Jesse Williams, 34, an actor starring in “Grey’s Anatomy,” is making headlines and receiving praise over his acceptance speech upon receiving the Black Entertainment Television (BET) award Sunday night.
The “Humanitarian Award” was presented “for his continued efforts and steadfast commitment to furthering social change.” Williams launched into a speech on social issues facing the black community – poverty, family breakdown, police brutality, and the evils of “this invention called whiteness.”
“This award is not for me,” he said. “This is for the real organizers all over the country, the activists, 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.”
He got a standing ovation when he started bashing police:
“Now, what we’ve 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,” he said. “So what’s going to happen is we’re going to have equal rights and justice in our own country, or we will restructure their function and ours.”
He had this to say to Black Lives Matter critics:
We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, and 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 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.
Williams is a Black Lives Matter activist. Billboard reports that in October 2014, he joined the demonstrators in Ferguson, Missouri, to protest the shooting of Michael Brown.
Williams was also an executive producer and actor in Stay Awake, a Black Lives Matter documentary, and he met with Obama earlier this year to discuss the movement, of which Obama has been supportive.
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