiative, launched last week, to combat workplace harassment.

Speaking of black, the only black winner in a voted category was for Best Actor in a TV Series (Drama), as Emmy-winner Sterling K. Brown won for his role as Randall Pearson on NBC’s This Is Us, against stiff competition from Freddie Highmore, The Good Doctor; Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul; Jason Bateman, Ozark; and Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan.

In his speech, Brown noted what he appreciates most about his role on This Is Us: “I’m being seen for who I am and appreciated for who I am, and it makes it that much more difficult to dismiss me or anyone who looks like me.” He became the first male black actor to win a Golden Globe for Best Lead Actor in a TV Drama.

Actor Sterling K. Brown promoting This is Us at the 2017 paleyfest, 18 March 2017. (photo by Chris Roth /Wikipedia)

Here is his complete acceptance speech:
“Oprah! Don’t want to run out of time, so let me thank my wife: Ryan Michelle Bathe, I love you so much. Thank you for supporting me through this whole thing. To my kids, Andrew and Amari, Daddy will see you. I will take you to school in the morning, I promise.

“I want to thank my cast, which is absolutely amazing. And we take turns leading and supporting one another. I love each and every one of you. To my network, NBC, to Bob and Jennifer, to Fox, to Gary, to Dana.

“But also I want to thank Dan Fogelman. Now, Dan Fogelman, throughout the majority of my career, I have benefited from colorblind casting — which means, you know what, ‘Hey, let’s throw a brother in this role, right?’ It’s always really cool. But Dan Fogelman, 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 am being seen for who I am and being appreciated for who I am. And that makes it that much more difficult to dismiss me, or dismiss anybody who looks like me. So thank you, Dan. Thank you, Hollywood Foreign Press. Peace.”

Oprah Winfrey received several standing O’s (as in ovations) as she became became the first black woman to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes, an honorary award bestowed by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment. Her speech was exquisitely timely and extraordinary in that special Oprah way.

Nashville connections included an introduction by her co-star in the upcoming film A Wrinkle in Time, Reese Witherspoon, and the Nashville connection continued as images and clips from her film acting work played, notably because Winfrey honed her acting craft while a student at East nashville High School and Tennessee State University Her epic acceptance speech has been called “part history lesson, part inspirational sermon, and part call to action.”

Oprah Winfrey’s DeMille Award Acceptance speech

“Thank you, Reese. In 1964, I was a little girl sitting on the linoleum floor of my mother’s house in Milwaukee watching Anne Bancroft present the Oscar for best actor at the 36th Academy Awards. She opened the envelope and said five words that literally made history:” The winner is Sidney Poitier.” Up to the stage came the most elegant man I ever remembered. His tie was white, his skin was black—and he was being celebrated. I’d never seen a black man being celebrated like that. I tried many, many times to explain what a moment like that means to a little girl, a kid watching from the cheap seats as my mom came through the door bone tired from cleaning other people’s houses. But all I can do is quote and say that the explanation in Sidney’s performance in Lilies of the Field: “Amen, amen, amen, amen.”

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. It is an honor—it is an honor and it is a privilege to share the evening with all of them and also with the incredible men and women who have inspired me, who challenged me, who sustained me and made my journey to this stage possible. Dennis Swanson who took a chance on me for A.M. Chicago. Quincy Jones saw me on the show and said to Steven Spielberg, she’s Sophia in ‘The Color Purple.’ Gayle who’s been a friend and Stedman who’s been my rock.

I want to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. We know the press is under siege these days. We also know it’s the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and to injustice. To — to tyrants and victims, and secrets and lies. I want to say that I value the press more than ever before as we try to navigate these complicated times, which brings me to this. What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. And I’m especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories. Each of us in this room are celebrated because of the stories that we tell, and this year we became the story.

But it’s not just a story affecting the entertainment industry. It’s one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics, or workplace. So 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. They’re the women whose names we’ll never know. They are domestic workers and farm workers. They are working in factories and they work in restaurants and they’re in academia, engineering, medicine, and science. They’re part of the world of tech and politics and business. They’re our athletes in the Olympics and they’re our soldiers in the military.

And there’s someone else, Recy Taylor, a name I know and I think you should know, too. In 1944, Recy Taylor was a young wife and mother walking home from a church service she’d attended in Abbeville, Alabama, when she was abducted by six armed white men, raped, and left blindfolded by the side of the road coming home from church. They threatened to kill her if she ever told anyone, but her story was reported to the NAACP where a young worker by the name of Rosa Parks became the lead investigator on her case and together they sought justice. But justice wasn’t an option in the era of Jim Crow. The men who tried to destroy her were never persecuted. Recy Taylor died ten days ago, just shy of her 98th birthday. She lived as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. 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.

Their time is up. And I just hope — I just hope that Recy Taylor died knowing that her truth, like the truth of so many other women who were tormented in those years, and even now tormented, goes marching on. It was somewhere in Rosa Parks’ heart almost 11 years later, when she made the decision to stay seated on that bus in Montgomery, and it’s here with every woman who chooses to say, “Me too.” And every man — every man who chooses to listen.

In my career, what I’ve always tried my best to do, whether on television or through film, is to say something about how men and women really behave. To say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere, and how we overcome. I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who’ve withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights. 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.”