My oldest niece, Ashlee, is 12-years-old. She’s an honor roll student-athlete in the 7th grade. She’s smart, funny, spends too much time on IG and cares way too much about what her friends are doing and saying – she’s a normal 12-year-old-girl in middle school. One of my favorite games is asking her who she’d rather hang out with. I’ll match young stars in pop culture with popular people around my age or older and gasp at her responses. The other day she told me she’d rather hang out with Cardi B instead of Beyonce. I had a little bit of a heart attack on that one. Former First Lady Michelle Obama is cool but she’d rather hang out with Malia. She [Malia] goes to cool concerts and is always out having a fun time with her friends. Yara Shahidi, star of Black-ish and now Grown-ish is really (really) cool. It is in these moments with Ashlee that I am reminded that my time in popular culture is fading fast, if not completely faded, and the culture is now being pushed by a much younger generation. So if Beyonce and Michelle are old, can you imagine what Oprah Winfrey means a 12-year-old girl in 2018?
Well, last night Oprah once again showed her brilliance and sent a reminder to anyone who forgot, she’s still Oprah. In a room full of stars, there is only one Oprah. On a night when the entire industry was on edge, figuring out the best way to celebrate Hollywood’s achievements in the midst of a man-induced culture crisis. It was Oprah who took the stage and, in a way that only your well-respected auntie or grandmother could – delivered a speech that honored her history, honored the history of black people in Hollywood, honored the history of black people in America, and told the truth to an audience who is largely praised, to the point of entitlement.
Last night, Oprah was the first black woman to be ever be awarded the Cecil B de Mille Award at the Golden Globes. Let that sink in. And she did not let the moment pass without addressing the issue of the night, saying sexual harassment “transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics or workplace.” She went on to say, “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,” she said. “They’re the women whose names we’ll never know.”
She also had a message for all of those 12-year-old girls like my niece Ashlee, “I want all the girls watching here and 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 .. and some pretty phenomenal men fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders that take us to the time when nobody has to say ‘me too’ again.” [Click Here to Read the Full Speech]
It’s easy to forget why an icon is an icon, especially when the icon has held that status for so long that a whole younger generation really doesn’t know how it happened. I encourage every parent of young people to share Oprah’s speech today. It’s a display of all that is right with our culture. And the reason why Oprah is Oprah. #WESEEIT