Jesse Williams' 2016 BET Humanitarian Award Speech is Still Relevant Today [Full Transcript]


Four years ago this month, Actor and Activist Jesse Williams gave a remarkable speech on racism during the acceptance of his Humanitarian Award at the 2016 BET Awards. This speech vibrated through the Black community and still today, his words are as relevant now as they were then. After the last couple of months, Black people have had to endure and reflect on the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. These are just the latest victims who have lost their lives to police brutality and racism. We are constantly reminded that nothing has changed.


Read Jesse Williams' entire transcript acceptance speech below.


Peace peace. Thank you, Debra. Thank you, BET. Thank you Nate Parker, Harry and Debbie Allen for participating in that {video}.


Before we get into it, I just want to say I brought my parents out tonight. I just want to thank them for being here, for teaching me to focus on comprehension over career, and that they make sure I learn what the schools were afraid to teach us. And also thank my amazing wife for changing my life.


Now, this award – this is not for me. This is for the real organizers all over the country – the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do.


It’s kind of basic mathematics – the more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize.