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Ask Ashleigh: What Did You Think About Jesse Williams’ Speech at the BET Awards?


To be honest, I’m still processing. I think that what Jesse said was powerful, timely, and incredibly strategic to do at an awards show that often never addresses how Black capitalism will never change the violence we experience within white supremacy. I also want to hold space for the fact that so much of what wasn’t said about the violence that happens against Black trans and queer folks, and Black disabled folks, and Black undocumented folks is saddening.

I’m at a place where I’m realizing that many of us will never feel inspired by the same things or the same people – and that’s okay. I think many of us harbor righteous resentment and anger for those who get a platform and get the praise of saying what we’ve been harmed and killed for in our more marginalized and silenced communities. I also think that there is a place for joy and pride in moments like these even when there was more that could’ve been said and done. Small victories, small moments of power, small strides can ignite others in our communities, and that’s okay. Even when we want more effective means of change, sometimes it’s okay to value the moments like Jesse Williams’ speech.

Related:Jessie Williams Brought Up Exactly What’s Wrong With Hollywood, And Justin Timberlake Got Dragged On Twitter For It.

For everyone who was inspired, empowered, and amazed (especially because it was on the damn BET Awards of all places) by Jesse Williams’ speech…

For anyone who was affirmed in anger and bitterness because he is saying all the things black women and femmes have already said and will never get the recognition, privileges, or safety Jesse has…

For the folks who are hurt and angered by the lack of inclusion of black transwomen on that long list of names…

For the folks who don’t know how to feel, or who feel confused yet hopeful while also aware of the critique needed in this moment…

For those of us who can see Jesse using his privilege but also question those of us who never get the seat at the table and never get the acknowledgment of the violence you had to suffer before you could ever theorize it…

I see all of you. And I see myself in all of those feelings.

There is no right way to feel right now. We all don’t have to be appreciative of everything we’re given. We don’t always have to offer critique even when critique is always valid. We don’t always have to feel energized enough to explicate our feelings about shit that doesn’t change our immediate hurt that we’re constantly dealing with. We all don’t have to agree. All of our feelings in this moment are valid.

Related: To The Black Celebrities Who Care About Black Lives: We Need You

Featured Image: Screengrab/Youtube


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