I am not a fan of awards shows. A few years ago, I could have said I just wasn’t interested in sitting through a long ceremony as it was filled with untactful jokes and simply consisted of a bunch of white folks celebrating each other. Now, however, I have enough understanding to acknowledge what really turned me off from these over-the-top shows: the lack of representation.
The reality is, as a Latina, I don’t see my myself on TV or movies very often. I can count the times that I was inspired by someone on the big screen because she looked like me and reminded me of my own story. I can also count the times I was able to witness a Latina be celebrated for her work (thank you Gina Rodriguez for that 2016 Golden Globes acceptance speech!) in an industry that is unfortunately controlled and led by powerful white men. Hence, my disinterest for these shows altogether.
This year’s Golden Globes were different though. While the awards ceremony was still hosted by a white man, he was capable of setting the tone and gave space for the #TimesUp movement to gain momentum. But what was the real cherry on top? Oprah.
Everyone loves Oprah so it was no surprise that even celebrities were starstruck when they went up on stage and saw her front row. But the moment she got up, to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award, becoming the 1st African American woman to receive such a prominent recognition, it was as if time froze. Oprah is often talked of as the fairy godmother that can inspire us all to live a fuller life all while simultaneously helping us heal through her wisdom and spirituality. She always has the perfect words and the perfect way to capture anyone’s attention and somehow manages to make us all believe we can do and be better. Her acceptance speech was no different.
Oprah opened by sharing a childhood memory of seeing Sidney Poitier become the first black man to win an Oscar in 1964 for “Lilies of the Field.” She recalled vivid memories of that moment and the feeling of seeing a black man be recognized and what a moment like that meant to her. Her entire speech was eloquent, mesmerizing and quite frankly, filled with hope and inspiration — the kind of hope and inspiration we all so desperately needed during these challenging times.
Still, it was hearing her emphasize the importance of that moment for little girls now watching her become the first that reminded me of the power of women and the impact we can have if provided the opportunity.
So while more than ever, we must come together and make ourselves be heard, and proudly exclaim that #TimesUp, it is also imperative that we make this moment ours and take risks as little girls everywhere are watching us and need us.
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