After Oprah Winfrey delivered an inspiring acceptance speech after receiving the Cecil B DeMille Award, she was met with a thunderous standing ovation. Her sage words and inspiration continued backstage when she addressed reporters.
She was asked how she felt things have changed since Meryl Streep received the award last year — a time when Donald Trump had just been elected president and the nation and the world had shifted in a different place. Now, in 2018, the industry, nation, and the world have been altered even more by sexual harassment flooding Hollywood and beyond.
Like she did in her on-stage speech, Oprah flawlessly gave words of hope. “I always think and know, having watched over the years, when something really negative is brewing, there is the direct opposite reaction that is possible. When something as big as Harvey Weinstein happens, there is an opportunity for powerful growth.”
She focused on sexual harassment and posed the question, “How do we use this moment to elevate instead of continuing victimizing?”
As she did in her acceptance speech, she referenced the tragic story of Recy Taylor, a black woman from Alabama who was kidnapped and gang-raped by six white men in 1944. This started a civil rights movement led by Rosa Parks, who worked to bring justice for Taylor.
“It’s been happening for a long time. There have been so many women who remained silent and there was no recourse,” said Winfrey, the first black woman honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award. “Now that we have joined as one voice, it feels empowering to those women who felt like they never had one.”