I had a dream of winning my very own Academy Award one day. I was wearing a floor length purple gown that foamed around my feet and kissed the stairs as I climbed to collect my award. I was sixteen or seventeen when I had the dream and I believed the only barrier stopping me from making it reality was hard work. Over ten years later and my dream is more attainable than ever as brave women and men work together to make the entertainment industry safer and more accessible.
I’m talking specifically about black women like Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement that encouraged survivors of sexual assault to unite and share their stories. Burke created a platform that promised both men and women, regardless of their industry, would never have to be silent should we ever find ourselves victims of this scourge. The roaring fire behind the viral hashtag campaign seemed to be dwindling as the red carpet was rolled out for The 90th Academy Awards, but Burke proved the real work of making it unsafe for sexual predators to freely enjoy the spoils of Hollywood is never done as she called for E! News host Ryan Seacrest to be excused from his Oscar duties. Seacrest, known as the host of American Idol has been accused of being sexually aggressive towards his former stylist. Burke, unafraid of the backlash, stood firm and said his presence, in light of these unresolved accusations, “will let us know where they stand in terms of how respectful E! News is of this issue - and of women.” Women like her make me excited for the career ahead of me.