Something extraordinary happened last night in The City of Angels.
Hollywood is often thought of as a place of little substance, where people are only interested in what you can do for them, and where little regard is given to the content of your character. Many, if not all of those things may still be true. But perhaps what we experienced last night at the Golden Globes was an invitation to something better.
The filmmaking and television community gathered yesterday evening, many wearing all black as a sign of solidarity with victims of sexual assault, to tell the world that this systemic problem would no longer be tolerated. The powerful men who had been the perpetrators of these crimes now had equally powerful adversaries to stand against them and with the victims. A community that spends so much of its time in the imaginary world was now standing with its feet firmly planted in something real.
When I started pursuing my calling as a filmmaker and storyteller, I realized there were stories not getting the screen time they deserve. Where were the films about people of color? Where were the films about women? Where were the LGBTQ films and immigrant films?
In the production process, like many other corners of our world, women and minorities aren’t calling the shots as directors, producers, or writers. What has flourished in this vacuum are men who have abused their power for far too long. As a man pursuing my dream in this industry, I’m committed to using whatever level of power I have to lift up instead of exploit, remain vigilant instead of falling asleep, and look out for others instead of myself. My strength as an ally can be used to champion those who have been pushed to the margins.
The dark night of sexual assault may be far from over. But last night, Hollywood stood up, calling for all of us to be better. This won’t happen if it all ends with Oprah’s moving speech. It won’t happen if this is a fleeting fad. It won’t happen if we take a backseat to the struggle. We must all join in: men and women, gay and straight, democrat and republican, atheist and believer. All of us not simply hoping - but fighting.
May we stand together, pushing humanity towards that bright and glorious morning.