THAT Oprah Winfrey Speech | Time’s Up

THAT Oprah Winfrey Speech | Time’s Up

Something happened whilst I slept last night. In fact, something amazing happened. Oprah spoke. You see during the night the 75th Golden Globes Awards show aired and it made many statements. Normally one of the biggest things on people’s lips after an awards ceremony is the clothing worn, but this year this narrative has a completely different meaning. Most of the actresses chose to wore black in support of the Time’s Up movement.

Time’s Up

The Time’s Up movement was founded in 2018 to make a statement against sexual harassment in light of the sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein and other big name male stars in Hollywood. It’s a movement that stemmed organically from the #MeToo movement founded by civil rights activist Tarana Burke in 2006 which was to highlight the extent of sexual abuse and assault in society. Although such a simple move, showing solidarity by wearing black (from both the male and female actresses and producers) speaks loudly that time truly is up for blindly accepting one of the most widely known ‘secrets’ in Hollywood.

Time's Up movement image

Image courtesy of timesupnow.com

The speech

Aside from the clothing, what was said at the awards show was undoubtedly the biggest stand out. If you’ve read any bit of social media over the last few hours (or days depending on when you’re reading this!), you’d have heard that Oprah Winfrey delivered a very moving speech. Oprah is the first black woman to have won the Cecille B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement. You may have heard a bit of the speech, or maybe all of it. Well, this morning when I woke up I decided to do a bit of news reading and came across Oprah’s speech. After listening to her speech I found I had a few tears in my eyes. Not because the speech is particularly sad, but more for the fact that so much truth had been spoken and with a lot of power in the words. It also gave me a stir in the spirit that things are definitely changing. I was also very proud to be a woman. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a feminist (simply because I have not invested much into truly understanding what that term really means), but I am all about empowerment. After listening to Oprah’s speech, I felt truly empowered.




If you have not heard the speech I’ve managed to get the transcript of it from the CNN website. So for the sake of referencing, here’s the full speech:

Oprah’s full speech

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 had ever seen. I remember his tie was white, and of course his skin was black, and I had 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 who saw me on that show and said to Steven Spielberg, “Yes, she is Sophia in ‘The Color Purple.'” Gayle who has been the definition of what a friend is, and Stedman who has been my rock — just a few to name.

I want to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association because we all 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.
– Full transcript obtained from CNN.com 

Final Thoughts

This speech by Oprah not only spoke truths that needed to be heard, but it also told a story. In fact, many stories were told in this one speech. Not only did we hear Oprah’s story, but that of Sydney Poitier and Recy Taylor. We also heard our own story. The experiences of not just Hollywood stars, but also the story of Susan the teacher, Iyawa the Engineer and Kajal the scientist. It also highlighted that despite the ugliness of hearts, there are still heroes out there. Both men and women can be heroes – ‘magnificent women’ and ‘phenomenal men’. The important thing is that we use this speech to remind us to not accept things as they are. We need to be bold enough to speak up – if not for ourselves, but for those to come.

Let’s remember that sexual harassment and abuse is not just a Hollywood issue. This is an everyday issue that women and men are experiencing – whether that be in Parliament or in school, it’s not an alien occurrence. Making noise about injustice is something that needs to continue until the injustices die. I read a tweet recently which said that instead of wearing black to the Golden Globes, individual’s should have boycotted the awards show. Whilst I can kind of understand why they would suggest this, I don’t necessarily agree. I think attending the awards ceremony was the best thing to do, especially as this is one of the first major ceremonies to occur since the sexual harassment allegations had been brought to light. This was a perfect opportunity for Hollywood to come together to make that collective stand.

Whilst I’ve not given any ground-breaking revelations in my assessment of the Oprah speech, I just wanted to jot down some thoughts I’ve had running through my mind the whole day today. If you haven’t already read some of Oprah’s work in the past, check out her book What I know for sure for a truly inspirational read.

Oprah for President, anyone?!

Having now read the speech, what are your thoughts? Let me know below! Why not also take a look at this post for some more inspiration this year.

Speak soon

Victoria x




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36 Comments

  1. January 8, 2018 / 9:24 pm

    Her speech was incredible, I’ve already watched it twice today! It felt like a presidential speech, imagine!!

    • January 12, 2018 / 5:59 pm

      We can only imagine a world where Oprah is President! x

  2. January 8, 2018 / 10:40 pm

    What a lovely time for her to win this award when her spirit meets the time when a majority of America is ready to accept, “speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.”

