**Warning: Graphic Content**
“Just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.” ~ Jesse Williams
At first glance, most people don’t know what I am.
My skin is the color of brown sugar, sometimes light, sometimes dark, depending on the season. My dark hair is somewhere between curly and wavy, perfectly straight if I want a change. My thin, bumpy nose tends to confuse my ethnicity further. Even my name throws people off.
And while ethnically, I am mixed, racially I am not.
Make no mistake about it: I’m black.
I’ve had friends, family members, teachers, employers and even strangers on the street question my blackness (“You don’t look black! But you’re not black black, right?). But I am still in fact black.
Which is why I was equal parts inspired and empowered when I saw the video of Jesse Williams’ acceptance speech at last night’s BET Awards. While most people know Williams as Doctor Jackson Avery on Grey’s Anatomy, he is also an outspoken and passionate supporter of Black Lives Matter.
Williams received the Humanitarian Award for his activism and used the moment to deliver a beyond powerful speech about police brutality, cultural appropriation and race in this country. He spoke the names of those who have died in this country because of their skin color, because their existence is deemed less-than. People like Sandra Bland, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice. He spoke our truth as a minority group in a country that sees us as dangerous and ungrateful simply because we are fighting—still fighting—for equal rights.
Not better rights, not more rights—equal rights.
I could comment line by line on how right, how poignant, how insightful his speech was, but all I can think is, “Damn!”
I wish I could find the proper adjectives to describe his words and how they hit me, but all I can say is I was moved.
No lie, this video got me out of bed this morning.
Author: Nicole Cameron
Editor: Renée Picard