At Sunday’s SAG Awards, Sterling K. Brown took a break from winning awards and making history to champion the Time’s Up movement, which he hopes will lead everyone to become “a bit more thoughtful.”
Speaking backstage after victories for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama and Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, the 41-year-old actor shared how Time’s Up has caused him to examine his own “male privilege.”
“For me, it has been a wonderful opportunity to take stock of the fact that I actually have privilege, that I have male privilege,” remarked Brown. “I take a lot of things for granted. I remember when my wife and I lived in New York, we’d be up late for rehearsal, and I’d say I want to take the subway home. And she was like, ‘I ain’t taking the subway home, it’s 12 o clock.’ I was like, ‘The subway’s perfectly safe, what are you talking about?’ And so I’d get in the cab with her, and she’d be like, ‘It might be safe for you or you might think it’s safe for you, but it’s a different world for me’… It’s always the responsibility of the minority to understand how to negotiate the majority’s world. Black people have to know how to live in a white world. Gay people have to know how to live in a straight world. Women have to know how to live in a man’s world. But it’s nice when people who are at the top take a second to look at and consider what it’s like for the minority.”
Brown, who in the last few months has won an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and now a SAG Award for playing Randall Pearson on the NBC drama, said he hopes that Time’s Up “registers” in the same fashion with his fellow men.
“What is nice about the Time’s Up movement for me is just taking stock of the fact that there are certain things that have not registered and I need to be more conscientious,” he continued. “Hopefully, it registers with other men in a similar way that things that are funny to you may not be funny to everyone. There is a responsibility that we have to make sure that our work environment is comfortable for all because it’s not always about malicious and nastiness. Sometimes it’s about downright thoughtlessness, and we can all stand to be a bit more thoughtful.”
To donate to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which will provide subsidized legal support to women and men in all industries who have experienced sexual harassment, assault, or abuse in the workplace, visit its GoFundMe page. Learn more about Time’s Up, an organization of women in entertainment combating sexual harassment and inequality, on its website.
Brown’s This Is Us costars also expressed their support for the movement. “What I would say to young women is the times they are a-changin’,” said Susan Kelechi Watson. “There are some people who are paving a pathway through their own courageousness, and there are visionaries who now see a new way to go and be in this industry. And also, it’s not some competition between men and women; there’s just the need to be seen in the same light, in the same respect, and equally. And so just like women before me paved the way to be just a normal black woman on television that resonates with any culture, the way is being paved for women to be able to showcase their talents without having to sacrifice any of their own self-respect.”
Added Mandy Moore, “I think we all feel encouraged that we’re moving forward and that it’s an ongoing conversation that we all can participate in and be agents of change.”