This past Sunday at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards, Oprah Winfrey was awarded the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement in television and film as well as humanitarian work. I will refer to her a Ms. Winfrey due to respect that she has earned but the world knows her by one name, Oprah. Upon accepting the award, she gave an impassioned & inspiring acceptance speech. During her speech, she focused on her history as an African American woman including being the first black woman to receive the Cecil B. DeMille award. Let that sink in for a minute the first black woman to receive the award and we are 18 years into the 21st century. She compared her experience to watching Sidney Poitier being the first black person to be awarded the Cecil B. DeMille back in 1982.
Key parts of Ms. Winfrey’s speech that the audience on their feet referred to recently exposed sexual harassment and misconduct in Hollywood and other industries. Specific to African American history was the mention of Recy Taylor. Ms. Taylor was attacked and raped in 1944 while walking home from a church service. Her attackers were white men and one later confessed to the crime but none were ever arrested. The specific part of Ms. Winfrey’s speech that raised people to their feet when concluding about Recy Taylor was “She lived, as we all 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!”
Oprah Winfrey’s speech has led to buzz about a potential Presidential run in 2020. So, I ask what would it mean for a Winfrey 2020 Presidential campaign? Let’s imagine there is a Winfrey 2020 Presidential run. One consistent trait Ms. Winfrey possess is the ability to unify people around a common cause. I admit I love Oprah Winfrey and consider her to be highly intelligent and she is a wordsmith, hence giving an excellent speech. However, does that equate to her running for the highest office of the land? I believe that it is long past time for more women to be in power both in industry and elected office. But does that mean President Oprah Winfrey?
We currently have a President in the United States who was elected based on his celebrity factor. There were other aspects but let’s be honest had Donald Trump been anyone else he probably would not be the 45th President. I am not comparing the intellect of Ms. Winfrey to Donald Trump but what I am concerned about are celebrities for President. And this includes Oprah Winfrey.
There are other ways in which Ms. Winfrey can inspire and encourage on the wave of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement. One option is seeking to run for a municipal or state elected office. Or quite simply being a voice for the movement encouraging other women to run for office. There are a number of viable women in the U.S. Senate and Congress who I believe could benefit from the support and voice of Oprah Winfrey like Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) to name one up and rising Junior Senator.
I conclude by saying it is great that there is support and excitement behind Oprah Winfrey an African American woman potentially running for President. In addition, the motivation to propel women into seats of power is inspiring. I am certain in 2020 there will be viable female candidates across the nation on municipal, state, and federal tickets. Will we see Winfrey 2020 as one of them at some level? I don’t know. What I do know is in 2018 on the wave of a movement seeking to expose and rise above, all women will show our time is now.
Joyce Rose-Harris – Follow her on Twitter @PaisleyPerspect