Taraji P. Henson stole the show at last night’s Golden Globes.
The queen of badassery won for Best Performance in a Television Series—Drama for her role as Cookie Lyon on Empire and before accepting the award, she passed out actual cookies to the crowd like a GD goddess. In her speech, Taraji acknowledged how incredible it was that she was winning an award for playing an ex-con. It’s this point in particular that had us wondering: Would Hollywood embrace Cookie Lyon as much as her fictional character if she were a real woman?
Let’s take a quick look at some of the many men who have done awful things and have been granted second chances:
Now, let’s look at some women.
Britney Spears had a very public mental breakdown almost a decade ago and she’s still paying for it. She’s now in Vegas, where many artists go after their careers have peaked, and yet, she’s the same age as Beyonce. Lil’ Kim, one of the most important women in rap ever, went to jail for one year and can’t seem to make a solid comeback. Lindsay Lohan, one of the most beloved actresses of the millenial generation, has received multiple DUIs, went to rehab and now, her career will never be what it used to be.
Cookie Lyon spent 17 years in prison for drug-dealing and when she got out, the world was her oyster. Now she’s a cultural icon, a (maybe) style icon and a beacon for female empowerment. But she’s not a real person.
Sexism in Hollywood is alive and well. It’s pretty much guaranteed that if you’re a man and you have a slip up, no matter how bad it is, you will eventually be welcomed back with open arms. This is not the case for women and that’s a problem. If we’re going to make room for the Mel Gibsons, Terrence Howards and Chris Browns of the world, we need to make room for the Lil’ Kims, Lindsay Lohans and Britney Spears’, too. Don’t we?
And if we’re going to make room for the Cookie Lyons to shine, shouldn’t we do the same for the IRL ones?
Relive Taraji’s speech at the 2016 Globes in the clip below.