Jesse Williams’ Empowering Speech on Black Oppression, Race Injustice at the 2016 BET Awards

Four days ago, Grey’s Anatomy actor and activist Jesse Williams won a humanitarian award at the 2016 BET Awards, and he pretty much stole the show.  Personally, I had to take a few days for all the noise on social media to die down and allow Jesse Williams’ words to marinate on my conscious.  The message that this brother dropped on the world was so deep, unflinching and POWERFUL.  It was one of the most coherent and sincere critiques of systemic racism, police brutality, cultural appropriation and exploitation and a heartfelt message to black women here and afar who have “spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves.  We can and will do better for you.”  There were so many grand moments of this speech, but there was one particular tidbit that stood out to me:

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Prophet. Poet. Hip Hop Legend. Happy Birthday Tupac Shakur

“I am not a gangster and never have been.  I’m not the thief who grabs your purse.  I’m not the guy who jacks your car.  I’m not down with people who steal and hurt others.  I’m just a brother who fights back.  I’m not some violent closet psycho.  I’ve got a job.  I’m an artist.”

When I think of the late Tupac Shakur, my immediate description that comes to mind is “tortured soul.”  Tupac Amaru Shakur born Lesane Parish Crooks; June 16, 1971, also known by his stage names 2Pac and Makaveli, was born in East Harlem, New York City.  During the first 17 years of his life, he was raised by his Black revolutionary mother, Afeni.  Both of his parents and several other people in his family were members of the Black Panther Party, whose ideals were later reflected in his songs.  In his early youth, Shakur became involved in the performing arts as a theater actor and rapper.  Aesthetically-driven by the arts, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to gain greater opportunities.  Shakur received his big break as a roadie, backup dancer and MC for the alternative hip hop group Digital Underground, thanks to group leader Shock G.

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Welcome to my new blog: The Perennial Aesthete

Hey good people! Your friendly neighborhood Ralph A. Gilmore is here. You might need to sit down and read up on all the awesome news I’d like to share with you in my very first post on my new blog, The Perennial Aesthete.  I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to finally have this baby up and running!

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