WATCH: Jesse Williams Has Just Two Words for Bigots and Race-Baiters During his Amazing BET Awards Speech
Jesse Williams had a powerful, politically charged message in his 2016 BET Awards acceptance speech Sunday. The "Grey’s Anatomy" actor was the recipient of the BET Awards’ 2016 Humanitarian Award, and struck a chord with the audience when evoking the names of many killed by police.
"Yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice's 14th birthday, so I don't want to hear any more about how far we've come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on a 12-year-old playing alone in the park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then going home to make a sandwich,” the Black Lives Matter activist told the audience.
“Tell Rekia Boyd how it's so much better than it is to live in 2012 than it is to live in 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Dorian Hunt,” Williams said.
He also spoke about “conditional freedom” and preventing the pattern of repression.
“There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There has been no job we haven't done. There is no tax they haven't leveed against us, and we've paid all of them. But freedom is somehow always conditional here. 'You're free,' they keep telling us. But she would have been alive if she hadn't acted so... free,” the actor said.
"Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but you know what though, the hereafter is a hustle. We want it now,” he demanded
And for those whose actions contract those demands, Williams had words, too.
“If you have no interest in equal rights for black people, then do not make suggestions to those who do,” Williams said. In other words, "Sit down."