Jesse Williams' BET Awards Speech

Jesse Williams' BET Awards Speech

Updated Jul 08, 2016 at 04:54PM EDT by Brad.

Added Jul 03, 2016 at 06:17PM EDT by TripleA9000.

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Jesse Williams BET Awards Speech was an oration delivered by American actor Jesse William after receiving the Humanitarian Award at the BET Awards ceremony in late June 2016. Williams' acceptance speech, which placed the spotlight on several hot-button button issues that have long been affecting the black community, was met with a standing ovation from the audience and praise from the news media, though not without drawing criticisms from alt-right members and critics of the Black Lives Matter movement on the social media.


At the 16th annual BET Awards ceremony on June 26th, 2016, Jesse Williams, the American actor best known for his role as Dr. Jackson Avery on the ABC Television series Grey's Anatomy, received the Humanitarian Award of the Year for for his involvement in the Black Lives Matter movement and other contributions to civil rights activism. Upon receiving the award, Williams gave an acceptance speech that touched on a range of issues surrounding race relations in the United States, including institutional racism, police brutality and cultural appropriation.


Online reaction to the speech has been mixed, with those from the left praising the speech and those from the right criticizing it.

Justin Timberlake's Reaction

The controversy over Jesse Williams' speech began when American pop musician Justin Timberlake tweeted a message praising Williams' speech with the hashtag #inspired.

Justin Timberlake @jtimberlake @iJesseWilliams tho.. #1nspired #BET2016

Many people felt that Timberlake's tweet exemplified the cultural appropriation of black culture that was pointed out during the speech, prompting a lengthy debate.

Justin Timberlake@jtimberlake Jun 26 @iJesseWilliams tho... # Inspired #BET201 6 t 3.8K 8.5K sockruhtese @sockruhtese @jtimberlake @iJesseWilliams Did you like the part when Jesse talked about white people stealing from us? That should resonate with you @iJesseWilliams tho... #Inspired #BET201 6 3.8K , 8.5K @jtimberlake @iJesseWilliams Did you like the part when Jesse talked about white people stealing from us? That should resonate with you. 2.756 ·1.5K pusher love girl @PLG JT2020 @sockruhtese @jtimberlake @iJesseWilliams steal what?? He's always said he was inspired by many musical icons. Both black & white

Later that evening, Timberlake tweeted an apology to those who were offended by his message.

Justin Timberlake @jtimberlake I apologize to anyone that felt I was out of turn. I have nothing but LOVE FOR YOU AND ALL OF US. JT

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