On January 7, 2018, when Oprah Winfrey took to the stage at the Golden Globes Awards and roared “Their time is up!”, she wasn’t just addressing the Hollywood fraternity, but reaching out to the many girls and women around the world. In a soul-stirring acceptance speech, Oprah – who won the Cecil B DeMille lifetime achievement award – reassured girls and women that a new day is on the horizon.
As the furore over sexual crimes and harassment against women refuses to die into the night and continues to rage on (and rightfully so), Hollywood celebrities – from all races, gender, and tiers of star power – showed their solidarity to the ‘Time’s Up’ movement at the Golden Globe Award ceremony. It wasn’t just Oprah who invoked the many voiceless and hapless women abused for centuries – other personalities joined her in inviting women activists to come to the fore and spread their word on a plethora of women-centric issues.
Champions of women activism, these women have been trying to herald the voices of many of the disenfranchised victims of sexual crimes and inequality related affairs. The starry event proved to be just the worthy platform, where the discussion, for a change, went above who’s wearing who to who’s championing for whom. We list out the activists who adorned the red carpet and gave the fight a global appeal and that much impetus:
Tarana Burke, Girls For Gender Equity
#MeToo, a juggernaut that snowballed across the globe, dismantling and calling out the corrupt practices of powerful men and demanding the time for the discourse on sexual crimes, was long overdrawn. What became (and continues to be) a global social movement was started 10 years ago with Tarana Burke, who was trying to raise awareness and help victims of sexual harassment and assault with the help of her organisation Just Be Inc. Now a Senior Director at Girls For Gender Equity, Tarana was accompanied by All the Money in the World actress Michelle Williams at the gala.
On the MeToo movement, Tarana said a traumatic experience such as of sexual violence can freeze a person and the only way to relieve oneself is when reached out to by other victims. “Having somebody tell you that you aren’t alone, the disclosure frees you from the shame...MeToo is the conversation starter or it can be the whole conversation,” she said in an interview to Time magazine.
Marai Larasi, Imkaan
A black-feminist-activist, Marai Larasi is a leading proponent of the fight to end violence against black and minority ethnic women and girls. As the Executive Director of Imkaan, a Britain-based black feminist organisation, Marai has spent over 23 years trying to bring about a social discourse on the topic of gender violence and abuse. “If we are to end violence against women and girls, and create a truly equal world, we need to start to create seismic shifts across our social norms,” she wrote in a note for the UN Women.
At the Golden Globes, she was accompanied by fellow Brit and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and actress Emma Watson.
Ai-jen Poo, National Domestic Workers Alliance
When you walk down the red carpet with none other than the iconic actress Meryl Streep, the world sits back and takes notice. But even before the Golden Globes limelight and hobnobbing with the likes of Streep, Ai-jen Poo has been for years breaking ground in her fight for the equal rights and treatment of women workers in the USA. With 20+ years of activism, Ai-jen, Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, put the focus on the debate of gender parity and why “all women deserve dignity and safety where they work.”
Mónica Ramírez, Alianza Nacional de Campesinas
Accompanied by Laura Dern, Mónica Ramírez represented the millions of women farm workers across the USA at the Golden Globes Award. Ramirez, a Co-founder of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, spoke about her organisation and the work they do for uplifting the women farmhands who are on most occasions voiceless against the atrocities they have to face on a daily basis. “Alianza focuses on a wide array of issues, from equal pay to sexual harassment, that may be invisible to everyday Americans but which affect the women behind the food Americans put on our dinner tables,” she said.
Calina Lawrence was fresh out of college when the protest against the Keystone Pipeline broke out. An enrolled member of the Suquamish Tribe, the Native American has been in the thick of activism against the oil pipeline project, which many Native Americans believe will poison their drinking source. Calling herself an “art-ivist”, Calina captivated the attention of audiences across the US when she live-streamed her arrest during the protest. Calina was invited to the Golden Globes by Shailene Woodley, of Big Little Liars fame, who is also a supporter of the Keystone Pipeline protest.
Saru Jayaraman, Restaurant Opportunities Centers and ROC Action
The attorney and social activist, who has taken on some of the biggest names in the US restaurant business, has for years tried to shift the attention on malpractices and racism that immigrant labourers face in the industry. This isn’t the first tryst with the limelight for Saru Jayaraman, who has been a best-selling author and named in CNN’s 10 Visionary Women list in 2014. American comedian and actress Amy Poehler led the 42-year-old Saru on her red carpet debut.
Billie Jean King
We don’t think legends like Billie Jean King need an introduction, but we sure can imagine Emma Stone’s excitement in getting to take the 39-time tennis Grand Slam winner on a date at the Golden Globes. Stone played Billie Jean in Battle of the Sexes, a film adaptation of the Billie Jean vs. Bobby Riggs tennis duel in 1973. Jean, who came out as a lesbian soon after her marriage to Larry King, has fought for the rights and equal treatment of the LGBTQ community.
Rosa Clemente, PR [Puerto Rico] On The Map
An independent journalist and activist, Rosa Clemente has spent time both in Harvard and prison, both for scholarly activism. Rosa is a leading scholar on the issues of Afro-Latinx identity and she has over the years discussed cultural identity, political identity, and racial identity. Walking along veteran actress Susan Sarandon, Rosa spoke about the hardships that have fallen on the average Puerto Rican post-Hurricane Maria. “Half of the people are without power and 90 percent don’t have access to clean water. 3.5 million citizens have been neglected by the US government after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico,” she said.
This is the time for society to stand together and speak up against discrimination and sexual crimes against women. This is the time to work to reign in ‘the new day’, one where gender equality is a given, where women won’t have to fight for parity and where sexual crimes don’t go unabated. This is the time for everyone to look beyond gender, race, culture, and social hierarchy, to come in unison and declare that ‘Time’s Up’ on sexual crimes.