Unless you were buried under a rock in the past few weeks, you heard about actor and activist Jessie Williams‘ powerful speech from the 2016 BET Awards where he accepted BET’s Humanitarian Award for his service. During the stunning and incredible speech, the Grey’s Anatomy actor talked about race and injustice touching upon everything from the #BlackLivesMatter movement to cultural appropriation. If you haven’t watching the speech yet, you can find it below.
The speech has been watched over three million times and unfortunately some ignorant people have decided to label Williams’ remarks as racist. (FYI: Black people cannot be racist because racism requires power. Black people do not benefit from institutional racism because we don’t have power.) A sad and lonely Change.org user named Erin Smith created a petition urging ABC to fire Williams from Grey’s because of “a racist, hate speech against law enforcement and white people.” In typical fashion Smith used the hashtags “#AllLivesMatter” and “#EqualConsequences4RacistBehavior” proving she doesn’t understand anything that is occurring in the society around us. Nor does she understand anything about the history of race, inequality and police brutality in the United States. As of this morning, 5,000 people have signed the petition.
So what does Williams’ Grey’s boss Shonda Rhimes think about the magical speech? Of course Rhimes took to Twitter to voice her support.
In woods. Far from wifi. Get signal! What’d I miss? “Just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.” @iJesseWilliams‘ speech. YES.
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) June 28, 2016
Um, people? Boo don’t need a petition. #shondalandrules
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) July 5, 2016
She also retweeted a tweet from Williams himself that basically urges people to ignore the haters.
Do not promote empty people & their tantrums. Pure clickbait to gain followers, attention & money, for themselves, not you. Never you.
— jesseWilliams. (@iJesseWilliams) July 3, 2016
Following Mr. Williams’ advice we will not be linking the Change.org petition here. However, if you do choose to sign it and in the very unlikely event that Williams is fired from Grey’s please understand that this doesn’t make anything that he said during his speech any less true.