Black Dresses, Hardly Any Black Winners ... So Oprah Saved the Day

Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal via Getty Images
Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Although it was all-black everything—from the carpet to the attire to Oprah Winfrey’s black-ass table—black actors and actresses didn’t fare too well at the 2018 Golden Globes on Sunday night.


Sterling K. Brown, the man who makes men cry, won for best actor in a TV drama for This Is Us, but his melanated peers came up short.

This year, the awards show chose to shine a light on sexual harassment and misconduct. And you know, besides having amazing activists like Tarana Burke on the set, this year’s show seemed like a night for white women in Hollywood to mete out some public comeuppance. And they got in some zingers, too.

But otherwise, it was black goose eggs.

Even Black-ish lost. So did Issa Rae, Mary J. Blige, Octavia Spencer, Anthony Anderson and Daniel Kaluuya. Get Out also lost. And so did Denzel Washington.

On the bright side, the award for best actor in a comedy series went to fellow brown man Aziz Ansari for Master of None, which kind of made Lena Waithe award-adjacent, because she writes for and stars in the show.


But it was Oprah who, in that distinctive Oprah voice, brought the rapture. She received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for her outsize contribution to entertainment, putting her in the company of Hollywood legends like Steven Spielberg, Robin Williams, Barbra Streisand and Sidney Poitier (Oprah began her speech by referencing Poitier).

She called the name of Rosa Parks. She told the harrowing story of Recy Taylor, a black woman gang-raped in Alabama many years ago. She bigged up the press, and then she took the children to church.


“I value the press more than ever before as we try to navigate these complicated times. Which brings me to this,” Oprah said, pausing, and then giving us this:

What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. 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 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 farmworkers. They are working in factories and they work in restaurants and they’re in academia and engineering and medicine and science. They are part of the world of tech and politics and business. They are athletes in the Olympics and they are soldiers in the military.


And then she came back to Taylor.

“She came back to live, as we all have lived, in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they speak their truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. The time is up!” Oprah roared.


The audience leaped to their feet. And it was good.

Ms. Bronner Helm is the Senior Editorial Director at Colorlines. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.



Family, bop on over to Jezebel and see how tempered the comments are on Oprah’s speech.

The article: O gave a great speech.

The comment section: Yes, it was great. BUT-let’s not rush to say she should run for president. She doesn’t know politics, celebrities don’t make good politicians . . . We can’t live for a minute. Black woman, excuse me, the supreme basileus of media that White people treated as colorless for years but is actually Black, gives a stellar speech. And they use that fantastic speech as an opportunity to make sure no one thinks Oprah’s *as capable as* Schwarzenegger, Franken, Reagan, Ventura, or the current celebrity imbecile turned political imbecile.

How can you enjoy cool moments if you’re always switched on to instantly diminish anything that summons praise for a Black woman?