Jane Fonda calls for more representation in Hollywood in powerful Golden Globes speech: 'Let's be leaders'

Jane Fonda delivered a powerful speech on Sunday night while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globe Awards. In true Fonda fashion, the 9 to 5 star — equally known for her activism as for her acting — challenged Hollywood to get "in step with the emerging diversity" within the industry.

"I'm so moved to receive this honor, thank you," the 83-year-old Grace and Frankie star began. "We are a community of storytellers, aren’t we, and in turbulent, crisis-torn times like these, storytelling has always been essential."

Fonda explained that stories can "change our hearts and our minds."

"They can help us see each other in a new light. To have empathy, to recognize that for all our diversity, we are humans first, right? I've seen a lot of diversity in my long life and at times I've been challenged to understand some of the people I've met, but inevitably, if my heart is open and I look beneath the surface, I feel kinship," the 15-time Golden Globe nominee, and seven-time winner, continued.

Fonda called out films and television shows with BIPOC cast and crew over the past year that have inspired her, including, Nomadland and Minari. She said Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Judas and the Black Messiah "deepened my empathy for what being Black has meant."

"Stories, they really can change people," she explained. "But there's a story we’ve been afraid to see and hear about ourselves in this industry, a story about which voices we respect and elevate and which we tune out, a story about who is offered a seat at the table and who is kept out of the rooms where decisions are made."

Fonda continued, "So let's all of us, including all the groups that decide who gets hired, and what gets made, and who wins awards, let's all of us make an effort to expand that tent so that everyone rises and everyone's story has a chance to be seen and heard. Doing this simply means acknowledging what's true. Being in step with the emerging diversity that's happening because of all those who marched and fought in the past and those who've picked up the baton today. After all, art has always been not just in step with history but has led the way. So let's be leaders."

Fonda was one of the few celebrities to attend the Golden Globes in person at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. She shared a few behind-the-scenes videos showing COVID-19 protocol on social media.

The actress wore a recycled white pantsuit to the show as part of her commitment to cut back on waste in order to help the environment.

"I vowed a couple of years ago I would never buy any new clothes again," Fonda told Ellen DeGeneres this week. "We spend too much money, we buy too many things, and then we get rid of them. We try to develop our identity by shopping, right? We gotta stop that. Stop all this consumerism."

The Cecil B. DeMille Award honors "outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment." Previous winners include Meryl Streep, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks and Jane's father, Henry Fonda.

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