Jesse Williams BET Awards speech on Black Lives Matter is emotional and is quickly going viral.
It’s reasonable to believe that Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams stole the show on Sunday night with a wildly emotional, confrontational speech that has quickly gone viral. In fact, later in the show, Samuel L. Jackson said he hadn’t heard a speech like it since the 1960s.
Jesse Williams has appeared in several feature films, but he was honored with BET’s Humanitarian Award for his activism. In October 2014, he joined protests in Ferguson, Missouri to protest the shooting of Michael Brown. He also was an actor and executive producer of Stay Woke, a documentary about the Black Lives Matter movement that premiered in May. In addition, he has written extensively on Black Lives Matter and met with President Obama earlier this year to discuss his civil rights work.
Jesse Williams said This award is not for me, he continued. This is for the real organizers all over the country, the activist, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do. Its kinda basic mathematics: the more we learn about who we are and how we got here the more we will mobilize.
This award is also for the black women in particular who have spent their lives nurturing everyone before themselves — we can and will do better for you.
Now, what weve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to de-escalate, disarm and not kill white people every day. So whats going to happen is were going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours.
So whats going to happen is were going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours.
I got more, yall. Yesterday would have been young Tamir Rices 14th birthday so I dont want to hear any more about how far weve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on a 12-year-old playing alone in a park in broad daylight, killing him on television, and then going home to make a sandwich.
Tell Rekia Boyd how its so much better to live in 2012 than 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner, Sandra Bland.
The thing is though, all of us here are getting money, that alone isnt going to stop this. Dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back to put someones 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?
There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There is no job we havent done, there is no tax they havent levied against us, and we have paid all of them.
But freedom is always conditional here. Youre free! they keeping telling us. But she would be alive if she hadnt acted so free. Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but the hereafter is a hustle: We want it now.
Lets get a couple of things straight. The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander — thats not our job so lets stop with all that. If you have a critique for our resistance then youd better have an established record, a 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.
Weve been floating this country on credit for centuries, and were 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 like oil — black gold! — ghettoizing and demeaning our creations and stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit.
Just because were magic doesnt mean were not real. Thank you.
You can watch the speech below:
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