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The Vilified Glitterati

This year's Golden Globes had as many political undertones as it did bad jokes.

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[Editor's note: These thoughts are entirely my own—read at your own risk]

Unless you've been sleeping under a rock, you've at the very least caught wind of Meryl Streep's speech at last night's Golden Globes. After accepting the prestigious Cecil B. Demille Award, Streep managed to call out Donald J. Trump with all the class expected of her and to fill the room with hope, slamming the president-elect without so much as saying his name àla Michelle Obama. The speech rallied around the Hollywood Foreign Press, and a powerful message of unity:

"You and all of us in this room really belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now. Think about it: Hollywood, foreigners and the press. But who are we, and what is Hollywood anyway? It's just a bunch of people from other places."

Combine this with her later call for journalists to protect the truth, and every single news outlet is covering her more than they normally would have. It's a good thing for a celebrity in a position of visibility and power to use their platform to say something; this is what made Beyoncé's Lemonade and its call to action regarding police brutality against black people so poignant. Streep's use of both her privilege and position to call out these disparities in and out of the industry is indeed important, but it raises an interesting question: why did it take a white woman to get Hollywood and the Hollywood Foreign Press—and the press, in general—to listen?

The resonance of Streep's speech, and the accompanying reaction from Trump, ironically clouded the very achievements she was attempting to highlight. The same night, Tracee Ellis-Ross won for Best Actress in a TV series for Black-ish, the first African-American woman to do so. Donald Glover—better known as Childish Gambino—won twice for his fledgling comedy series Atlanta. Viola Davis, who introduced Streep, took home Best Supporting Actress for Fences. Moonlight, perhaps the most visible queer PoC story in cinema yet, won for Best Drama Motion Picture. We need to talk about these things, we need to highlight these achievements.

Instead, the press bombarded the public with articles about Streep's speech, critiques (albeit valid ones) of Tom Hiddleston's self-aggrandizing speech about Sudan, and a stupid mistake conflating Hidden Figures with Fences that was so much more than just mixing up names.

Glossing over the achievements Streep tried to emphasize with her speech by further emphasizing it is hypocrisy on the part of the entertainment community and the media. In our increasingly weaponized world, this truth only resonates further. As the world begins to look outside of the narratives that have been promulgated for so long, and giving outsiders their day in the sun, we need to rally around those outsiders, and give credit where it's due. Streep made another excellent point during her speech regarding the press:

We need the principled press to hold power to account...So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, because we're gonna need them going forward, and they'll need us to safeguard the truth.

We're entering an era where the outsiders voice is finally becoming important, both in and outside the glittering bastion of Hollywood. If we're to do that justice as arts journalists, we need to rally around and highlight those voices instead of the allies that, while well-intentioned, have always had the platform.