Sunday’s Golden Globe awards saw a number of talented actors, directors and writers receive recognition for their work, but one person’s statement got more media attention than the results of every award combined. Actress Meryl Streep slammed President-elect Donald Trump while accepting a Cecil B. DeMille Award for a lifetime of work, drawing irate responses from the man himself and a rush of accompanying media attention.
Streep spoke eloquently about her shock after seeing Trump mocking of a disabled reporter last fall. “This instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing,” the actress said to the crowd of celebrities and reporters.
In response, Trump tweeted that Streep is a “Hillary lover,” and spoke disparagingly about “liberal movie people.”
While Streep undoubtedly had good intentions, the media explosion following her and Trump’s quotes has almost completely overshadowed the enormous milestones that took place at this year’s Golden Globes.
Last year just one African American won an award at the Golden Globes, despite several nominations: Taraji P. Henson received Best Actress in a Television Series for her role in the TV show “Empire.”
This year the Best Picture – Drama award went to “Moonlight,” a film directed by Barry Jenkins (a Black man), starring an all Black cast, and based on a play written by Tarell Alvin McCraney (a Black writer). The film’s story was about being gay, Black, and poor in a country that demonizes all of those things. Honoring the creative minds who produced this fantastic movie, particularly in this political climate, was an encouraging move.
The Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy award went to “Atlanta,” a story about surviving the American south while being poor and Black. The show is directed by Japanese immigrant Hiro Murai, created and written Danny Glover (a Black man), and again stars an all Black cast.
And Tracee Ellis Ross won Best Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy for her role in “Black-ish.” After the classic thank yous, Ross acknowledged the struggle of working in an industry that is so whitewashed. “This is for all of the women, women of color and colorful people, whose stories, ideas, thoughts are not always considered worthy, and valid and important,” she said
These are huge accomplishments that signal yet another golden age in African-American creativity, coming just one year after criticism about the Oscar’s lack of African-American nominees resulted in the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.
But sadly, if you google “Golden Globes” today the top results on Google will be about a wealthy White woman waging a public war with a White billionaire: evidence that while the Golden Globes may be catching up, the media (and its readers) still has some work to do.