The 2016 BET Awards was more than just an awards show it was an experience. Traditionally, its a trending time lapse in entertainment when we watch our favorite music stars perform, catch the latest fashions on the red carpet, and honor those we love in entertainment. However, this year there were so many pressing issues like the passing of Prince, Muhammad Ali, and the continuous gun violence that is affecting our African-American community.
BET stood up for the cause and they heard the voices of the people. The tributes were amazing and showed the very essence of the body of work that Prince and Muhammad Ali left behind. Then it was time for BET Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Debra Lee to present the BET Humanitarian Award which is given to an influential change agent in our society that is using their platform to create social change.
This year’s recipient was actor and activist Jesse Williams. His speech of social change, racial inequality, police brutality, and uplifting the Black woman re-ignited the flame for those consciously wanting social change. It was well-spoken, direct, and most of all profound.
Still, one has to ask why are we as a people not as ambitious about social change? Why does it take speeches on the BET Awards coming from a A-list celebrity to have this topic trending? One of the key messages in Jesse Williams’ speech was “the more we learn about who we are and how we got here the more we will mobilize”. This was a testament of how as a nation we must acknowledge where we originate and how we must now take action from where we are. This is a civil rights issue that is plaguing our nation still after the countless lives that were lost to fight of equality.
So why now in 2016 are we still facing the issues of our past generations still? Its the same reason why Jesse Williams’ Speech is still trending it’s because we really aren’t as progressive of a society as we portray.