The BET Awards aired last night at 8 pm with over 7,000,000 viewers. Black Magic was in full effect as the crowd was stunned and stirred by performances from artists like Beyoncé all the way to Future. The show’s Prince tribute definitely topped all other tributes with performances from Jennifer Hudson, Erykah Badu, Stevie Wonder and others. The many moments that made the BET Awards remind us of how renown the awards program is, were topped with genuine, heartfelt speeches from amazing artists, humanitarians, and ethnic trailblazers.
Jesse Williams though!
Along with the many awards given, perhaps the most profound and talked-about moment of the show was when Jesse Williams gave the most prolific acceptance speech we have ever heard. He spoke about police brutality and the desperate need for equal rights for black people. The entire internet expressed their appreciation for his call to action. The speech was so good, that we can’t even pick out the best quotes. Here are few that circulated social media:
“Yesterday would have been Tamir Rice’s 14th birthday… paid public servants …[police]… can pull a drive-by, and 12-year-old boy is playing alone in a park in broad daylight, killing him on television and going home to make a sandwich.”
“Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white people every day. So what’s going to happen is we’re going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function in ours.”
“Now dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back. To put someone’s brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies and now we pray to get paid with brands for our bodies”
The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That’s not our job. All right, stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest in equal rights for black people, then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down!”
“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.”
Jesse Williams’ speech last night crowned him a modern day activist that appeals to the younger generation. Many of us are hoping that his words have resonated calling our young one to get into actions. Williams is a true humanitarian.
To learn more about the Jesse Williams, who he is and what he has done for our community visit: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/things-jesse-williams/story?id=40167629 .
On another note, if you tuned in any later than 8;07, you missed a compelling and unforgettable performance by Beyoncé. She performed her single “Freedom” along with Kendrick Lamar. The performance symbolized the struggle that Black people experience everyday in our society. Beyonce left as the most awarded artist of the night finishing with five wins. If you didn’t catch the must-see performance view it here http://www.bet.com/video/betawards/2016/performances/beyonce-kendrick-lamar-freedom.html .