This year’s ceremony was one of the most political yet and saw the red carpet awash with A-list actresses wearing black
Some of the biggest names brought with them activists
for gender and racial justice, including #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, who started the hashtag campaign which exposed the scale of sexual harassment against women worldwide.
Part of the mission of anti-sexual harassment group Time’s Up
, which led the night’s all-black fashion movement
, has been to raise awareness of sexual harassment occurring outside of Hollywood.
Winfrey made the same point in her speech, saying sexual harassment “transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics or work place.” Read the full speech.
“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,” she said. “They’re the women whose names we’ll never know.”
Winfrey is the first black woman to receive the honor. She was announced
as a recipient back in December.
“I want all the girls watching here, now to know that a new day is on the horizon,” she said. “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 #MeToo again.”
Winfrey’s speech comes one year after Meryl Streep used her acceptance speech for the same award
to deliver a blistering criticism of then president-elect Donald Trump.
Winfrey will next be seen in Ava DuVernay’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” which hits theaters in March.