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About Oprah Winfrey’s Speech at The Golden Globe Awards

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Recy Taylor, a 24-year-old African American female was walking home from her church in Alabama on September 3, 1944, when she was abducted, assaulted, and raped by six white men in the woods. She was told if she ever spoke of the instance they would track her down and kill her (Lee, 2012, p.123). She did something at that time that most women did not feel they had the power to do: speak up. Through Rosa Parks and the NAACP, she was able to draw national attention and the case was taken to court, where the grand jury failed to indict the perpetrators based off of Taylor’s “credibility as the victim” and question about “character.”

Unfortunately, cases like these were very common and the victim’s never received justice. One of the most influential self-made public figures, Oprah Winfrey, recognized and experienced injustice throughout her life first hand. As a result, she was an important figure to help spark a movement of confidence and empowerment among women of all ethnicities, work fields, and backgrounds. One of Winfrey’s most remarkable contributions was her powerful speech at the Golden Globe Awards in January 2018 that marked a pivotal turning point in world history. Oprah was armed with confidence and eloquence as she spoke passionately to millions worldwide about having the courage to fight discrimination and to be able to proclaim the time of abuse and harassment is up.

This essay will examine Oprah’s speech at the Golden Globe Awards. When breaking down Oprah’s speech we first must examine her historical background to understand the context and drive behind her being a prominent figure in the movement. Next, we take a look at her contributions to society and how they correlate with what is going on in the world. Finally, this essay will analyze the speech’s details and its impact on culture. Oprah Gail Winfrey was born on January 24, 1954, on a farm in Kosciusko Mississippi, one of the poorest counties in the United States at that time. Her parents, not married ended up separating shortly after her birth so she lived with her grandmother for a big part of her life.

She was raised under strict Christian values and attended church each Sunday. She was active with her church even at a young age when she addressed her congregation about ‘when Jesus rose on Easter Day’ when she was only two years old( Lowe, 2006). Soon after that, she acquired the name by her peers as “the Preacher.” She was very vocal since a young child and because of her grandmother’s strict upbringing, she learned how to read before the age of three(Krohn, 2009). At social gatherings, she found that she loved public speaking, so much that she earned 500 dollars in a contest for it, and that was the moment in her life where she decided she wanted to “get paid to speak.” Her educational life was exceptional when she skipped a few grades in elementary school. Perhaps one of the most life-changing times that influenced Oprah was when at the age of nine she was molested by one of her cousins. From that point on she was raped by more family members and family friends the years following according to the author. At the age of fourteen, she had a baby that died shortly after birth.

This was a huge turning point in her life because she said she contemplated suicide and didn’t want to live because of the reputation of being a mother without having a husband was. In later interviews, she said she looked at her child not surviving as a second chance at life and decided she wanted to live her life with a new perspective. She moved to Nashville to live with her father where he was very strict and avid about her education. Oprah Winfrey was always a great student, she participated in her school’s drama club, debate club, and student council. In a speaking contest, she won a full scholarship to Tennessee State University, and the following year she was invited to a White House Conference on Youth. From working hard and participating in competitions she was discovered by the local Nashville radio station and was hired by them to read afternoon newscasts( Lowe, 2006). From there she kept getting recognized and taking newscast jobs slightly better than the previous.

A huge moment for Oprah’s career was when she moved to Chicago in 1984 to be an anchor on A.M. Chicago, where she would have her own morning talk show. The show was rather small and wasn’t very high in the rankings. However, after just one month her ratings on the show shot up and three months later she was ultimately ahead of most popular talk shows. In 1985 the programmed renamed to the Oprah Winfrey Show and her segment time increased to an hour. Her charming personality and public speaking gift gave her nationwide fame. She was cast to be in Steven Spielberg’s 1985 film The Color Purple, which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Simultaneously her show was becoming more popular being placed on 120 channels that grossed $125 million by the end of the first year.

Oprah has always made many contributions to support women. For example, she started her own foundation in 1997, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa of deprived backgrounds (Dines & Humez, 2011). Oprah wanted to house girls from the grades 8-12 in difficult circumstances to teach leadership and believing yourself. Two years later, in 1998, Winfrey invested in the network Oxygen, a cable channel targeted toward women. And in 2000, Oprah debuted O, The Oprah Magazine, featuring a celebration of life, lifestyle, spirituality, arts, and culture to promote women living their best lives. A recent scandal before this speech was given was from a man by the name of Larry Nassar.

All these contributions Oprah made led up to her famous speech in 2018 at the Golden Globes’. Oprah Winfrey was the first African American woman to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award for her role in A Wrinkle of Time. The Cecil B. DeMille Award is a huge honor given to those for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.’ When she is announced by Reece Witherspoon Her wildly popular Golden Globes speech honored women who had shared their stories of sexual harassment and declared that “a new day is on the horizon.” Oprah made amazing contributions to society and wanted to give back and help people with similar circumstances. Oprah is a friend to everyone no matter race gender or belief. The impacts of the me too movement may seem sudden but it has been a constant battle that has finally reached a breaking point

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