If you didn’t catch the Emmy’s last night we totally get it, mama. That’s a lot of television to pack into a Sunday night. But Michelle Williams managed to pack a lot into her acceptance speech for her role in FX’s Fosse/Verdon, a limited-run series in which she plays Tony award-winning dancer and actress Gwen Verdon.
Her speech is still trending the morning after the show, and it’s easy to see why.
“I see this as an acknowledgment of what is possible when a woman is trusted to discern her own needs, feels safe enough to voice them, and respected enough that they’ll be heard,” Williams said as she accepted the Emmy Sunday night.
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She continued: “When I asked for more dance classes, I heard, ‘Yes.’ More voice lessons? ‘Yes.’ A different wig, a pair of fake teeth not made out of rubber? ‘Yes.’ And all of these things, they require effort and they cost more money, but my bosses never presumed to know better than I did about what I needed in order to do my job and honor Gwen Verdon. And so I want to say thank you so much to FX and to Fox 21 Studios for supporting me completely and for paying me equally because they understood that when you put value into a person, it empowers that person to get in touch with their own inherent value and then where do they put that value? They put it into their work.”
And then Williams offered some advice that we hope Hollywood and the rest of the working world hears:
“And so the next time a woman—and especially a woman of color, because she stands to make 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white male counterpart—tells you what she needs in order to do her job, listen to her, believe her. Because one day, she might stand in front of you and say thank you for allowing her to succeed because of her workplace environment and not in spite of it,” Williams said before thanking her daughter.
“Matilda, this is for you, like everything else.”
That speech was powerful television and we need more like it.
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