Jesse Williams delivered an insanely poignant speech while accepting the Humanitarian Award at the 2016 BET awards. Jesse’s powerful speech about the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement got a standing ovation from the enraptured audience.
Congratulations to Jesse Williams! The Grey’s Anatomy actor, 34, is a passionate activist, and he was rightly recognized for his work at the 2016 BET Awards on June 26. Jesse took home the Humanitarian award for his work raising awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement, and for his “commitment to furthering social change.” He gave a beautiful speech that elicited a standing ovation from the audience, and likely sparked a renewed, important conversation about Black Lives Matter.
.“Jesse Williams is the essence of a modern civil rights legend in the making,” BET Chairwoman and CEO Debra Lee told the audience. “And a true pioneer of our new generation of leaders. Outside of TV, Jesse’s role in life is that of someone tirelessly committed to becoming the booming voice of modern day activism.”
The crowd roared as Jesse took the stage, and gave one hell of a speech. “Now, this award, this is not for me, this is for the real organizers all over the country, activist civil rights attorneys, the parents, the teachers, the students who are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do. All right?” Jesse said.
“It’s kind of basic mathematics, the more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize. Now, this is also in particular for the black women who have spent their lifetime dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves, we can and will do better for you,” he continued.
“This invention called whiteness uses and abuses us,” Jesse said. “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 then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit.”
Jesse spoke about police violence that targets the black community, as well, and called for justice. Jesse traveled to Ferguson, Missouri to support protestors on the frontline after the unjust death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in August 2014. He spoke about the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, fatally shot by a police officer in Cleveland, Ohio, because the cop somehow thought the child was wielding a gun.
“Freedom is always coming in the hereafter. But we want it now,” Jesse said, toward the end of his speech. After thanking the audience, and getting huge applause, Jesse walking offstage, fist raised in solidarity.
HollywoodLifers, what did you think of Jesse’s speech? Tell us in the comments!