When thinking about Hollywood, our thoughts automatically go to the sparkling, fancy, and privileged world we are only shown on TV. Red carpets, film premieres, and private events seem to be the usual agenda, so that we admire this unrealistic wonderland as we would do with a bubble ready to burst. A huge, permanent gap appear to divide the rich celebrities from the rest of the population, but is all that glitters gold? According to Oprah Winfrey (January 29, 1954), the answer would probably be no.
Born in Mississippi to a “teenage single mother”, she faced poverty and experienced years of sexual abuse. An unexpected change arrived at age 14, when Oprah moved to her father’s place in Nashville, Tennessee. Here, the promising girl graduated from high school achieving impressive results, that allowed her to be accepted in Tennessee State University. A strong willingness to pursue a career in the media eventually led Oprah to dropout of college, unaware of the brilliant future and opportunities that were waiting for her.
The first black female billionaire
Today, she is considered the first black female billionaire. Winfrey, also first black female news anchor, was able to radically transformed the fate of the talk show “AM Chicago”, then renamed “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in gratitude for the manifest talent of her “saviour”. Reaching a new record high, Oprah has just received Cecil B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes 2018, marking an important milestone for the entire African-American population. TIME’S UP, claims Winfrey, and not only for racial discrimination.
“In 1964, I was a little girl sitting on the linoleum floor of my mother’s house in Milwaukee, watching Anne Bancroft present the Oscar for best actor at the 36th Academy Awards. She opened the envelope and said five words that literally made history: ‘The winner is Sidney Poitier.’ Up to the stage came the most elegant man I had ever seen. I remember his tie was white and, of course, his skin was black. And I’d never seen a black man being celebrated like that.”
Now, fifty-four years after Poitier’s win, Oprah seems to be willing to make a change herself. Her speech at Sunday’s Golden Globes Awards denounced “sexual assault, harassment and gender inequality in the workplace”, inspiring thousands of people all around the world. The event, that registered about 19 millions viewers, succeeded in spreading those that are the values of the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund: the public’s reaction was unbelievable. Thousands of people joined the cause, posting on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram comments showing the #MeToo and #TimesUp hashtags to manifest their solidarity.
It is something that concerns each of us, the richest and the poorest women, the higher educated as well as the lower educated, thus overcoming any predetermined social boundary
“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. Each of us in this room are celebrated because of the stories that we tell. And this year we became the story. But it’s not just a story affecting the entertainment industry. It’s one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics or workplace.”
These the words that the winner of the prestigious award dedicated to all the victims of violence and sexism while standing on stage.
Oprah for president
Oprah, that since 1986 has taken part in films, TV programs, and plays, besides starting a radio channel and a magazine, doesn’t seem to set any limit to her career: rumours say that she would be considering an entry into politics as a presidential democratic candidate in 2020. Plausible? Maybe, maybe not. However, this isn’t the real matter: her turning point is something much more intimate than running for the White House. It is something that concerns each of us, the richest and the poorest women, the higher educated as well as the lower educated, thus overcoming any predetermined social boundary. Aware of the elite position obtained despite many difficulties, now Winfrey wants to give voice to the ordinary people, empowering them to find the courage to speak up for their rights, conscious that “speaking our truth is the most powerful tool we all have.”
A new day is on the horizon
“A new day is on the horizon”, argues the Cecil B. DeMille award-winning actress. A day in which no woman is longer afraid of suffering any kind of violence in the workplace, thence being left free to fully employ her dedication to achieve the goals she intended to reach. A day in which more space is granted to women’s thoughts and ambitions, rather than to the dreary commercialization mass media make out of their image. A day in which society fundamental tasks are carried out by people solely selected on the base of their competences, regardless of gender differences and individual appearance.
“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 who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say, “Me too” again.”
Cover: Skitterphoto / Final editor: Ramona Nouse