Power Dressing

The Golden Globes Red Carpet Turns Black—And Political

The #TimesUp movement led many stars at the Golden Globes red carpet to wear black in solidarity with those across society speaking up about sexual harassment, assault, and abuse.

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It was a red carpet, but not like any Giuliana Rancic and Ryan Seacrest knew how to deal with.

It was, therefore, one of the most invigorating, overtly political and conversation-starting red carpets probably ever broadcast.

This was not to be conversation about clothes and diets and babies, but politics and inequality and sexual assault and pay parity.

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Hours before the Golden Globes on Sunday night, Amy Schumer sought, via Instagram, to get attendees to the awards show to ask, in E!'s Live From the Red Carpet show, to bring up Catt Sadler's departure from the network after she discovered that her male co-host Jason Kennedy was making nearly double her salary.

Even before Schumer's intervention, it was known that many (it seemed like nearly all) the celebrities in attendance would be wearing black in support of the newly launched Time's Up movement and legal fund, targeting sexual abuse, assault and harassment in all workplaces.

No one would be talking about the labels they were wearing, and Rancic said they wouldn't be asked. Instead they would be asked why they were wearing black. Frippery-ridden backchat, the kind that E! specializes in, was out—so what would they do?

The parade of black dresses and trouser suits and tuxedos were pretty spiffing: the night wasn't a rejection of very expensive fashion. But politics and cultural change were the main currency of conversation, rather than labels.

Debra Messing, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Eva Longoria were only too happy to oblige sticking it to E!

Messing was first, telling Rancic, within an eloquent and pinpoint summary of the Times's Up movement's objectives. "We want diversity, we want intersectional gender parity. We want equal pay. I was so shocked E! doesn't believe in paying their female co-hosts the same as their male co-hosts. I miss Catt Sadler. So we stand with her."

Parker, in talking about her "sisters… working in the trenches," put her hands on Seacrest's shoulders and told him: "I know it's affected your network. I know that there have been conversations that have been challenging for all of us, but I think it's incredibly timely. It's exciting. And parity and equality and safe work environments—they shouldn't be controversial."

Then Longoria said: "We're also here for Time's Up, we support gender equality and equal pay and we hope that E! follows that lead and we stand with Catt."

Longoria and Reese Witherspoon, who was standing with her, then said: "We stand with you, Catt."

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A beleaguered Seacrest said: "We love Catt, we love her."

While notionally signed up to the political ethos of the evening, Seacrest would try in vain to divert conversations to the celebrities, only for those same celebrities to want to major on the activists some of them were accompanying. Laura Dern was with Mónica Ramírez, the head of the National Farmworkers Women's Alliance, and Emma Watson with Marai Larasi, the executive director of Imkaan, a U.K.-based women's organization "aimed at responding to and preventing violence against black minoritized women and girls."

Seacrest wanted to talk to his shiny showbiz people, they made it clear he was going to get a crash-course in the issues dear to their guests for the evening.

Sure, Seacrest and Rancic got to giggle a bit, but not about stuff they normally do.

It was wonderful, a great slab of women's studies and deep and grainy feminism in a place it never has been before. It actually made for better TV, too, which E! might like to note for future red carpets.

By the end, Seacrest and Rancic were smiling, tightly. "What a great night," said Rancic, there were so many great interviews." She asked Seacrest, "Did you enjoy it?"

"I did," Seacrest said in the tone of someone who wanted to get the hell outta Dodge, like right now.

"It was a night of strong message, as well as a lot of big stars [sic]."

Yes, Ryan.

"It will be interesting to see what happens inside," he added.

If what had happened on the Golden Globes red carpet was an invigorating injection of politics, this viewer noted that one of the advertisements for a future program on We-TV was for Mama June: From Not To Hot.

Leopards and spots.