Meghan Overdeep
Dec 07, 2017 @ 8:15 am

Angelina Jolie skipped the red carpet at The Hollywood Reporter's annual Women in Entertainment Breakfast in Los Angeles on Wednesday, and, instead, got right down to business. The actress-turned-director, who delivered the event's keynote speech, spoke passionately about a cause dear to her heart: female solidarity through art.

Dressed in black, the First They Killed My Father director implored the crowd to use their unique position in the world to improve it for the millions of powerless women who cannot.

"We have the freedom to be artists—the freedom to create, to challenge authority fearlessly, to laugh at power and to make others laugh with us. The right to speak truth as we see it," Jolie told the star-studded crowd, which included Jennifer Lawrence, Gal Gadot, Lily Collins, Olivia Munn, Shonda Rhimes, Glenn Close, and Emmy Rossum.

"We have a level of freedom that is unimaginable for millions of other women around the world—women who live with conflict and terrorism and displacement and poverty, who never get a chance, whose voices are always silenced."

She continued: "Every woman has a right not only to independence and security, but to live her life to the full and to express herself to the full, including through art and ideas as well as politics. Art influences. Art catches the imagination. Art challenges orthodoxy and societies where women are denied freedom of expression are being shaped without the voice and influence and wisdom of women."

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She ended her moving address with a plea to her fellow Hollywood influencers. "We in this room have the ability to help find those women artists struggling to make their voices heard today; to show solidarity with them, to champion them, to help them tell their stories," she said. 

"I pay tribute to all the women before us who pushed the boundaries in their lifetimes so that we could be here today. And above all, I pay tribute to the women artists, journalists, human rights defenders, and lawyers around the world who refuse to be intimidated; the brave people who are fighting so that others may one day have the freedoms we now have."

Watch Angelina's heartfelt speech in its entirety in the video above.

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