Why This Quote From Taraji P. Henson's Golden Globes Acceptance Speech Is The Most Important Of The Night
Contrary to popular belief, the Golden Globes are important for a number of reasons other than the what people are wearing, who shows up with who, and even who wins what award of the night — the show is also influential on a grander scale due to the amount of Hollywood starpower in attendance, and the platform (in this case, national television) in which its broadcast. One powerful speech at the Golden Globes, or one inspiring quote, can really get people talking.
Take Patricia Arquette's Best Actress in a Supporting Role acceptance speech at the Oscars in 2015. Taking the time to speak about gender inequality that not only plagues Hollywood, but also everyday life, Arquette's words were moving, and her speech — broadcast on television, just like the Globes are — was talked about for months after. Differences can be made on nights like these if the right people take action.
This is why I was so pleased to see that, on Sunday night during the Golden Globes on NBC, there were a few powerful quotes and speeches that could easily influence the world in the coming months. Without a doubt, however, it was a quote from Taraji P. Henson's acceptance speech when she won the Best Performance by an Actress in a Drama Series award for her role as Cookie in Empire that mattered the most — because she highlighted just how important it is that television feature realistic, nuanced characters.
Here's the speech, in case you missed it:
Though the whole thing is pretty great, it's this line that really shines:
So the world loves real, thank you.
Henson was referring to the fact that it was the role of Cookie to win her the Golden Globe — not the role of "Queenie, Will," or "my character from Karate Kid." Instead, "it's Cookie, who spent 17 years in jail for selling crack." And Henson has a point — the fact that she won the Golden Globe for her role as Cookie over any other character she's played does say a lot, not only about the current state of television, but also the direction Hollywood is headed in. It seems that, finally, Hollywood may be realizing that people are entranced by female characters with layers, issues, emotions, and dark histories. Real women aren't perfect — no one human being, no matter what their gender identity, is. So, why should our characters in television and film be?
The answer is that they shouldn't — and the fact that Cookie Lyon in Empire is not only a fan-favorite, but now a Golden Globe-winning character is proof that Hollywood might finally be beginning to grasp this concept. Hopefully, Henson pointing this out to the world will help accelerate this change in the world of television and film, and lead to more characters who are, as she says, "real" — as well as more Cookie, because I don't know about you, but I cannot get enough of her on Empire.