We know that Grey’s Anatomy actor Jesse Williams has been an outspoken proponent of Black Lives Matter. He’s a highly visible celebrity who has used his platform to speak to issues of inequality. So it should’ve been no surprise that he’d do the same upon accepting BET’s 2016 Humanitarian Award. What we love is his fierce invocation of Black humanity. It’s what we continue to fight for. Williams even spoke directly to the assembled audience, saying:
Now the thing is though, all of us in here getting money, that alone isn’t going to stop this. Now dedicating our lives to get 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.
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’s been no tax they haven’t levied 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’ve been alive if she hadn’t acted so… free’.
And spoke about the promise of freedom:
Freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but, you know what though, the hereafter is a hustle. And let’s get a couple of things straight, just a little sidenote, the burden of the brutalised is not to comfort the bystander. That’s not our job, stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, 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.
And the mic drop:
The thing is, just because we’re magic, doesn’t mean we’re not real.