Jesse Williams Sets BET Awards On Fire With Speech On Race In America

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“Gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. Just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.”

 

One of the most important moments of this year’s BET Awards, no, probably in the history of any awards, was Jesse Williams’ acceptance speech after he was honored with the Humanitarian Award.

The "Grey’s Anatomy "actor, who has been a prominent part of the Black Lives Matter movement since 2014, took the award as an opportunity to deliver a rousing account of ongoing racial inequality in the United States.

Although Williams’ entire speech is worth quoting — for generations to come — here are some of the most important bits for you to skim through.

"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. All right? It’s kind of basic mathematics. The more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize,” Williams began.

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“Now, this is also in particular for the black women in particular who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves,” he added. “We can and will do better for you.

“We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo. 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. The thing is though, the thing is, that just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real. Thank you.”

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