Thursday, September 28, 2023

Jesse Williams: The Speech, The Time, The Charge.

July 9, 2016 by  
Filed under Ent., News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( We are almost three weeks out from actor Jesse Williams’ powerful speech at the 2016 BET Awards. He took the stage to accept the humanitarian honor and used his time to give one of the most talked about monologues in recent history. He spoke about the plight of the black man, the strength of the black woman and the privilege of white people. Most individuals loved what he had to say and applauded him for his courage and stance. Others felt like he went too far and used his words to race bait during his time on one of the largest black platforms.

Here’s the thing- Jesse Williams’ unapologetic proclamation of his blackness was a kind of turning point for me in the way that bl2016-jessewilliamsandwifeack people should deal with the racial tensions we face daily. We cannot be coy and nice and sweet all the time when speaking about these issues because these issues are taking our lives. They marginalize us and keep us from reaching optimal success too often. And with the recent killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, these situations are at an all time high. How can we stand by and, in an attempt to not hurt anyone’s feelings, sugarcoat what’s real?

As I watched Williams’ speech, I was inspired, as many were, and had an empathy about who I am as a black woman. There stood this light skinned, blue eyed, bi-racial black man who, with his white mother in the audience, called “whiteness” an “invention.” His boldness taught me a lesson. In the moments in life where we have the opportunity to use our influence to further a cause, there is no time to filter our comments because the truth deserves to be told, despite how uncomfortable it may be.

Now more than ever we have to stand confidently in who we are so that we can make it in a world that is making it harder and harder to make it. We cannot worry about offending someone. When you peel all the layers back, if someone close to you doesn’t get why you feel the way that you do, then they probably aren’t the ally you thought or hoped them to be.

If we do not learn to stand up for who we are, unapologetically, we will never get past this place. It’s not just for famous black entertainers to risk their careers and say something. All of us have the power to be the change we need in our worlds. It’s the little that all of us do that adds up to a larger more useful result.

Jesse Williams definitely rekindled what Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar started earlier this year. Let us build upon it and take it all the way up, so that the plight we continue to face will end in success.

Staff Writer; Rasheda Abdullah

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