“We Are Not Interested in Conditional Freedom” – Quotes from Jesse Williams, BET Awards 2016

Jesse Williams, best known for his role in Grey’s Anatomy, gave the most relevant and inspiring #blacklivesmatter speech at the BET 2016 Awards after accepting the humanitarian award.

In addition to dedicating the award to his family and friends, he also dedicated the well-deserved honor to the black women, “who have spent their lifetimes nurturing everyone before themselves” and “the real organizers all over the country, the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, [and to] the students that are realizing that [the] system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do.”

Below are a few quotes from Jesse Williams’ moving and powerful speech. His words do not require elaboration – they speak volumes on their own.

  • “If you have no interest in EQUAL RIGHTS for Black people, then do not make suggestions to those that do!”

  • “The burden of the brutalized is NOT to comfort the bystander.”

  • “Freedom is always coming in the hereafter…we want it NOW.”

  • “Now dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right this back for someone’s BRAND on our body when we spent centuries praying with BRANDS on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for BRANDS on our bodies.”

  • “The more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will MOBILIZE.”

  • “But FREEDOM is somehow always conditional here. “You’re free,” they keep telling us, “but she would’ve been alive if she hadn’t acted so… FREE.” 

  • “And we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while EXTRACTING OUR CULTURE, our dollars, our entertainment like oil, black gold.”

  • “Ghettoizing and demeaning our creations, then stealing them, GENTRIFYING OUR GENIUS, and then TRYING US ON LIKE COSTUMES before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit.”

  • “The thing is though, that just because we’re MAGIC doesn’t mean we’re not REAL.”

Jesse Williams’ speech spoke to issues of racial inequality and empowered the Black community to #staywoke, assured them that their reality, though unfair and ignored, is shared, and motivated many to take action against oppressive systems.

So much truth was spoken through Jesse Williams. He said what needed to be said in the most relevant, eloquent and magical way possible.

See link to full speech below:



#BlackGirlMagic Out!


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