This past Sunday evening much of America’s TV viewership tuned into the 74th annual Golden Globe Awards. Like many folks of my generation, I “watched” via my Twitter feed. No really, Twitter streamed the red carpet and all live via the app. Most people know when I say “watched” – I received the play by play through tweets, memes and video clips from the awards show because that’s how we view award shows now. Its so awesome, you should try it.
There was a solid amount of representation with this years nominees as shows and movies like Insecure, Atlanta, Black – ish, Moonlight and Fences were all nominated in different ways for their brilliance. Then the victories started rolling in. Tracee Ellis Ross made history as the first Black woman to when for best actress in a musical or comedy since 1983 for her role in Black-ish. After four nominations in previous years, Viola Davis finally won for best actress in a supporting role for Fences. Donald Glover came through with an all star caliber night first filling the stat sheet with his win as best actor in a musical/comedy. Then he later scored one in the column for best musical or comedy show for Atlanta, which he wrote, directed and starred in. If that wasn’t enough he helped propel fellow Atlanta natives Migo’s song “Bad & Boujee” to #1 on the Billboard charts by shouting them out during his acceptance speech.
So what does all this have to do with activism? With all the aforementioned winning at the GG I feel like I also witnessed a form of elegant lowkey activism. Great artists and entertainers stepped up, not only showing that they belong in Hollywood but proving it by producing great content and NOT COMPLAINING. Breaking down more doors for Blacks in Hollywood. Along with the awards came beautiful speeches. Speeches void of shade, full of light and gratitude. Not aggressive or bitter or resentful. I saw it as a graceful and stylish way to push back on the judgment and prejudice Blacks and other minorities have faced in America especially in entertainment and performing arts at the highest level.
Then there was a louder form of activism. Still elegant but more bold and direct. It didn’t come from one of the minority winners of the evening but rather the very familiar face of Meryl Streep. Someone we make look at as the old-guard in Hollywood, which would be a poor assumption. She sure shocked a lot of people with her speech after receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award. She spoke out against the ignorance, disrespect, and lack of responsibility of the next President of the United States. She even threw egg on the faces of the people who may act like and support him.
For me this is welcomed, important and praised as I believe we need more people of privilege and power to speak out against that type of behavior. This is when the bridge begins to extend from the other side offering more understanding, more common ground, more diversity, and more love. I hope Meryl and Tracee and Viola and Donald all set a trend for more elegant activism in 2017. Even if that wasn’t their goal it can still a part of the plan.