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
Attending with her son Maddox, Angelina Jolie chose a floaty sheer dress with voluminous feather-trimmed sleeves.
Alicia Vikander showed off her innate style in a high neck dress with keyhole cut-out back and embellishment detail.
Michelle Williams and MeToo founder Tarana Burke
A Louis Vuitton clad-Michelle Williams was noticeably moved to be with #MeToo founder Tarana, saying: 'We're here because of Tarana, she started a movement, and it caught fire.' 'It's deeply humbling,' Tarana added, 'This is something I started out of necessity… this moment is so powerful.'
Emma Stone and Billie Jean King
Emma Stone decided to invite Billie Jean King as her date to the Globes, the tennis pro and pioneer who she played in Battle of the Sexes. Stone looked typically fashion-forward in a lace, one-shouldered dress.
Dakota Johnson, who is a presenter at tonight's awards, wore a Gucci gown (what else!) with a stunning train featuring a silver sequin motif at the back.
Dakota Johnson's looked even more stunning from the back.
The always superbly dressed Jessica Chastain aced the dress code in an Armani Prive velvet halterneck gown with silver crystal embroidery on the sides.
Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake
Jessica Biel channelled Hollywood glamour in a nude gown with sheer black overlay and black sash detail, keeping things classy with a low chignon and diamond accessories. Husband Justin Timberlake opted for an all black suit.
Kendall Jenner had her Angelina Jolie moment posing in an asymmetrical dress with tiered skirts by Giambattista Valli.
Salma Hayek and Ashley Judd
Salma Hayek and Ashley Judd posed together on the carpet, with the former in a high-necked, long-sleeved dress and the latter in a low-cut layered lace gown. Their appearance was poignant, as the two starred together in Frida, the film Hayek accused Harvey Weinstein of harassing her on.
Claire Foy and Matt Smith
The Crown's stars posed together on the red carpet, with Claire Foy looking sensational in a low-cut tuxedo look teamed with slicked back hair and a bold red lip.
Catherine Zeta-Jones looked incredible in a daringly low-cut illusion dress with sheer skirt by who else than Zuhair Murad.
Alexis Bledel wore a black and white one-shouldered jumpsuit by Oscar de la Renta to celebrate her show The Handmaid's Tale's nomination.
Former Girls star Allison Williams brightened up her all-black ensemble with a pop of tangerine in this beaded strapless dress by Armani Prive.
Stranger Things star Sadie Sink wore a Miu Miu prom dress with full skirt and sweetheart neckline for her first ever Golden Globes.
Will and Grace's Debra Messing wore a black embellished tunic-style dress with trousers.
Outlander's Catriona Balfe oozed glamour in a black dress with off-the-shoulder sheer detail by Chanel.
Margot Robbie chose an oriental-inspired dress with beautifully intricate silver embroidery.
Emma Watson and Marai Larasi
Emma Watson brought Marai Larasi as her date, the founder of Imkaan, a black feminist organisation in London.
Meryl Streep and Ai-Jen Poo
Meryl Streep brought Director of Domestic Workers Alliance, Ai-Jen Poo, as her date to the Golden Globes.
Mandy Moore opted for a sleek, column dress with halterneck detail, adding a pop of colour with a scarlet sash belt.
Amy Poehler and Saru Jayaraman
Amy Poehler chose ROC co-founder Saru Jayaraman as her date for the Golden Globes.
Glow star and nominee Alison Brie wore an old Hollywood-esque strapless dress with full skirt and sweetheart neckline, choosing a beautiful diamond choker to complete the look.
Heidi Klum chose a gown with an asymmetrical hemline and ostrich feather detail.
Fargo's Ewan McGregor stuck to the dress code in an all black tux - including his shirt - looking very dapper indeed.
Christina Hendricks, star of 2018's answer to Big Little Lies, Good Girls, chose a simple off-the-shoulder black gown.
Kit Harington aka Jon Snow aka King in the North looked very dapper in an all black tuxedo.
Chris Hemsworth looked very un-Thor-like in his tux.
Sarah Paulson chose a highneck gown with pleated skirt.
Jude Law joked on the red carpet in sunglasses.
Zoe Kravitz looked typically cool in a simple but chic column dress teamed with sapphire earrings.
Isabelle Huppert looked very on-trend in an embellished metallic dress with sculptural shoulder detail.
Game of Thrones and Star Wars actress Gwendoline Christie wore a ruffled black dress with sheer high neck.
James and Dave Franco
The Disaster Artists' stars James and Dave Franco posed together in their tuxedos.
Perennial best-dressed list member Diane Kruger looked like she'd stepped off the runway in a halterneck tulle gown with cape-like detail by Prada.
Millie Bobby Brown
Millie Bobby Brown chose an 80s-esque backless dress with voluminous sleeves.
Kerry Washington sparkled in an embellished strapless gown with thigh-high split.
Maggie Gyllenhaal was one of several stars who opted for strapless sequins.
Comeback queen Michelle Pfeiffer chose a layered tulle dress which she wore with a short tuxedo jacket over the top.
Lily James went for full-on glamour in a black satin gown with ruffle details.
The Handmaid's Tale's leading lady Elisabeth Moss wore a long-sleeved dress with Peter Pan collar.
Kate Hudson played up her pixie crop with an ultra-feminine sheer, low-cut dress with strategically placed necklace.
Mariah Carey lived up to her diva reputation in a fishtail gown with slashed neckline.
Style maven Saoirse Ronan went for a futuristic black one-sleeved gown with silver accents.
Natalie Portman and America Ferrera
Natalie Portman and America Ferrera attended the Golden Globes together, with Natalie choosing an elegant dress with boxy-neckline and sweetheart cut, while newly pregnant America chose a simple black dress worn with a blazer over it.
Nicole Kidman always rules the red carpet and tonight was no different in a floor-length lace gown with high neck.
Ladybird director Greta Gerwig chose a one-shouldered dress teamed with a gold choker.
Age-defying Halle Berry looked incredible in a sheer lace mini-dress.
Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke was miles away from her on-screen persona in a very modern strapless dress, which she wore with her trademark peroxide blonde locks and bold red lips.
Wonder Woman's Gal Gadot kept it simple in a black ruched column dress with an accompanying bolero by Tom Ford.
Mary J. Blige
Mary J. Blige injected some fun into her LBD with one shimmering silver sleeve and panel in her skirt.
Times Up kickstarter Reese Witherspoon opted for a simple yet chic one-shouldered gown with mermaid-skirt.
Nominee Sally Hawkins chose a full black skirt with asymmetrical velvet top.
Penelope Cruz - soon to be on our TV screen as Donatella Versace in American Crime Story - looked beautiful in an off-the-shoulder lace dress with a train by Ralph and Russo.
Naomi Campbell was a model red carpet attendee in floor-skimming black.
Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker borrowed a dress from her Sex and the City alter-ego Carrie Bradshaw's wardrobe.
A low-cut, thigh-high black dress for Eva Longoria.
Gillian Anderson was another adherent to the asymmetrical dress theme, showing off a new peroxide crop.
Laura Dern chose an Armani Prive gown completely embroidered in crystals and featuring a sheer bodice and tulle train.
Director Ava DuVernay stuck to the dress code in a crystal-embroidered long-sleeved top and draped skirt both by Armani Prive.
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