Watch Jesse Williams’ Incredible Humanitarian Award Speech at the BET Awards in its Entirety

If you let Jesse Williams tell it, he saw none of this coming. He even joked last night, after receiving the Humanitarian Award from BET CEO Debra Lee, that the producers of Grey’s Anatomy probably left him on payroll by accident. Well, since then, Williams’ impactful career has been no accident. He’s emerged as arguably Grey’s biggest star, and off-set, he’s developed a knack for speaking truth regardless of the circumstance, and a penchant for vigilant activism, both on social media and on the front lines.

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For that, he received last night’s Humanitarian honors, and in just under 5 minutes, Williams delivered a moving and jarring call to action to a crowd that inhaled his every word. “Freedom is always coming in the hereafter,” said Williams. “But, you know what though? The hereafter is a hustle. We want it now. And let’s get a couple things straight, just a little side note. The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That’s not our job, right, so 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.”

You can watch his full speech above, and read a transcript of it below.


2016 BET Humanitarian Award Speech ― Jesse Williams – 2016 BET Humanitarian Award Speech