African Americans Score Historic Firsts In A Golden Globe Award Ceremony All About Inequality

Written by Dana Sanchez

Sterling K. Brown made history as the first Black TV drama actor winner at the 75th Golden Globe Awards, Oprah Winfrey became the first Black woman to win the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement, and the red carpet was dominated by the color black.

Sexual harassment and gender inequity were the themes of this year’s Golden Globes — an event where accused predator Harvey Weinstein once had a lot of influence.

Many women in attendance wore black gowns in support of the #TimesUp movement, a new initiative fighting sexual misconduct in Hollywood and beyond.

Brown won the Golden Globe for his role as best actor in a TV series drama, becoming the first Black actor to do so. He plays Randall Pearson in NBC’s “This Is Us.” Nominees in the category included Jason Bateman (“Ozark”), Freddie Highmore (“The Good Doctor”), Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”) and Liev Schreiber (“Ray Donovan”).

Brown was nominated at the 2017 Globes for “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”.

In his acceptance speech, Brown thanked “This Is Us” creator Dan Fogelman for “writing a role for a black man that could only be played by a black man.” The role “makes it that much more difficult to dismiss me, or anybody who looks like me,” he added.

“To finally be the first of something is really interesting because I haven’t considered myself to be a trailblazer,” Brown said backstage of his historic win, according to Hollywood Reporter. “I feel a tremendous amount of pride and I look forward to seeing somebody else standing up here holding this trophy not 75 years from now.”

Oprah became the first black woman to get the Cecil B. DeMille award for lifetime achievement. Her speech amounted to “a mission statement for the future,” TV critic Sonia Saraiya wrote in Variety. 

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Here’s Oprah’s entire speech:

Hi. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you all. OK. OK. Thank you, Reese. 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. And I have tried many, 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 in Sidney’s performance in “Lilies of the Field,” “Amen, amen. Amen, amen.”

In 1982, Sidney received the Cecil B. DeMille Award right here at the Golden Globes, and 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 inspire me, who challenge me, who sustain me, and made my journey to this stage possible. Dennis Swanson, who took a chance on me for “AM Chicago.” Quincy Jones, who saw me on that show and said to Steven Spielberg, “Yes, she is Sofia in ‘The Color Purple.'” Gayle, who has been the definition of what a friend is. And Stedman, who has been my rock. Just a few to name.

Golden Globe Awards
The 75th Golden Globe Awards with host Seth Meyers as seen on NBC. Hollywood actors look on as Oprah delivers her powerful speech. (

I’d like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association because we all know that the press is under siege these days, but we also know that it is 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. I want to say that I value the press more than ever before as we try to navigate these complicated times, which brings me to this: 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. 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. So 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 and engineering and medicine and science. They’re part of the word of tech and politics and business. They are athletes in the Olympics, and they are soldiers in the military. 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 a mother. She was just walking home from the 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 persecuted. Recy Taylor died 10 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. 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. And I just hope — I just hope that Recy Taylor died knowing that her truth, like the truth of so many other women who were tormented in those years and even now tormented, goes marching on. It was somewhere in Rosa Parks’ heart almost 11 years later when she made the decision to stay seated on that bus in Montgomery. And it’s here with every woman who chooses to say, “Me too” and every man, every man who chooses to listen. In my career what I’ve always tried my best to do, whether on television or through film, is to say something about how men and women really behave, to say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere, and how we overcome. I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who have 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. So 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. Thank you.”


Here’s a complete list of Golden Globe Award winners for 2018:

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy: Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, Drama: Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series, Drama: Sterling K. Brown, This is Us

Best Television Series, Drama: The Handmaid’s Tale

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television: Alexander Skarsgård, Big Little Lies

Best Original Score, Motion Picture: Alexandre Desplat, The Shape of Water

Best Original Song, Motion Picture: “This Is Me” — The Greatest Showman

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy: James Franco, The Disaster Artist

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television: Laura Dern, Big Little Lies

Best Motion Picture, Animated: Coco

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture: Allison Janney, I, Tonya

Best Screenplay, Motion Picture: Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Motion Picture, Foreign Language: In the Fade (Germany / France)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television: Ewan McGregor, Fargo

Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy: Aziz Ansari, Master of None

Best Director, Motion Picture: Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Big Little Lies

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy: Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy: Lady Bird

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Motion Picture, Drama: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

About Dana Sanchez

Dana Sanchez was born in South Africa and is a U.S. citizen. After working in advertising, she went back to school and earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of South Florida. As a business writer, she won regional and national writing awards. As editor of a daily newspaper, she coordinated staff writers, freelancers and photographers in the fast-paced environment of daily news. Dana was an editor at Moguldom Media Group for four years, helping to build and manage a team of staff and freelance writers. She works now on for Nubai Ventures. A long-distance hiker and cyclist, she writes about the business of technology.