This year’s BET Awards were packed full of amazing moments, from Beyoncé’s surprise performance to the many Prince tributes. But the morning after, there’s really only one thing that EVERYONE is talking about. When Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams stepped onto the stage to accept the Humanitarian Award, no one expected the depth of what was about to happen. Delivering a statement addressing racial issues, Jesse made what is being called one of the most memorable speeches of the award’s history, and you can definitely believe that once you see it (below) and when you check out how celebs responded with praise (and a little controversy).
“Now — 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. Alright? It’s kind of basic mathematics,” Jesse began, before going on to speak about racial struggles, the daunting issues Black women face (“we can and will do better for you”), and recent victims of anti-Black violence: Tamir Rice, Rekia Boyd, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland and Dorian Hunt (names we all need to recognize). You can check out the speech below (and you definitely should whether you’re seeing for the first time or the 10th).
Obviously as moved as we were at home, the celebs came out fast and hard to praise Jesse Williams and his powerful words.
Although there was also a little controversy caused by Justin Timberlake, who didn’t respond too well to a tweeter who called him out on racial and cultural appropriation.
Justin, in turn, did the celeb-backpedal.
Check out Jesse’s speech below and get up with the crowd to give him a standing ovation. “Just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.” *chills*
What did you think about Jesse Williams BET speech? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Frederick M. Brown/Getty)