Jesse Williams receives the Humanitarian Award at the 2016 BET Awards

Really I just wanted to put this speech on my blog – because it’s amazing.  They seemed to have cracked down on showing it on YouTube, so I added this tweet with it embedded.  If you haven’t watched it yet, watch it.

I have to say, there is one funny moment when the whole hall goes silent after he called the freedom promised in the after life a hustle. But let’s be real, religion has been used as a tool for oppression since its inception. Spirituality is the key that rings true within us all.  Knowledge means power, and power can’t help but corrupt someone who is not fixed in wisdom, but knows of its secrets.

Of course, that’s not what this speech was about. – Just a side note from yours truly.


Featured image via


  1. I really enjoyed his speech. Thank you for posting it. I had heard about it but not heard/seen it. I do have some questions though. And please understand, I am merely asking for thoughts and based off my own perception. (Question is for you as well as your readers.)

    First off, I am completely against all forms of biased against anyone. I believe people, all people, should be held responsible and applauded for their own lives, actions, character and skills. I have very close friends of different races, sexes, religions, cultures and life-styles. So I understand the need for fairness. Here is my worry of late. In the past several years, there seems to be a lot of tension: in races, religions and sexes. And I am sure there are countless good reasons and stories for them. But meanwhile, while the valid arguments go on, there are those who use this momentum for their own gain. Let me explain without going on too much. I am in the Army and had one Soldier who tried to say I was “harassing them.” They didn’t quite say the word racism, but it was pretty clear what they meant when they said unfair treatment/signally me out… (I am white and they are black by the way.) My response to them was to invite our equal opportunity office into the conversation about our issues. Which mind you, the issues were them: being late, not completing work, being very disrespectful, not following orders and arguing when those tasks were followed up on…. So, as a military leader, this behavior was completely ridiculous. We can’t go to a war zone with Soldiers acting like this. The military is built on discipline and this Soldier did not have it. And frankly, I think their ethics were in question too. But when trying to discipline them, they were very quick to call me harassing and claim to unfair treatment. However, as soon as I stood my ground and said, ok, let’s talk to others (cuz I had nothing to hid and was following all the rules of leadership), they stopped their claim.

    Obviously, this is way different than the cases of attack and murder on the news. I just wanted to ask for thoughts though because I feel like some dishonest people (and I don’t just mean one race) use this heightened tension to create fear in others so that can manipulate things into their favor. So, how do we make progress that should be made without the bad apples playing up the tense environment? And again, this is not just for race. I have seen people play the “girl card,” the “religion card,” and so on. Every segment of society has a few that will manipulate. The question is how do we filter out those who play with these very serious issues? We cannot progress as a society if we make everyone feel like they can’t speak to each other, have to tip toe around each other, and accuse everyone of hate/biased/etc. I don’t doubt there is racism/sexism/etc out there, but not every single white person hates blacks. Not every single man demeans women. Not all Christians fear Muslims. How do we grow together to fight those who really are the problem when we seem to be dividing into camps?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Bad apples,” are surely a big segment of the population and I just don’t feel like they should define a movement, no matter what the movement is.
      The thing is, for a black person, to hear the word lazy is just one of those words that cuts deeper than just the word alone may seem. Whether or not a person really is lazy or not, when you hear the word your mind will automatically go there (to the racism debate). Because I am mixed, and I have an Indian name, people would either forget or not know that I am black. So I can’t tell you the number of times at work (previous jobs) that I heard white people talking about the lazy blacks, speaking freely cause they didn’t think that I would take offense. Because the word has become such a part of the stigma, it transcends the situation, fairly or unfairly. I am not saying that you can’t use the word, and in the military, like you said, discipline is a must, but when you use the word you have to understand that it is charged with more than just the surface meaning. We all have to do what we can to understand each others perspectives.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I can only imagine how hard it would be to hear people talking back about your race/culture/origin and here you are and they are dumb and clueless. And they are part of the bad apples too, the ones perpetuating the hate and stereotypes. And then you have good people who are walking on egg shells because others are quick to assume race is an issue. It’s a difficult world these days, and so very complicated. I don’t know what the answer is. I wish I did. But I guess all I can do is chose my words wisely and keep doing what I do: treat everyone based on their work ethic, character, behavior, manners and skills. And none of that matters where you came from. What matters in the Army is standards and they are for all people. Maybe that’s it…we make everyone join the Army? No..that wouldn’t work either. Guess I will pray.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for posting this Sreejit. The part that most gave me something to mull over and think about was when Jesse talked about branding, being branded with names.
    I appreciate yet another step in consciousness raising.

    Liked by 1 person

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