Some Black Men Were In Their Feelings After Jesse Williams Praised Black Women at the BET Awards

The 16th annual BET Awards ceremony was held in Los Angeles this past Sunday. Through all the comedic bits and star-studded performances (Bey herself came through to perform her black power anthem Freedom with Kendrick Lamar) the most memorable moment came from actor and activist Jesse Williams. Williams accepted his humanitarian award and gave one of the most poignant and moving speeches in the history of the ceremony.

Many likened Williams words to poetry as he eloquently rejected systemic racism, black celebrity consumerism and cultural appropriation. But the line that had many black folks talking was his explicit uplifting of black women.

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But some black men felt a way about Jesse Williams’ unabashed celebration of black womanhood.

Some black women eloquently responded to the ignorant critiques with receipts.


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Here are the facts; in a society where black women face higher rates of sexual, emotional and physical violence than other ethnicities of women, we find ourselves with very few public defenders.

When popular London nightclub DSTRKT refused entry to dark-skinned black women, very few black male entertainers spoke out — despite having performed at or attended the club. Singer Omarion was the only black male American entertainer to boycott the establishment. And last year — in the thick of Black Lives Matter — barely anyone showed up for a NY protest for Rekia Boyd, who was shot in the head and killed by police while standing in a Chicago park.

It is heartbreaking to compare this to the outpouring of public support high profile black women have shown black men. From Beyonce paying homage to Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and others in Lemonade, to Janelle Monae’s protest anthem Hell You Talmbout, black women consistently fall in line for black men, but find that the crowds thin considerably when we need support on issues of sexual and domestic violence, and culturally accepted misogyny.

Jesse Williams is one of the few and only high profile black men who has used a public platform to praise and ‘rep’ black women. And it was just ONE LINE. It is very disturbing that some men feel that black women do not deserve ONE SENTENCE of affirmation on prime time television.