The BET Awards tribute to the famous musician Prince was full of acts that were very memorable, ranging from the Roots, to Jennifer Hudson and Erykah Badu. However, the moment that stole the show was when Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams made a very memorable speech. Jesse Williams called for three things as witnessed here: the end of police brutality, stopping “the white appropriation of Black culture,” and encouraging people to vote so that the U.S. would not have a political firestorm with Trump similar to what happened in the EU referendum over Brexit.
Police brutality is an issue that has plagued the U.S. as residents have seen examples time and time again of young Black men–especially–being victims of egregious, excessive force. Laquan McDonald, Freddie Gray, and Eric Garner are just some examples of young Black mens’ lives who were taken away from them without having gone through a system of due process.
Williams’s speech also highlighted how artists such as Justin Timberlake have co-opted dance moves from Michael Jackson as well as techniques of a wide array of Black artists in order to help build a music empire. Williams’s point was that white artists should stop trying to copycat Black culture in order to profit from it. This might include artists such as Iggy Azalea, who is a white female rapper who has also profited from the co-opting of Black culture.
Finally, Williams was speaking out against the ills of remaining politically neutral in the face of the Trump campaign, which would like nothing more than to ensure that minorities–including the Black community–do not vote in the 2016 Presidential election.
Jesse Williams’s speech highlights three major issues that are important to the Black community, as witnessed at the BET Awards. Hopefully people listen and take decisive action.