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President Oprah? Icon talks truth, justice and ‘a new day’ in Golden Globes speech

After host Seth Meyers jokingly begged her to run for president Sunday night at the 75th Golden Globes, Oprah Winfrey sounded like she was ready to lead a brigade into battle.

Winfrey, the first black woman to receive the Globes’ Cecil B. DeMille Award, delivered a rousing speech covering the importance of truth, justice and equality.

“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,” she said, inspiring a standing ovation.

Winfrey recalled seeing Sidney Poitier receive a Golden Globe for his performance in “Lilies of the Field” when she was a child.

“I remember his tie, it was white, and of course his skin was black, and I had never seen a black man being celebrated like that,” she said. “I’ve tried 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.”

Winfrey said the #MeToo movement transcends culture, geography, race, religion, politics and workplace, from farm fields to tech fields.

“I want 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,” she said. “They are women whose names we’ll never know.”

Winfrey, a filmmaker, actor, philanthropist, Presidential Medal Of Freedom winner and star of the upcoming adaptation “A Wrinkle in Time,” said speaking up is more important now than ever, as the media and the very idea of facts are under siege.

“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,” she said. “Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool that we all have.”

Winfrey said she hoped the spirit of Recy Taylor, a Civil Rights-era rape victim defended by Rosa Parks who died a few days ago, was with all those who are tormented and inspired to keep 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,” Winfrey said. “And it’s here with every woman who chooses to say, ‘me, too’, and every man who chooses to listen.”

Winfrey said all the people she has portrayed or interviewed who have endured some of the ugliest things life can throw at them have shared a common trait: An ability to maintain hope for a brighter day.

“So I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon,” she said. “And when that new day finally dawns, it will because of a lot of magnificent women and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure they become the leaders who will take us to the time when nobody every has to say ‘me, too’ again.”

Winfrey’s speech lit up Twitter.

Meyers’ reference to Winfrey came when he noted that Trump reportedly decided to run for president after Meyers and Barack Obama made a joke at Trump’s expense during the White House Correspondents Association dinner in 2011.

“So if that’s true,” Meyers said, pointing to Winfrey. “Oprah, you will never be president. You do not have what it takes. And Hanks? Where’s Hanks? You will never be vice-president. You’re too mean and unrelatable.”

He then turned to the audience, saying “Now we just wait and see.”

As for the night’s acceptance speeches, winner after winner credited those who helped further diversity.

Sterling K. Brown — the first black male actor to win best actor in a drama TV series — noted that he had benefited from colorblind casting over the years, but thanked “This is Us” creator Dan Fogelman for writing a part specifically for a black man.

“I’m being seen for who I am and being appreciated for who I am and that makes it much more difficult to dismiss me or anyone who looks like me,” the drama series best actor said.

In addition, Aziz Ansari of “Master of None” was the first Asian actor to win for best actor in a TV comedy.

Nearly everyone wore variations on black, in support of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements to end sexual assault, harassment and violence in the workplace.

Some actors also were accompanied by activists to speak to the cause and create, as Meryl Streep said, “a thick black line dividing then from now.”

Streep brought along Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Emma Stone brought activist and former tennis pro Billie Jean King, whom Stone played in “Battle of the Sexes.” Michelle Williams escorted #MeToo founder and gender equality activist Tarana Burke. Laura Dern gave mic time to Monica Ramirez of the national farmworker women’s alliance.

“Our members felt very strongly that they wanted to send a message to not just women in this industry but all people who were experiencing sexual violence in the workplace that they are not alone,” Ramirez said. “We stand with them and we lend them our power and strength as they move through this difficult time.”

David Frese: 816-234-4463, @DavidFrese

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