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#WhyWeWearBlack: What It Means And Whether It’ll Make A Difference

Loads of celebs dressed in support of Times Up, but how much of an impact did it have?

Over the last few years we’ve become increasingly familiar with the role that Award Ceremony’s can play in shedding light on the sorts of issues that often seem really far removed from the glitz and glam of Hollywood. And looking back at the way 2017 took shape, gender disparity and sexual harassment have been the anticipated focus of commentary for a little while now.

The thing about these sort of events, though, is that a great deal is said however very little actually get’s done in the process. It’s great to hear the women (and men) we admire say really smart things about issues that affect all of us so greatly. It’s reassuring to hear people in power, at the top of their game in Hollywood, publicly address the controversy in environments as influential as film and television. It’s incredibly important that we see problems addressed by those in positions of power and privilege. But it’s also crucial that we start to see the effects of the words spoken on red carpets and at podiums translate into action outside of awards season too.

Which is why the Times Up movement is a big deal. The initiative calls for the end to ‘the struggle for women to break in, to rise up the ranks and to simply be heard and acknowledged in male-dominated workplaces’. As well as setting up a legal defense fund to help women protect themselves from sexual misconduct at work, Time Up requested women walking the red carpet at the Golden Globes, the first big ceremony of the season, to wear black.

First thoughts are okay, great. A visual and potentially poignant protest could be super effective. But at the same time, what is a bunch of beautiful people being photographed wearing really expensive clothes on the red carpet of an awards ceremony that once again failed to recognise the successes of a single woman in the Best Director category, going to do for the state of equality in and beyond the Hollywood hills?

It seems that’s where the We Wear Black hashtag comes in. It was trending in the hours before the Golden Globes kicked off and showcased celebrities participating in the red carpet blackout, and explaining why they’d be wearing black as a mark of solidarity as opposed to a fashion statement.

Kerry Washington, Brie Larson, Reese Witherspoon, Tracee Ellis Ross, Tessa Thompson and Rashida Jones shared a video on Instagram to clarify the movement. ‘on the imbalance of power. Wondering #WhyWeWearBlack ?!?!?! Because we stand with YOU!’, read the caption on Kerry’s post. ‘We stand in solidarity. Together we can end harassment, discrimination & abuse. And create safety, inclusion, equity & parity! FOR ALL PEOPLE. ACROSS ALL INDUSTRIES. We are a women led campaign but we are standing for ALL marginalized people. STAND WITH US. Wear black today.’

Amy Schumer posted a throwback picture of herself with her mother. She said: ‘Today, this is #WhyWeWearBlack: My mom and I wearing black back when I didn’t know women would have to fight hard her whole life for basic human rights. I didn’t know how my friends of different races or sexual preferences would have such a difficult time with the lack of opportunity and poor treatment. We wear black in solidarity with men and women asking for equality, respect and meaningful change within all industries.'

The cause is powerful, important and poignant in scale but of course the effects are yet to be seen beyond the sartorial choices of some of the world's celebrities. Nevertheless the sentiment is clearly promising. Throughout the evening women on social media followed suit and posted pictures of themselves wearing black in support of the protest on the red carpet where the turn out was expectedly huge.

People are standing up and paying attention to causes that have long been overlooked. In wearing black celebrities changed the focus of red carpet conversation away from the typically female orientated chat about 'who are you wearing' towards what Time Up means to them.

Conversation is key and #WhyWeWearBlack has certainly facilitated that. However conversation is also just one of the very early steps towards change. Let's just hope that the momentum and excitement to be part of such a significant move for change is sustained throughout the rest of 2018's award ceremonies and beyond. Let's hope we keep walking forward.

Want to see who wore what in support of the movement. Here's where you'll find it...

MORE: Here’s Everyone Who Wore Black To The Golden Globes

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Follow Jazmin on Instagram @JazKopotsha