Jesse Williams Has Bet it All On Black
Grey’s Anatomy’s Jesse Williams won the annual 2016 BET Humanitarian Award.
After accepting the award, the speech he gave validated his earning such recognition. That speech was more talked about than the red carpet fashions — and it should have been too.
Jesse could have accepted his award and gave the standard thank you speech and returned to the lofty perch of acting and entertaining as all the other award winners did.
He didn’t do that.
He saw a platform that presented an opportunity to call out some very serious issues plaguing Blacks in this country.
He seized the opportunity and used it for all it was worth.
The 34-year old actor, and activist began his politically and race charged call to action by shining the light of moment on those that are fighting for change and those living under the black clouds of injustice and systemic oppression in this country.
“This is for the real organizers all over the country. The activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers of students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do.”
He realized the treatment and attitudes toward Black Women and left them with a pledge that things would get better.
“Now, this is also in particular for the black women in particular who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves. We can and will do better for you.”
He eloquently went in on police brutality, equal rights, and police killings.
“Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white people everyday. So what’s going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours.”
He went on point to the turncoats and sell outs whose only interest is money never mind that money may come at the expense of freedom and equal rights.
Now the thing is, though, all of us in here getting money — that alone isn’t gonna stop this. Alright, now dedicating our lives, dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back for someone’s brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies.
See the full transcript of Jesse Williams’ 2016 BET Humanitarian of The Year Award Acceptance Speech.
Williams called out more atrocities in 5 minutes than the “camera activists” have in the last decade. He doubled down by offering serious and to the point calls for action.
Williams’ move was a bold one. You see he works in one of most biased industries in America — Hollywood. And a lot of other companies that invest in Hollywood get very uncomfortable when their money is suddenly supporting the spokesman speaking out against the very mud and blood they have on their hands.
We’ve seen it before. When a high profile figure bets it all on Black there is always some backlash.
The first against Williams came within 8 hours of his speech. Viacom got busy removing videos of the speech from YouTube and other video outlets. Yes the video could be viewed on the BET website but I must wonder why was Viacom so hell bent on suppressing a message that was so badly needed to be distributed.
I wouldn’t be surprised at all if some advertisers to the shows and entities he’s involved in get a little funky behind his speech. It’s the sort of backlash that has kept so many with national platforms from making a difference. They chose the false sense of security of staying in one’s lane silence appears to grant to those that don’t make waves. This is all the more reason I’m taking Jesse Williams seriously. He would not have wagered his career on that stage with that speech if he wasn’t serious.
There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There has been no job we haven’t done. There is no tax they haven’t leveed against us — and we’ve paid all of them. But freedom is somehow always conditional here. “You’re free,” they keep telling us. But she would have been alive if she hadn’t acted so… free.
Williams hit a sobering point in the above quote. Freedom for Blacks has always been with and still comes with conditions and stipulations that more often than not are fatal. Fatal in the contexts of economic opportunities, justice, housing, education, and health. Williams triggered a thought within my mind.
The denigration of Black men, women, and children has reached epidemic heights in this country and the overall reaction is flash media then “business as usual”. Another sad truth is Blacks that think they’re “outside the firing line” are tepid toward the incoming annihilation of Blacks. “It’s not in my neighborhood” is a self propagated denial of reality. To that I say, “It may not be in your neighborhood yet, but it’s damned sure in your country.
Jesse Williams is the first major figure in years to step out on a ledge in an attempt to rally the troops into some effective tangible action. The last man to roll those kind of dice on helping the oppressed in this country was a man by the name of Martin Luther King Jr. King became the face of Civil Rights amendments and reconciliations. He went on to be responsible for a movement that is responsible for a lot of equalities and advances for the poor, and minorities that are currently in limbo because the momentum slowed when King was killed.
Could Jessie Williams be the next motivator, and force behind the energy that will fuel a movement of major effective changes for Blacks in this country? He sure does act like he will be. He’s certainly capable of it.
If he takes on that weight he’s going to need help. He’s going to need the collective support of those most affected by staggering high unemployment rates, biased and brutal policing, eroding education systems, and inadequate housing. He’s going to need the support of all of us.
Jessie Williams just bet everything on Black. How much are you willing to wager?
If you’re not willing to invest in seeing the right things done — well I’ll leave you with one last excerpt from Jesse’s fiery speech.
“The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander.That’s not our job, alright — stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest, if you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.” — Jesse Williams 6–26–2016