Did you catch the BET awards?
I’m sure if you missed it you’ve seen plenty of clips from the episode or heard about it by this point.
It was a great show, fulfilling its promise of a great tribute to the legendary Prince. (Billboard have a seat and take plenty of notes) Of course there were moments that made us question the state of Hip Hop but there were other moments that allowed us to poke our chest out, glad to be a part of a culture that stays woke.
One of those moments was a speech that snatched eyebrows back and demanded the attention of all those listening as Jesse Williams boldly spoke to his people, cameras be damned, when he accepted the 2016 BET Humanitarian award.
Missed it? Get you some of this right here:
Did you hear that greatness? The knowledge that threw itself out into the atmosphere? Not for shine or recognition but simply because someone has to voice what the majority is thinking. Not the majority that want to loot and burn down buildings but the majority that wants to do credible work in an effort to move its culture, society and communities towards the future and a better life. It was freaking awesome but unfortunately it’s not new.
People of Color (POCs) have been woke for quite some time in this country, attempting to make sure their voices are heard in the wake of increasing injustices, police brutality, racist rhetoric in political speeches, systematic and institutionalized racism that has become as common to us as breathing. So in reality, Williams basically got on television and spoke to the brothers and sisters as if we were at the crib enjoying dinner and a game of spades.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. Some of us needed another wake up call (because there’s been plenty before) to show us that even though the road is hard we can’t give up now. Some of those who are content to carry on with the way things are needed to know that they need to get out of the way and stop blocking those who actually want to crate change. Did you hear that Stacy Dash? And yes that includes those who are innocent bystanders that watch the abuse and injustices go down and do nothing to stop it. You have to pick a side. Saying you’re not racist but being a proponent of white privilege is just as bad as attending a Klan meeting without the sheet.
Of course you can’t really say anything without some getting in their feelings. Of course, I don’t think there would’ve been as many in their feelings if the show had not been aired on Viacom’s sister channels. Don’t believe me? Check the receipts:
You see boys and girls this is exactly what Williams was talking about. The pure unadulterated hate that lives online. Of course they wouldn’t have said anything if their own children hadn’t seen it. I have receipts for that too. Ignorant phrases like this popped up across the web:
#Staymadabby! #SitdownBeckywiththegoodhair. Next time make sure the ENTIRE video plays because as a journalist you should know that context is everything.
So you want me to believe that you’re not racist after saying things like this? Not only do I think you’re racist I also think your ignorant. Anyone that has Twitter fingers could also use them to do a Google search and see that Viacom is owned by an old white man, not black owned. Also that BET has no control over which sister stations air it’s programming. That also happens at the top. The question you should be asking is why the top executives at Viacom felt that you sweet, innocent little children would gladly tune in to that program.
That just brings us a whole different beast that the View touched on:
See what I mean?
I think Williams was another loud voice in the crowd that hit home for both POCs and non-POCs. He inspired you to think about the actions and decisions made on a daily basis that lead to brown and black bodies in the street, whether they’re dead or homeless. He invited you to search your consciousness and decide whether you would be part of the problem or the solution. He reminded you that the struggle is far from over and that there needs to be people courageous and selfless enough to lead others toward solutions.
Most importantly he reminded you that humanity should come before money and I’m okay with that.
I’m Just Saying.