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Is Jesse Williams Not Black Enough?

June 30, 2016

 

 

Unless you've been living under a rock, I'm sure you've heard about Jesse Williams's speech on June 26th at the BET Awards after accepting his Humanitarian Award. Jesse Williams is known for his role on Grey's Anatomy as a handsome doctor but over the weekend that's not what people remember him for. People are dedicating Tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, etc. to Jesse all because of Jesse's five minute and some seconds speech. In the speech, Jesse Williams thanked his parents who were in the audience. He thanked Black women for putting everyone first before themselves. He thanked the many civil rights leaders and activists who work relentlessly to advocate for Black people. Jesse also addressed the Black plight, police brutality, Black murders that happen way too often, discrimination, our culture being used as customs but our oppression being ignored, justified, or ridiculed. Jesse even gave a verbal lashing at the audience, a sea of Black faces for having the wealth to change the system of things but choose not to, so it's up to us as every day Blacks to change the system by how we interface with the system. Jesse mentioned people giving opinions without solutions and stating "Just because we're magic doesn't mean we're not real."  Jesse left the whole audience at a Black award show either speechless or chanting in agreement. Soon as Jesse walked off stage, his speech set a fire blaze all over social media. Most people agreed with Jesse and thanked him for having the desire to speak on the Black plight on live television without holding back. 

 

Then, of course, there were the racists who attempted pulling out the non-existent "race card" calling Jesse a reverse racist and that he was targeting Whites. Other people, Black people, Black dark skin men were questioning Jesse's genetic makeup to conclude that he wasn't Black enough to speak on Black issues. These men shamelessly tried connecting Jesse's appearance to colorism and even validated race mixing because Jesse was and still is getting praise by Black women for his speech. That picked at my nerve that I had to make several Facebook posts pointing out these envious Black men's hypocrisy and the lack of credibility behind their salacious claims. I also had to create a YouTube video titled: Why Jesse Williams Is Bae & Y'all Need To Stop Hating. Is it true Black people have favor or liking towards lighter skin people? Absolutely. Bleaching creams are sky high amongst dark skin people. First India, second Nigeria and even in the Caribbean with Jamaicans and cake soap (detergent). However, Jesse's speech had nothing to do with his skin tone. Yes, Jesse is a biracial man. His mother is Caucasian and his father, his African American. He has tan skin with baby blue eyes and many say "good hair" (anything outside of kinky, coily, tightly curly hair), but I never saw his hair grown out to make that call. Now Black men in the media and outside the media have praised light skin women. They even claim it's a preference, you know, never mind the personality, ambition, character, motives, beliefs, culture, etc. nope strictly how much less pigmentation a person has. Black women have been choking on this reality for decades that many Black men prefer a Black woman who looks like Becky with a tan. Women who are idolized for fitting into this mold are Beyoncé, Lena Horn, Lauren London, Halle Berry, Mariah Carey, Tisha Campbell, Diana Ross and the list goes on. Dark skin Black women are told daily that our negro nose and our Jackson Five nostrils are everything but pretty and we should want to aspire to an image that's not of our liking or just drown in our own pool of ugliness. 

 

But now with the re-emergence of Blackness and loving who you are in your skin as a Black person, we've seen notable light skin/biracial people who have come out to speak on Blackness. We've seen J.Cole, Akala, Amandla Stenberg, Zendaya, etc. come out and speak on Black causes whether it's the lack of representation in the media, whether it's appropriating Black culture, whether it's racism etc. The problem that dark skin men are having is that light skin men and biracial men are speaking and getting attention for it. I started seeing the wave of lowkey hate, highkey envy with Drake. Since Drake has been on the seen people, have been criticizing his artistic expression along with his skin tone. As if being light skin and male makes you automatically feminine or soft, dare these men to say this to Malcolm X in his heyday. Then came the Steph Curry phenomenal and dark skin Black men were conflicted. Steph was out here playing a manly sport like professional basketball, but he was light skin. Dark skin men ended up settling for 'he's a great basketball player but he's still light skin and isn't better than Lebron.' J.Cole somewhat was able to miss the flak of his biracial roots, possibly because he isn't deemed "pretty." He has more African aesthetics as oppose to Jesse and Steph Currys light eyes and good hair. J.Cole rocks free forming locs, has a negroid nose, and raps (a contact sport I've heard) so his "Blackness" is intact. Plus he marched with Black Lives Matter and went to Farrakhan's Justice or Else march back in late 2015. 

 

The real issue so many dark skin Black men have with Jesse Williams is that he's unapologetically Black despite being biracial and "pretty." What do you mean VIE? I mean, if Jesse was out walking a tightrope and keeping his mouth closed about the covert sometimes overt racism we average every day Black people experience these same envious Black men wouldn't have said anything. These are the same Black men who are supposedly pissed that President Obama has ignored the plight of Black people for almost eight years, and he's BIRACIAL. These are also the same Black men who have no problem bussing in their draws talking about how much prettier and how much they prefer a light skin/biracial woman and that dark skin women need to accept this and stop being bitter. "Pretty" means that Jesse has the Eurocentric features to play it safe. He is just Black enough for Black people to say, 'Yes, he's one of us' but White enough for people to say, 'Ah yes, the safe mulatto. He's not like the other Negros. Come here under our wing and we'll give you access to all sorts of things.' Jesse had the OPTION to play it safe and yet he put his career on the line for Black people, Black people who have more melanin and more negroid features than him who don't have the option of choosing to play safe. How many dark Black actors that have come before him who never gave a speech like his? Samuel L. Jackson, Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Forest Whitaker, Michael B. Jordan (bae) and so many others. They chose not to speak yet Jesse did, and most of the men mentioned above have way more money and status to have gotten just as much if not a bigger buzz than Jesse. Jesse's message was to unite and change the system and the slave minded sought out ways to disharmonize his speech. 

 

Black people will complain about celebrities, Black celebrities not doing enough or anything for Black people to advance our progression but when one does, we want to question the amount of melanin in his blood and if that makes him valid. The real question is did you hear Jesse's message, will you link arms with Jesse and improve the Black condition or will you moan about his "prettiness" because you lowkey hate, highkey envy his looks and his spotlight, and if you had a choice to choose, you'd be like the Negros in the audience speechless or chanting in agreement. 

 

Be Entertained. Be Enlightened. Be Loved. ✌

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