Jesse Williams' BET Award speech was more than "magic"
Source: Huffington Post Most know Jesse Williams as the (gorgeous) Dr. Jackson Avery on Grey’s Anatomy, but for those who have delved a little into WHO Jesse Williams was, it doesn’t take long to find out not only who he is, but what he stands for. Before delving into an acting career, Williams taught high school. “We often grow up being told that we can do this or that, but if you don't see anybody that looks like you doing it, you don't believe you can do it. But I had great teachers, and I wanted to be a great teacher.”
Last week, as I watched the BET awards I was blown away with his speech. It was controversial. Like most ideals in today’s world, when something is directed specifically at the Black race, FOR the Black race- black people walk away feeling proud and white people walk away feeling offended or dismissive. Of course, it’s a generalization; but you can tell by the backlash surrounding his speech that it’s a true one.
Here are the call to actions that Jesse asked of the Black community from his Humanitarian Award Speech:
1.107...the black women in particular who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves. We can and will do better for you.108
2. Knowledge of history will allow us to recognize and stand in our power “Realize that system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do…the more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize.”
3. Be conscious of how we spend our money; don't be enslaved to brands “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.”
4. Don’t remain uncomfortable in order to make someone else stay in their comfort zone “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 in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.”
It's simple to listen to Williams' speech and feel like it was another player throwing in their race card; a way for the black community to not take responsibility for how we got to this point. But more his speech was in fact made to the black race about what WE can do to gain true freedom and overcome systemic racism.
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