9 Best Quotes From Oprah’s Golden Globes Speech

Oprah Winfrey at the Golden Globes. Photo: Handout/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

The Golden Globes ceremony on Sunday night wasn’t just about celebrating art, and it wasn’t just about calling out harassment and inequality in Hollywood. More than that: It was yet another opportunity for Oprah Winfrey to inspire us all. As the first black woman to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award, Oprah gave a truly spectacular speech that put black women at the front of the protest and underscored the importance of speaking truth to power. Here, some of the best quotes from Oprah’s unforgettable speech.

On watching Sidney Poitier become the first man to win an Oscar for Best Actor in 1964:
“I tried many, many times to explain what a moment like that means to a little girl, a kid watching from the cheap seats, as my mom came through the door bone tired from cleaning other people’s houses. But all I can do is quote and say that the explanation [is] in Sidney’s performance in Lilies of the Field: ‘Amen, amen, amen, amen.’”

On little girls watching her win the award at home:
“It is not lost on me that at this moment, there are some little girls watching as I become the first black woman to be given this same award. It is an honor — it is an honor and it is a privilege to share the evening with all of them and also with the incredible men and women who have inspired me, who challenged me, who sustained me, and made my journey to this stage possible.”

On the importance of the press today:
“We all know the press is under siege these days. We also know it’s 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.”

On the importance of women speaking their truth:
“What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. And I’m especially proud, and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories.”

On the unnamed women who have endured abuse:
“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. They’re the women whose names we’ll never know. They are domestic workers and farm workers. They are working in factories and they work in restaurants and they’re in academia, engineering, medicine, and science. They’re part of the world of tech and politics and business. They’re our athletes in the Olympics and they’re our soldiers in the military.”

On Recy Taylor:
“And there’s someone else, Recy Taylor, a name I know and I think you should know, too. In 1944, Recy Taylor was a young wife and mother walking home from a church service she’d attended in Abbeville, Alabama, when she was abducted by six armed white men, raped, and left blindfolded by the side of the road coming home from church. They threatened to kill her if she ever told anyone, but her story was reported to the NAACP, where a young worker by the name of Rosa Parks became the lead investigator on her case and together they sought justice. But justice wasn’t an option in the era of Jim Crow. The men who tried to destroy her were never prosecuted. Recy Taylor died ten days ago, just shy of her 98th birthday. She lived as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men.”

On powerful men who have abused women:
“For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up.”

On hope:
 “I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who’ve withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights.”

On the changing times:
“I want all the girls watching here, 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, 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.”

9 Best Quotes From Oprah’s Golden Globes Speech