Awards shows in recent years have been frequently criticized for their lack of diversity and lack of representation of certain demographics. While the root of that problem is still an issue, this year the world got a chance to see the greatness of honest storytelling from a more colorful point of view. The Golden Globes was host to many talented African American storytellers from television and film who captivated us this past year.
Among those honored by this year’s Golden Globes were Issa Rae, creator producer and star of HBO’s Insecure; Donald Glover, creator producer and star of FX’s Atlanta; Viola Davis, recent inductee into the Hollywood Walk of Fame and star of August Wilson’s Fences; and Tracee Ellis Ross, star of ABC’s Black-ish. A couple of standout productions nominated in the nights festivities were The People vs. O.J. Simpson, starring Sara Paulson, Courtney B. Vance, and Cuba Gooding Jr., and Moonlight, starring Mahershala Ali and Janelle Monae. The content creators and actors that were honored created incredible art for the screen in 2016 and clearly deserve every bit of the recognition and acclaim they received.
Highlights of the night were acceptance speeches from Donald Glover, who thanked Migos for the song Bad and Boujee while accepting the award for Best Musical or Comedy TV Series, and then thanked his son and the mother of his child for making him “believe in people again” while accepting the award for Best Actor in a Comedy Series; victories for Viola Davis (Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture) and Tracee Ellis Ross (Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy TV Series), Ross being the first black woman to win the award in 34 years; Meryl Streep’s emotional message to the press in her acceptance of the Cecil B. Demille award, in which she took President-elect Donald Trump to task for mocking a disabled reporter and bullying those in less privileged positions, including immigrants; and last but not least, Moonlight’s groundbreaking win for Best Drama Motion Picture.
It was certainly a night of reflection and celebration for any industry who saw the passing of many stars such as Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds in the past year. Honoring the memories of these fallen stars and celebrating the accomplishments of their peers gave the night a collectively introspective mood. Honoring such a diverse group of deserving nominees and winners gave renewed hope for a future of justice and equality, at least in Hollywood, for one night.
Oscars, we hope you’re watching.