Listening to radical voices

Written By: - Date published: 8:15 am, July 21st, 2016 - 7 comments
Categories: activism, racism - Tags:

Jesse Williams is an actor on the TV show Grey’s Anatomy. He’s also a civil rights activist who used his revolutionary voice to deliver a potent speech about the Black Lives Matter movement at the BET Awards 3 weeks ago. A speech that is almost slam poetry performance by its end, he speaks as a black man to his own people without regard for whiteness. But white people should be listening if they want to understand not only Black perspectives but also how activism can work. Here’s the video (5 mins)


The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That’s not our job, alright – 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. If you have no interest, if you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.

Full transcript.

Huff Post interview with Williams’ on the Stay Woke documentary.



7 comments on “Listening to radical voices”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    Brilliant speech. Thanks Weka.

  2. Heather Grimwood 2

    Seems no time since the time of Sharpville, the protests in America, the work needed here by C.A.R.E., H.A.R.T. , the then W.C.C. in support of folk oppressed because of skin colour…..and the rise of strong authors in both Africa and America.
    One wonders with sadness why this hate by white-skinned bigots has flared up so grossly, or has it never been quelled……just not in the ‘news’?

  3. Thank weka great speech – “the invention of whiteness…” so many powerful lines, well worth multiple listens.

  4. Ad 4

    BLM need to sort themselves into a structured movement fast. One speech doesn’t cut it.

    The damage from lots of dead shot cops has already got Obama off side as well as all moderate Republicans.

  5. Sabine 5

    does not matter how many times one can listen to it. It is still poetry, it is still true.
    thanks for posting this one up.

    • Heather Grimwood 5.1

      Returned to this after busy day….yes, it is a wonderful speech ..haunting that its content no effort to deliver, its sincerity emphasised by being given with no notes…haunting that there is still a great need for such.

  6. AmaKiwi 6

    Now let’s translate it for the NZ context.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Compliance strengthened for property speculation
    Inland Revenue is to gain greater oversight of land transfer information to ensure those buying and selling properties are complying with tax rules on property speculation. Cabinet has agreed to implement recommendation 99 of the Tax Working Group’s (TWG) final ...
    7 days ago
  • Plan to expand protection for Maui and Hector’s dolphins
    The Government is taking action to expand and strengthen the protection for Māui and Hector’s dolphins with an updated plan to deal with threats to these native marine mammals. Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash ...
    7 days ago
  • Cameras on vessels to ensure sustainable fisheries
    Commercial fishing vessels at greatest risk of encountering the rare Māui dolphin will be required to operate with on-board cameras from 1 November, as the next step to strengthen our fisheries management system. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Fisheries Minister ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Greatest number of new Police in a single year
    A new record for the number of Police officers deployed to the regions in a single year has been created with the graduation today of Recruit Wing 326. Police Minister Stuart Nash says the graduation of 78 new constables means ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Ensuring multinationals pay their fair share of tax
    New Zealand is pushing on with efforts to ensure multinational companies pay their fair share of tax, with the release of proposed options for a digital services tax (DST). In February Cabinet agreed to consult the public on the problem ...
    3 weeks ago