When The Golden Globes Went Black: Couture Activism and the #TimesUp Movement
Whether or not you tune in to the Golden Globes each year, if you are a regular on Instagram it would have been hard to miss the consistent posts and updates regarding a certain color choice that went down Sunday night. It was an evening of black: gowns, suits, and accouterments (mostly) all aligned across the board, and the evening looked more like a black and white ball than the normal riot of color that we have come to expect. What engaged me, however, what not the what but the why.
The “why” is the TimesUp movement, an organization founded by over 300 women in film, television, and theatre that isn’t just a statement of solidarity, but rather a commission to create funds and legal help to women who have been burdened in silence and discrimination. For once we see a movement that is more than lip service; a fund is being amassed at Time’s Up Now to give aid and subsidize legal support for those who have experienced sexual harassment or related retaliation in the workplace. Signatories include America Ferrera, Ashley Judd, Anne Hathaway, Eva Longoria, Shonda Rhimes, Natalie Portman, and Reese Witherspoon.
So it was that during an evening usually swathed in festoons of the season’s hottest colors and print, last night these women and the men who work alongside of them put aside the trends of today to stand in the classiest color of all: black. Leading up to the night, I watched the tweets and posts as stylists such as Ilaria Urbinati and celebrities including Blake Lively and Tracee Ellis Ross began to reveal their compliance with the look, and I began to contemplate the appropriateness of this move. Black is the color of “The Little” dress that we are all told to keep in our closet. It’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Sabrina. It’s class and simplicity and elegance. It doesn’t try hard; it stands its own ground. But black is also mourning: It’s sitting Shiva and funeral garb. It’s gothic and night. Black is a sigh and a closing down of the day to the time when we wonder when morning will come.
The past year has begun to teach us lessons that I’m not certain we can yet bring to summation. They are about voices rising, about women gathering, and about expecting more. They are about bearing long and breaking through, and also about men being invited to a place alongside us as we look for that morning to shine through. They are about re-envisioning tomorrow and the space that we inhabit to push out cultural norms that we, in our gut, actually abhor. Pain and suffering have been our teachers, but so have hope and unity.
Most of all, the sea of black last night reminded me that love truly does believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things: and with a voice.
We’ve come—us, the non-acting community—to have pendulum-like expectations from the film-makers and actors among us. Either we belittle their intelligence in the wake of our insecurity, touting them as puppets merely repeating the words of other geniuses, or we elevate their humanity past the bounds of reason, demanding god-like wisdom and sagacity. But last night the women and men of Hollywood showed their true colors—that they are women and men. They try. They work. They live and care. They aren’t perfect and they aren’t (mostly) politicians, but they did something at the Golden Globes to show that they don’t inhabit the space of sets and cameras alone; they are a part of this community, and they spoke up. I’m pretty proud of what happened yesterday—the choices of everyone from stylists to nominees to wear black was about as classy as Hollywood has been, or possibly can get.
Feature Image via Candace Nelson