Jesse Williams may be known for his role in Grey’s Anatomy but tonight he put himself on the map as a humanitarian. While accepting his humanitarian award at the BET Awards Sunday night, he brought to the attention of the audience that the award was not for him. The former public school teacher demanded equal rights, an end to the unfair treatment against blacks and the end of white appropriation of black culture.
“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.”
Williams linked arms with Ferguson activists in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in the fall of 2014. He was the executive-producer of ‘Stay Woke’, a documentary that traced the evolution of the Black Lives Matter movement.
His speech became emotional as he thanked the unsung heroes of the crusade against systemic racism.
“Black women who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves.” “We can and will do better for you.”
He also reminded the audience of all the black people who were killed like Tamir Rice, Eric Garner and Rekia Boyd.
Williams critiqued white people who use black culture while devaluing black life.
“We’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment… ghetto-lyzing and demeaning our creations, then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is — just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.”
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