Category Archives: entertainment

Echoing powerful voices 

I missed the BET awards on June 27 so I missed the tribute to Prince along with several other exceptional performances. Last night, my partner and I watched a video of Kendrick Lamar and Beyonce performing “Freedom”. We both were amazed and completely enthralled by their energy, the activism and the  enlightenment in the music. I did’t see any other performances or speeches on the night the show aired. I still don’t know who won for “Best Rapper” or “Best R &B” artist. I will eventually get around to getting the scoop on all of this.

Although I didn’t watch the show, I came across the social media feedback on Spike Lee’s outfit. I didn’t provide any commentary on the the purple hat deemed “Willy Wonka” like. I didn’t find any value in doing so (I understand that Lee, a genius in many respects was obviously paying tribute to Prince, plus there’s more to life than ragging someone for their wardrobe) . I also didn’t publicly comment on Kendrick and Beyonce’s performance, although it did make for good conversation in my home.

When I woke up this morning,  June 27, my partner told me that there was one speech that everyone was talking about, one recipient that social media and the world couldn’t seem to get enough of.  Jesse Williams. Jesse Williams, the actor and activist received the “Bet 2016 Humanitarian Award.”

Williams delivered a speech that resulted in him trending on social media and that was making headlines. His looks and remarks were the center of discussion for many.

My fiancee’ was the first to mention the speech to me. She urged me to watch it. I called my dad on the way to work. My father and mother instilled the importance and value of knowing our history in us throughout our childhood and continue to do so. Books on black history, pictures of Harriet Tubman, discussion about Black Panthers giving out free lunch and knowledge were just some of the ways my parents enlightened us.

When my dad speaks about leaders, he talks about Nat Turner, Malcolm X, figures from Black wall Street,  Ali, Martin Luther King. When my mom talks about leaders, she mentions many of the same names, throwing in the success of Oprah Winfrey and President Barack Obama along with others. On Monday morning when I called my dad on the way to work, another name emerged. Jesse Williams. My dad, the same way that my fiancee’ had almost an hour earlier excitedly talked about Williams’ speech.

At this point, the actor who I started following on Twitter because of his activism was becoming a “Stokely Carmichael” like figure in the minds of my loved ones.

Heavily anticipating listening to the knowledge, insight and passion that I was told Williams shared during the speech,  I read the transcript from his acceptance speech while I had a brief moment during the workday. Moved and strongly motivated by my family urging me to watch the speech and based on the way people seemed to be moved, I knew I had to watch it.  My best friend sent me an e-mail with a link of Williams’s speech. This was one more sign that watching it was a priority.

So I did. I felt the same thing that they felt. I needed to share the speech. We need to listen to Williams’ speech but we need to do more than listen to it. We need to live it. I thank him for being a wise and thought-provoking passionate individual who knows that life and living is about more than what they see us as, it’s about what and who we are: HUMAN.

 

Check out some quick thoughts I had after watching  William’s speech which I thought was extraordinarily honest, insightful and powerful.
It’s amazing to see how education and a thirst for knowledge can result in an ability to deliver eye-opening truths that need to be known.
 
Williams really hit on some major points and I identify with the majority of  what he said.
 
His passion and commitment to activism is certainly something to model. He is focused on improving conditions for other people.
 
I love that he demands that we receive better treatment and more respect as people along with fairness, justice and equality. We should not have to ask for those things, as humans we are all entitled to the essentials and beauties of life without always being shown the ugly, nasty brutalities that we are shown. We should all have access to resources, protection, education, health care, justice, food (that nourishes our mind, body and soul) and education.
 
These things are our human right. It’s ridiculous that we have had to invest so much time and energy making up for years of oppression that continue to add up as people are gunned down; that continue to add up as people fall victims to health and financial disparities.
 
There have been great strides taken by blacks who have revolted, escaped slavery and emerged to levels of success never thought to be imagined. Yet and still there is this overwhelming fear that exists in the heart of some that want to continue to perpetuate backwards stereotypes while shoving us further into poverty where black on black violence equals survival of the fittest, prison systems and letting us be buried in a world where we have to deal with issues faced by all humans while overcoming the struggles that are presented due to being black.
 
We are better than what they think we are.  Williams is an inspiring young man, activist and leader. It’s dope, peace and amazing that he uses his platform to raise awareness and speak truth. I hope that many people hear his words and take the time to explore the powerful voices of those who he echoed.
— Sharieka