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PopWrapped | Celebrities

Jesse Williams Gives Inspiring Speech About Racial Equality

Rain Varela | PopWrapped Author

Rain Varela

Updated 06/30/2016 11:55am
Jesse Williams Gives Inspiring Speech About Racial Equality | Jesse Williams
Media Courtesy of MixCrate

The BET Awards was created in 2001 to honor African-Americans and other minorities in the field of entertainment and sports, at a time when such honors were few in mainstream award-giving bodies.

Of course, there have been changes but it still seems too slow especially in the light of the "Oscars So White" controversy. And it goes far beyond that, because racial inequality still seeps in to every aspect of society.

That is something that actor and activist Jesse Williams is fighting for, and as he accepted the Humanitarian award at Sunday's BET ceremony, he gave an awe inspiring speech on racial equality.

To start things off he thanked the presenters and the BET as well as his wife and parents like in any normal acceptance speech.

Then he got to the gist, he dedicated the award to the people at the forefront. "This award, this is not for me. 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 said.

He also gave special attention to black women which marks intersectionality in his advocacy, "this is also in particular for the black women, in particular, who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves," he told the audience.

He then talked about the justice system. "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. So what’s gonna happen is we’re going to have equal rights and justice in our country, or we will restructure their function, and ours."

Then he got down to culture appropriation and lack of credit for people of color: "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." Which is pretty chilling, he may have referred to Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit", which originated as a poem about lynching.

He then ended things by referring to a cultural trope: "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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