In an era of the #MeToo movement and fight for gender equality, awards ceremonies and most recently, the 2019 Primetime Emmy Awards has become the apt platform for celebrity activism. Held at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles – in Trumpland no less – for the category of Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series, the contenders were strong, not only in their performances but for what they ultimately stood for. But it was Michelle Williams’ win for her role in Fosse/Verdon that allowed the actress to continue the fight for equal pay, particularly for women of colour.
At the brink of tears, Williams delivered a powerful acceptance speech, supported by overwhelming rounds of applause and cheering from the crowd. Her Hollywood best friend Busy Philipps watched proudly from the audience.
“The next time a woman, and especially a woman of color – because she stands to make 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white, male counterpart – tells you what she needs in order to do her job: Listen to her. Believe her.”
— The Leadership Conference (@civilrightsorg) September 23, 2019
“Thank you so much to FX and Fox 21 Studios for supporting me completely and paying me equally,” Williams said during the ceremony. “Because they understood that when you put value into a person, it empowers that person to get in touch with their own inherent value. And where do they put that value? They put that value into their work. And so, the next time a woman and especially a woman of colour – because she stands to make 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white, male counterpart – tells you what she needs in order to do her job, listen to her, believe her, because one day she might stand in front of you and say ‘thank you’, for allowing her to succeed because of her workplace environment and not in spite of it.”
She joins the likes of Meryl Streep and Patricia Arquette who have so publicly and fiercely advocated for the cause in recent years.
Stay tuned for continual coverage of the 2019 Primetime Emmy Awards.