You left for your boarding school last Sunday. A few hours later, on the same day, I heard a phenomenal person deliver an even more phenomenal piece of oration.
Last Sunday, the Golden Globe Awards were held in Los Angeles. These are the first of the award ceremonies that lead up to the Oscars.
All the stars were there. But sitting right in front and center was Oprah Winfrey. She was being awarded the Cecil B DeMille award, which is like a lifetime achievement award given at the Golden Globes.
Her acceptance speech was no more than 9 minutes, the most powerful 9 minutes that I have seen and experienced. I do not have words to describe how brilliant it was. Her oratory, her choice of words, the topics she touched upon, I was in awe.
If you get a chance to watch one YouTube video, let it be this one.
See for yourself why she got all the standing ovations that she did. You will understand why people (who are celebrities themselves, sitting in the front tables in the room) had tears in their eyes as she spoke.
I can only send you a few portions of what Oprah said that day.
Oprah initially recounted the story of “sitting in the linoleum floor of my mother’s house in Milwaukee” in 1964 as she saw Sidney Poitier win the Oscar for the Best Actor, the first black man to do so. She said,
I tried many, many times to explain what a moment like that means to a girl, a kid watching from the cheap seats as my mom came through the door bone tired from cleaning other people’s houses.
Can you imagine Oprah’s life was like as a child? And what that award ceremony meant to her and other children like her?
She spoke about the power of truth. According to her, it is the insatiable dedication to absolute truth that keeps us from tyrants and victims, and secrets and lies. She put is very beautifully when she said,
SPEAKING YOUR TRUTH IS THE MOST POWERFUL TOOL WE ALL HAVE.
So, D always feel strong enough and empowered enough to speak up.
Have you heard of the #metoo movement? This movement was about speaking up, feeling strong and empowered, about speaking the absolute truth.
Oprah expressed gratitude to all the women who have spoken up. She felt empowered by them.
I will skip a little of her speech here and move forward to the very end of her speech, to what was the most stirring part of an exceptionally uplifting and inspirational speech. Every person in that room was standing when she spoke these words.
I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! 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, ‘Me too‘ again.
If this mail can convey even a fraction of what her speech was about, I would be satisfied. Go watch her entire speech the moment you get an opportunity to.
This brings me to why I wanted to share this with you. It is because I know you are one incredible teenager who will be able to understand each of these complex issues she spoke about.
Most of all, I share this because I want you to believe. Believe in the power of each new day. For every day is an opportunity for us to make this world a little better than it was the previous day. Believe that you can make a difference, each day of your life – to a friend, a stranger, a family person. Never give up hope D.
I also know that you will be able to draw your own learning and insights from what her thoughts and imbibe them to become an even stronger and better teenager than you already are.
D, I feel such joy and pride that I am able to share incredible stuff like this with you when you are only thirteen.
Your ever proud mum.