Jane Fonda champions diversity in Cecil B. DeMille Award speech

CARSON BLACKWELDER
·3 min read

Jane Fonda received the Cecil B. DeMille Award during Sunday night's 2021 Golden Globes ceremony and used the moment to champion diversity in Hollywood.

The 83-year-old took to the stage at the 78th annual Golden Globes to accept the honor, which is given each year to "a talented individual who has made a lasting impact on the film industry."

During her speech, Fonda said she was "so moved" and called the power of storytelling "essential."

MORE: 2021 Golden Globes: Full winners list

"You see, 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," she said, later referencing many of this year's nominees for helping her with that. Fonda listed films like "Nomadland," "Minari" and "One Night in Miami" as well as TV shows like "Ramy" and "I May Destroy You" as evidence.

The actress said she has seen a lot of diversity in her time, and some of it "challenged" her to understand the people she has met.

"But inevitably," she added, "if my heart is open, and I look beneath the surface, I feel kinship."

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Fonda then addressed the need for more diversity in Hollywood -- potentially even within the Hollywood Foreign Press Association itself in the wake of news that the organization has no Black members in its ranks -- by saying stories "generate a new energy that can jolt us open and penetrate our defenses so that we can see and hear what we may have been afraid of seeing and hearing."

"But there's a story we've been afraid to see and hear about ourselves in this industry," she continued. "A story about which voices we respect and elevate and which we tune out. A story about who's offered a seat at the table and who is kept out of the rooms where decisions are made. 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," Fonda concluded. "So let's be leaders."

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Fonda, who has won seven Golden Globes, is best known for her work in films like "9 to 5" and TV shows like "Grace and Frankie." In addition, she is a two-time Oscar-winning actress for "Klute" and "Coming Home," as well as a New York Times bestselling author, fitness guru and activist, having raised awareness for causes such as women's rights and the environment.

In a statement announcing Fonda as this year's honoree, Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Ali Sar acknowledged Fonda's "breadth of work ... anchored in her unrelenting activism, using her platform to address some of the most important social issues of our time." Sar also praised Fonda's "undeniable talent" and "unwavering commitment to evoking change."

MORE: Jane Fonda through the years

The Cecil B. DeMille Award is named after the "Ten Commandments" director, who was the award's first recipient.

Recent recipients of the award include Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Bridges and Tom Hanks. Fonda is the 16th woman to receive the Cecil B. de Mille Award.

Jane Fonda champions diversity in Cecil B. DeMille Award speech originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com