Octavia Spencer Golden Globe win inspires real-life 'Help'
1.18.2012 | Ashley Michelle Williams
By Ashley Michelle Williams in The Grio
When Octavia Spencer won her Golden Globe for best supporting actress for her role in The Help on Sunday, she made a unique acceptance speech in which she didn't just thank those who supported the film. Instead her speech also recognized the contributions of domestic workers with a quote by Martin Luther King.
"With regard to domestics in this country, now and then, I think Dr. King said it best: 'All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance.' And I thank you for recognizing that with our film," Spencer said as she accepted her award.
Spencer's statement in support of domestic workers might have been inspired by critics of The Help who objected its the depiction of African-American women in servile positions. By giving dignity to domestics in her speech, Spencer underscored the humanity of the character she played and the real women who fulfill this social role everyday.
Ai-Jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, told theGrio that the domestic workers' community was overjoyed that Spencer won the award, and accepted it with mindful appreciation of their contributions.
"There were domestic workers gathered in living rooms and offices around the country rooting for her," Poo said. "To have someone like Octavia Spencer bring attention to the dignity of this workforce means so much — especially since it is a workforce that has been undervalued for so long."