Oprah Delivers Powerful Speech on Gender Equality at Golden Globes, Stirs Questions of Political Future

Oprah Winfrey became the first black woman to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes on Sunday night. She delivered a passionate acceptance speech and outlined a vision that left audiences wondering if they were witnessing the birth of Oprah the politician.

Winfrey weaved the themes of gender equality's intersection with racial justice in an accessible and powerful narrative that felt more like a campaign speech than acceptance remarks. "A new day is on the horizon," she declared to the "girls" watching at home.

The hashtag #Oprah2020 was trending on Twitter before Winfrey had concluded her remarks, with "presidential" being the descriptor of choice. The Washington Post wrote that Winfrey's words "thundered into a rallying cry for equality and justice for women everywhere." The New York Times printed out her entire speech.

Winfrey traced the country's evolution as told the story of Recy Taylor, a black woman who was told to stay quiet about her gang-rape at the hands of white men. 

"She lived, as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. And for too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up. Their time is up."

Winfrey continued, "I just hope that Recy Taylor died knowing that her truth — like the truth of so many other women who were tormented in those years, and even now tormented — goes marching on."

She also addressed the abuses of President Donald Trump without using his name and championed a free press.

"[We] know that it is the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and to injustice. To tyrants and victims and secrets and lies. I want to say that I value the press more than ever before, as we try to navigate these complicated times. Which brings me to this: What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have."

"I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon," Winfrey concluded. "And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say, ‘Me too,’ again. Thank you.”

The audience, some in tears, stood to their feet and roared with applause as Winfrey exited the stage.

When Winfrey's partner Stedman Graham was asked after the speech if she would run for president, he said, "She would absolutely do it."

Watch Oprah Winfrey's full remarks at the Golden Globes below.

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