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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)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLbrhcoGzus]


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.

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