meryl streep human rights activist actress and all around badass


While accepting her Cecil B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes — a crazy big deal of lifetime achievement — Meryl Streep used her three minutes at the mic to give America what we’re absolutely gasping for right now: a deep, cleansing breath of logic, love, empathy and common sense.  She did in her speech what she does so well as an actor: She didn’t limit her speech to her own personal experience — she connected to the human experience (however bonkers it may feel right now). This is why Meryl Streep is great. Incomparable talent aside, she fights for human rights.  If you’ve watched this only once, play it again. Bookmark it for when the powers that be stoop to embarrass us or try to unmercifully bully us. The good has to overcome. And this is some badass fuel to the fire.


“What is Hollywood anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from other places. I was born and raised and educated in the public schools of New Jersey. Viola was born in a sharecroppers cabin in South Carolina came up in central falls Rhode Island. Sarah Paulson was born in Florida raised by a single mom and Brooklyn. Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids from Ohio. Amy Adams was born in Vicenza Veneto, Italy and Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem. Where their birth certificates? And the beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, raised 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 playing an Indian raised in Tasmania. So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners and if we kicked them all out you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.
“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, compassionate 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.”

— Meryl Streep

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