Meryl Streep, an actress who has achieved remarkable things, “slammed Donald Trump, honoured her late friend Carrie Fisher and praised a room full of Hollywood “outsiders” while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2017 Golden Globes” says Rolling Stones Magazine.
Twitter and the media is awash with comments about her talk and Trump’s response to Streep being ‘over-rated, which seems to be getting most of the airtime. This is a shame because the essence of Meryl Streep’s message is not about Trump – she does not even mention the president-elect by name.
The essence and boldness of her talk is captured in these two of sentences:
“When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose”
“Take your broken heart, make it into art”
Here’s the thing, we are living in a world where there is so much negativity and people are actually using this negativity to brandish power, which is probably nothing new, but it is being amplified at the present moment.
We all loose when negativity is used to wield power because, not only does it robs us from celebrating successes of the past, but it also drains the energy required to face the future with conviction and courage.
This is why it is such a powerful approach for those in power who want to protect, reinforce and strengthen the current status-quo which they profit from. And, here is the irony – it is this very status-quo that prevents humanity from rising above the challenges we face.
The most important message in Meryl Streep’s talk is her last one: “As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia, said to me once, take your broken heart, make it into art.”
Most people in the West and the Developed World are failing to recognise that for all our ‘broken hearts’ for all our lost dreams – when measured against nearly any indicator you care to – live lives better than anyone, anywhere at anytime in history.
We are immensely privileged, something else Streep alludes to. We need use empathy, generosity, creativity and even love to kick against the pricks, turn the negativity into art and Achieve Remarkable Things
Read the full transcript of her speech below.
Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you. Please sit down. Please sit down. Thank you. I love you all. You’ll have to forgive me. I’ve lost my voice in screaming and lamentation this weekend. And I have lost my mind sometime earlier this year. So I have to read.
Thank you, Hollywood foreign press. Just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie said. 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, you know, what is Hollywood anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from other places.
I was born and raised and created in the public schools of New Jersey. Viola [Davis] was born in a sharecropper’s cabin in South Carolina, and grew up in Central falls, Long Island. Sarah Paulson was raised by a single mom in Brooklyn. Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids from Ohio. Amy Adams was born in Italy. Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem. Where are their birth certificates? And the beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Ethiopia, raised in — no, in Ireland, I do believe. And she’s here nominated for playing a small town girl from Virginia. Ryan Gosling, like all the nicest people, is Canadian. And Dev Patel was born in Kenya, raised in London, is here for playing an Indian raised in Tasmania.
Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. If you kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts. They gave me three seconds to say this. An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like. And there were many, many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that, breathtaking, passionate work.
There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it. I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life.
And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.
This brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage. That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our constitution. 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 going to need them going forward. And they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.
One more thing. Once when I was standing around on the set one day whining about something, we were going to work through supper, or the long hours or whatever, Tommy Lee Jones said to me, isn’t it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor. Yeah, it is. And we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy. We should all be very proud of the work Hollywood honors here tonight.
As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia, said to me once, take your broken heart, make it into art. Thank you.