Women explain #WhyIWearBlack on the Golden Globes red carpet

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Moya Crockett
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“A change is coming and what a day it will be!”

The Golden Globes always get people talking. But this year the awards ceremony had a strikingly feminist bent, thanks to the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements against sexual abuse.

As expected, the vast majority of stars wore black to walk the red carpet – and many of them wanted to explain why. Here are some of our highlights. 

Issa Rae

Insecure creator, co-writer and star Rae wore a black Prabal Gurung gown to the Golden Globes, and there was more to the dress than first meets the eye: a portion of profits from the sales of the gown will go to the Time’s Up initiative to support victims of sexual abuse.

Speaking before the Globes, Rae said that she felt optimistic about a post-#MeToo future. “In a good way, it just feels like the death of old Hollywood,” she told “Being an African American woman, I can’t help but think about our funerals, which are kind of lit. Obviously, there are points of grieving, but afterwards it’s like a celebration of life, and you kind of turn up, and I feel like that’s what this will be. It’s like a celebration.”

Side note: check out Rae’s Lorraine Schwartzman emerald necklace. Many stars chose to wear emerald jewellery on the red carpet this year, because the stone traditionally signifies hope for the future. 

Michelle Williams and Tarana Burke 

Williams brought Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement, as her date to the Golden Globes. 

“You know why we’re here?” Williams, wearing Louis Vuitton, told E! News. “We’re here because of Tarana. You may think we’re here because I was nominated for something but that’s really not the case. 

“We’re here because Tarana started a movement and she planted a seed years ago and it’s grown and caught fire.” 

Elisabeth Moss 

The Handmaid’s Tale star Moss won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Drama. Her rousing awards speech proved surprisingly controversial – but there was nothing shocking about her choice of outfit. As expected, the actress wore black: her dress, with its bejewelled Peter Pan collar, is by Dior Haute Couture.

Shortly before the awards ceremony, Moss posted a photo of herself on Instagram wearing a Time’s Up t-shirt.

“The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace,” she wrote, sharing a link to the Time’s Up website. “It’s time to do something about it.”

Salma Hayek and Ashley Judd 

Both Hayek and Judd have spoken out against disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein in recent months, alleging that he subjected them to sexual harassment and (in Hayek’s case) threats of physical violence. The pair starred together in the 2002 film Frida, which Weinstein produced and during the production of which Hayek says Weinstein harassed and verbally abused her.

This year, the pair walked the red carpet together at the Golden Globes.

“We will not stop saying #TimesUp on discrimination, #TimesUp on harassment, #TimesUp on abuse,” Judd wrote on Instagram. “A change is coming and what a day it will be! #WhyWeWearBlack”

Tracee Ellis Ross 

A very strong contender for outfit of the night. Ross wore a black Marc Jacobs halter dress with a matching silk head wrap and Irene Neuwirth pearl earrings, and made a moving statement about her decision to go black from head to toe.

“I wear black today as a ‘we’ not as an ‘I,’ as a celebration of our collective power as women, as an embodiment of sisterhood, solidarity and the work being done to create structural change,” Ross told People.

“We wear black for equity, parity and inclusion across all industries. We wear black to join with the voices of ALL women, particularly women of colour, LGBTQX women, disabled women and all other women who have been disproportionately affected by sexual violence. Time’s up on discrimination, harassment and abuse.”

Debra Messing

Will & Grace’s Debra Messing is a vocal advocate for gender equality – and even called out a TV network on the red carpet for failing to pay its male and female presenters equally. She donned a beaded Christian Siriano top and silk trousers to the Globes, and explained her decision to wear black ahead of the ceremony.

“It’s about all of us and celebrating everybody who is working together collectively,” Messing told ET Online. “It’s a sisterhood, and it feels very powerful.”

She added: “Change is here. That’s it. We are done with discrimination. We want diversity and intersectional gender parity, and equal pay.”

Saoirse Ronan 

Irish actress Ronan took home her first Golden Globe (she has previously been nominated twice) this year, for her starring role in indie coming-of-age film Lady Bird. She wore a striking one-sleeved Atelier Versace gown, Christian Louboutin shoes and Cartier jewellery.   

“It is the most important thing,” Ronan told online news show Extra ahead of the ceremony, of her decision to wear black. “I’ve never felt so encouraged and inspired and supported to use whatever voice I have and for all of these people, men and women, to be able come together and use their influence and to open up the conversation and raise awareness and support anyone that has questioned their safety or their stance when they’re on set. I think it’s invaluable and paramount that this happens now.”

Zoe Kravitz

One of the stars of Big Little Lies, which scooped the gong for best Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, wore a Saint Laurent gown and Lorraine Schwartzman emerald earrings.

Kravitz shared a post on Instagram explaining why she was wearing black to the Globes: “Women working in male-dominated occupations and environments experience higher levels of sexual harassment than women in balanced or female-dominated occupations.”

She was later accompanied on the red carpet by Monica Ramirez, the head of the US National Farmworkers Women’s Alliance. Her choice of date was significant: the Hollywood-based organisers of the Time’s Up movement have said that an open letter on behalf of 700,000 female farmworkers inspired them to expand the focus of the anti-sexual harassment initiative. 

The letter, published by TIME magazine in November, highlighted the extent to which low-income women working in agriculture also experience sexual harassment. 

Reese Witherspoon and Eva Longoria 

Longtime friends Witherspoon and Longoria walked the red carpet together, with Witherspoon in a one-shoulder Zac Posen dress and Longoria in a custom velvet Genny gown.

Speaking to People about the Time’s Up initiative, Longoria dismissed the idea that wearing black to the Golden Globes was tokenistic. 

“This is not a moment, it’s a movement,” she said. “Tonight is just one small part of that.”

Witherspoon echoed that sentiment on Instagram. Alongside a photo of herself with Longoria, she wrote: “Honoured to stand with this woman and women everywhere tonight for equality, parity, safety and inclusion #WhyWeWearBlack”.

Mandy Moore 

Moore also posted on social media about her decision to wear black to the Golden Globes. The This is Us actress wore a jet Rosie Assoulin halterneck gown with a red sash “in solidarity with our sisters everywhere”, according to her Instagram. (It’s worth noting that red and black are the Time’s Up campaign colours.)

“We can all use our platform to affect change and perhaps even give a voice to the voiceless #whyiwearblack,” Moore wrote. 

Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain 

Spencer and Chastain previously starred together in 2011’s The Help, for which Spencer won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. Both were both nominated for awards at Sunday’s ceremony: Spencer for Best Supporting Actress (for The Shape of Water) and Chastain for Best Actress, for her role in Molly’s Game.

“I wear black to stand in solidarity with my sisters and to say it’s #TimesUp on this imbalance of power IN ALL INDUSTRIES,” Chastain, who wore an Armani Prive gown, wrote on Twitter

Alison Brie and Dave Franco 

G.L.O.W. star Brie walked the red carpet in a black strapless gown by Zoulias, a Bulgari necklace and Christian Louboutin pumps. Underneath her asymmetric dress she wore a pair of coordinating black trousers, which she explained had symbolic meaning.

“Tonight is about women wearing the pants, so I chose to literally wear the pants,” she told

Images: Rex Features