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Actor Jesse Williams’ Speech at BET on Race Lights Up Social Media

Courtesy of Candice Fortman

Candice Fortman, WDET Marketing and Engagement Manager, joins Detroit Today to talk about the speech given by “Grey’s Anatomy” actor Jesse Williams at Sunday’s BET Awards.

Williams was given the BET Humanitarian Award and gave a passionate speech capturing the frustrations and drive of advocates within the Black Lives Matter movement. Fortman says the speech was subsequently seen all over social media.

One of the things that caught me was that he used the platform he had to elevate this message,” says Fortman.

She says it was a risk for him, as a celebrity, to speak so strongly on issues of race and society, and that people on social media were arguing about whether or not his defense was cynical or a ploy for recognition. However, Fortman says, Williams was a history teacher before becoming an actor and has been speaking on racial equality for years.  

Take out of it what you can, and use it,” says Fortman. “If you can use those words to do something in your own community and your own life to impact change, do that.”

To hear more of this conversation, including an analysis of Game of Thrones and sparking discussion on fireworks, click on the audio link above.

Image credit: Jon S/flickr

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