Winfrey received the Cecil B. DeMille Award, which honours its recipient for their "outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment," and she delivered a rousing acceptance speech toward the end of the ceremony.
She paid homage to Sidney Poitier, noting his own Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1982 before saying, "It is not lost on me that at this moment, there are some little girls watching as I become the first black woman to be given this same award."
Winfrey went on to praise the press for its continuing pursuit of the truth, as well as women in all fields who have been emboldened as of late to come forward with their own stories of sexual assault and abuse — particularly Recy Taylor, an Alabama woman who was abducted on her way home from church in 1944 and raped by six white men. Despite speaking up and reporting the incident to the NAACP, where Rosa Parks became the lead investigator on the case, the perpetrators were never punished by law.
Winfrey closed her speech with a message of hope, telling girls that "a new day is on the horizon," and encouraging everyone to continue fighting for a time "when nobody ever has to say 'me too' again."
Read the transcript of her speech and watch footage of it below.
Full bit of Oprah's speech tonight: "I've interviewed and portrayed people who've withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights." pic.twitter.com/7kfD4GpxIR— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) January 8, 2018