    • January 12, 2018 / 5:58 pm

      A very timely speech! x

    • January 12, 2018 / 5:57 pm

      It truly is! x

  3. January 8, 2018 / 11:53 pm

    Operah is amazing anyway!! Thank you for sharing xx0

    • January 12, 2018 / 5:57 pm

      You’re welcome! x

  4. January 9, 2018 / 1:02 pm

    Wow Oprah – you can always count on her to speak the truth in the most powerful way possible! I missed this so thanks for sharing x

    • January 12, 2018 / 5:56 pm

      You’re welcome!

  5. January 9, 2018 / 2:16 pm

    She is such an inspirational woman and that speech just confirmed it! She’s able to influence and make changes on a level not many can 🙂

    • January 12, 2018 / 5:55 pm

      Definitely!

  6. January 9, 2018 / 2:17 pm

    Thanks for printing the whole speech, I only saw the tail end of it. It is a very moving speech and it was great to see everyone in the room clapping and nodding with her, however what I want to see is real change. The story of women and men being abused and exploited in Hollywood seems to be never ending, so I hope that all those in support of this movement will actually do something to prevent it from happening time and time again. Oprah is an inspiration for anyone but she is not a mountain and it takes more than one great lady to speak up.

    • January 12, 2018 / 5:55 pm

      I think they’ve already started to do things – of course only time will tell though!

  7. January 9, 2018 / 3:03 pm

    Fantastic speech. I do feel we as a a turning point for change in our society and these kinds of speeches will go a long way to help.

    • January 12, 2018 / 5:54 pm

      I agree! x

  8. January 9, 2018 / 6:35 pm

    Very inspirational speech. Not to mention, Oprah is a strong orator too. Every time I listen to her speech, I feel so motivated and inspired. Thanks for sharing this with us !!

    • January 12, 2018 / 5:54 pm

      No worries!

  9. Kayleigh Zara
    January 10, 2018 / 7:50 am

    Thanks for sharing her speech I didn’t hear or watch all of it so it was really great to read the whole thing! It’s so inspiring and really highlights the injustice in Hollywood right now x

    • January 12, 2018 / 5:53 pm

      It truly is an inspiring speech!

  10. January 10, 2018 / 10:05 am

    I missed her speech so I have just read it for the first time here and it is fantastic. Such an inspirational woman x

    • January 12, 2018 / 5:46 pm

      So good! x

  11. January 10, 2018 / 11:23 am

    It was an incredible speech! I had tears in my eyes too.

    • January 12, 2018 / 5:45 pm

      Glad I wasn’t the only one!

  12. January 10, 2018 / 7:59 pm

    I haven’t gotten a chance to watch the speech, but have read many articles and social media posts on it and I truly think it is inspiring. Without even watching it I am inspired.

    XOXO
    Jordan K.

    • January 12, 2018 / 5:45 pm

      Definitely watch it when you get a chance! x

  13. January 10, 2018 / 8:24 pm

    Oprah is a truly inspirational woman and no better one for making a speech like that in such a setting. I’m glad everyone attended the awards instead of boycotting them as they could use it as a platform to highlight the #TimesUp movement!

    • January 12, 2018 / 5:44 pm

      Totally agree! x

  14. January 10, 2018 / 10:40 pm

    Great post! Thanks so much for showing the full speech. Oprah is simply such an amazing woman, so inspiring!

    • January 12, 2018 / 5:42 pm

      No problem!

  15. Zoe Jackson
    January 11, 2018 / 9:50 pm

    I remember watching this speech on my phone that morning and I knew it would be one of those speeches that would go down in history. I think it’s important not to boycott events like this because in a way you’ll be remaining silent and in this time, is when we all need to speak up, if that makes sense. Just re-reading her speech in your post here gave me the same chills I did when I watched her speak those words.

    • January 12, 2018 / 5:38 pm

      The speech was just so on point. To have boycott the ceremony would have meant these words would not have been heard x

  16. January 12, 2018 / 1:45 am

    While I don’t think Auntie Oprah should run for president, I do agree that her speech was beautiful and inspiring. We need more women like her to step up and lead from the classroom to the boardroom, from the director’s seat to the Senate floor and the White House.

    • January 12, 2018 / 5:37 pm

      Definitely! x

  17. January 19, 2018 / 4:40 am

    Oh god I would LOVE Oprah as president!! Can you image? I feel like that would be incredible. I loved Oprah’s speech as well, the next day I was with a group of women at lunch and everyone was talking about it so it obviously (and thankfully) made an impact. I also think that people were right to go to the awards instead of completely boycotting them, I think the Times Up movement and the wearing black was the right way to go. Although, I’d be interested in knowing who didn’t wear black…?

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

  18. February 1, 2018 / 8:26 am

    A good speech can be inspiring and people around them will be influenced. Oprah is such a person.

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