Hollywood Has Spoken
Meryl Streep’s poignant acceptance speech has been the focal point of this year’s Golden Globe Awards. Upon winning the Cecil B. DeMille award, the actress decided against the conventional fan-appreciation speech, opting instead to foreground the importance of truth and diversity in light of current political circumstances.
Viola Davis’s eulogising introduction paints co-star Streep as a ‘muse’ and an ‘artist’. The actress claims that Streep ‘makes the most heroic characters vulnerable, the most known familiar, the most despised relatable… Her artistry reminds us of the impact of what it means to be an artist, which is to make us feel less alone.’
Throughout Streep’s speech, this is precisely what she does. Upon taking the stage, the actress creates an atmosphere of palpable intimacy. By listing the names and birthplaces of various nominees, Streep draws attention to the tremendous diversity of Hollywood, humorously explaining that, “Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick them all out you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.” Through this seemingly throwaway statement, Streep reminds us that multiculturalism and inclusiveness do, in fact, lie at the epicentre of American art and culture.
Amid this humanitarian message, Streep spares a moment to praise the actors in the audience for their ability to offer insight into the lives of others through their evocation of empathy and compassion. In a display of immense bravery, she contrasts their ‘heartfelt performances’, with the offensive impersonation executed by the man who now sits in ‘the most powerful seat’ in America. Streep utilises her ‘three seconds’ in the limelight to remind us that positions of power should not be abused to ‘bully others’, explaining that when the powerful lack respect and empathy, others are somehow authorised to do the same. In perhaps the most pertinent line of the speech, Streep reminds us of the knock-on effect that our words and actions may elicit, “Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence.” She implores viewers to support the free press, and the protection of journalists, as now, more than ever, we must band together to ‘safeguard’ the truth.
In this demonstration of activism, Streep has joined an abundance of public figures who have spoken out about the importance of tolerance, inclusivity and the fight against xenophobia. However, it is not merely those in the public eye that have the ability to use their voices to generate change; all of us, whether we be students, adults or Golden Globe winning actors, possess the ability to speak out against discrimination.
As America’s dear preceding president said, “We are the change that we seek.”
Watch Meryl Streep’s powerful speech here:
By Juno Kelly