As I’ve admitted once or twice on here before, I don’t get into watching awards shows on television very much. So, if you were with me in my apartment this past Sunday (January 7), not only would you have been sweltering with me in an apartment that has the heat stuck in a way-too-high position (a subject for another post, I promise), you’d also would’ve been switching back and forth between football and college basketball and hockey and even cricket. In other words, we wouldn’t have been watching any of the 75th Golden Globe Awards ceremony or preceding red carpet.
And judging from the social media talk during the ceremony, as well as the post-ceremony analysis… oh, what a night we would’ve missed. For one, there were the award winners, of course. Then there was Seth Meyers’ opening monologue and his getting help with the jokes he couldn’t tell. And definitely bigger than all of that, there was the appearance of a certain TV anchor turned talk show host turned actress turned media mogul — yeah, I’m talking about Oprah — who, when accepting a career achievement award, brought down the house with a speech about justice for women that many equaled to a speech from a campaign in two years’ time for a certain public office (the one currently occupied by You Know Who). No doubt, her speech was a rousing and optimistic one that will certainly inspire more than a few women, of all ages and identifications, to stand up and stand strong.
Oprah’s speech was the main course in a night that started with appetizers on the red carpet. When you read that phrase, “appetizers on the red carpet,” you usually think “glamorous fashions worn by glamorous people.” Not this time around. Oh, sure, the 75th Golden Globes Red Carpet had glamour to spare. But there was also a lot of guests who weren’t deferring to the usual inane “who are you wearing?” questions the red carpet is so infamous for. Case in point, Debra Messing, who had the
temerity fortitude to call out E! for not paying a female anchor the same as a male anchor — and doing so live on E! — no matter how defensive E! would be on the issue later.
Debra Messing was far from the only person to flip the script on the red carpet status quo last Sunday and leave the Ryan Seacrests and Giuliana Rancics a bit flummoxed. Many others made their own verbal statements during the night, and virtually everyone made a visual statement by wearing black. Indeed, black was the sartorial theme of the evening, and it was all because of two words: Time’s Up. That’s the name of an initiative announced on January 1 that aims to combat the culture of sexual harassment, pay inequality, and gender discrimination, as well as establish legal defense funds for women who encounter such inequities. It’s an effort that seeks to stand up for women not only in the entertainment industry (where an endless string of bad apples has been uncovered the past few months) but outside it as well.
Everyone attending the Golden Globes (men and most notably women) was encouraged to wear black in support of Time’s Up. The below photo (source here) is a perfect example of the Time’s Up solidarity on the night: Natalie Portman, Jessica Chastain, Octavia Spencer and America Ferrera, all pictured side-by-side and wearing some form of black on the red carpet.
But it wasn’t just about wearing black or a Time’s Up pin: The solidarity also extended to some of the celebrities inviting activists who don’t normally get to see the limelight, no matter how significant and effective their actions. Here’s just one example from the Golden Globes (source here): Amy Poehler, who we’re all familiar with, invited as her guest for the evening Saru Jayaraman, who many (including myself) may not have heard of until last Sunday. Jayaraman is the co-founder of the organization @rocunited, which advocates raising wages and labor standards for those working in the American restaurant industry.
Naturally, while seeing the post-Globes coverage, my mind wasn’t on who was best or worst dressed. Yes, there were those who filled out those report cards and are worth the read (including a nice write-up by Mira on Admirably Legal, whose report card I agree with for the most part). But rather than point my own thumbs up and down, I’ll just use the rest of my hands to applaud those who used their celebrity to deliver knockout punches against the misogyny that’s losing its exclusive grip on American culture a little bit every day. I will close, however, by sharing a link to a photo gallery from The New York Times, who sent Pulitzer-prize winning(!) photographer Damon Winter to the Golden Globes. Winter was tasked to capture not only the “who’s wearing what” moments red carpets are so famous for but also the little moments and gestures that can speak louder than a swath of fabric. Winter’s results are at the slideshow link embedded below.
Of the 56 photos in the slide show (and they’re all perfectly captured moments), the one I’ve added below as a screenshot is my personal favorite (it’s image# 19, for the record): On the left is Kendall Jenner, who’s part of a clan that has been the epitome of self-promotion and “reality” vanity over the past decade, trying in a vain attempt to make herself look good for the camera. On the right is Emma Watson happily posing alongside Marai Larasi, executive director of the UK-based black feminist organization Imkaan. It’s a night-and-day difference in this image: Kendall appears to make every attempt to look paparazzi ready. Marai may not look as glamorous, but through her own positive actions, she and others like her are beautiful in their own right… and had the chance to shine in their own way on one of Hollywood’s more glamorous evenings.