I don’t have to tell you the story, that is unless you live under a really big rock, or were on Juno as it just reached Jupiter this weekend. Jesse Williams dropped the mic of all mics. He came and swooped up the souls of Black folks still ailing from countless slaughters on American streets. He deposited hope into our veins reminiscent only of the days of Bellafonte, King and X. Many, myself included, are now under this voice for the first time in our lives. Eloquent but with the delivery of a “we aint taking no more of your stuff” Black Panther-esque. His speech last week at the BET Awards was one of classic television. This call to action, the action to know your own worth. Speaking to the depths of heart and spirit. We applauded him.
Others didn’t. In these days when presidential candidates align themselves clearly with white supremacists theories, it is immoral to those of warped mindset to allow their views to be questioned. The daring of calling truth to the carpet is in their minds reason to call foul, so they packed their white privilege into deflective napsacks and called Jesse a racist. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised when I stare flagrant ignorance in the face, yet I find my chin needing to be pulled up from the dropped position as I remind myself that this is nothing new. When the Whistleblower calls out a racist system, that racist system looks for every opportunity to remove accountability from itself, and thus references the Whistleblower negligent in some way or fashion. This is as ludicrous as it would be to accuse the sexual assault victim of guilt because her skirt was too high. Oops, this happens in this society everyday. My bad.
So there was a petition on change.org circulating to get Jesse fired from Grey’s Anatomy because he was a so-called racist. Then there was a counter petition on the same site calling for empathy for his stand while requesting he be allowed to keep his position on the show. Okay so I suppose it’s easy to say these things after the fact, but I can honestly say I wasn’t worried.
Why There Was No Need To Worry
See if you were a real Jesse Williams fan before the BET awards, if you’ve been following his Tweets on matters of racial discrimination, police brutality and Black beauty and purpose, you’d know that his speech on BET was nothing more than an extension of the sentiments he shares regularly. Dude drops bows on em like regularly! You know how many cups of tea I’ve sipped as he’s offered gems dripped in jewels on the truths of our condition and what we need to do to overcome it. He got my attention after marching in the streets for Mike Brown in Ferguson when very very few celebrities, or clergy were willing to do much more than a nod in solidarity for heinous acts against humans in Black skin.
Annnnd if you were a real Shonda Rhimes fan and have been watching Grey’s Anatomy for a decade, and have taken any and all joyous rides in and throughout ShondaLand, then you’d know that she very likely shares Jesse’s views. I’m just saying. Jesse isn’t going anywhere. But I do find it all the more heart fluttering that she made this be known with her simple Tweet, “Um, people? Boo don’t need a petition. ”
So today I sit in the beautiful and warm afterglow of black conscious folk, who have not only power and pull in Hollywood, but care enough about Black folk to put that power and pull to work in a real way.