As someone who follows Jessie Williams, I am glad others got to witness what a phenomenally conscious man he is. He has been doing the work. And I continue to applaud him for that.
But unlike most individuals, Jessie confronts the injustice and inequality as well as challenges a change in mindsets and pushes for an increase in efforts, to evoke desired change. While we know there is only so much we can do, we must make sure we are doing all we can.
But while the quote "Just because we're magic, doesn't mean we're not real" seems to be flooding timelines as the most memorable meme of the night, I can't help but shine light on other aspects of this very memorable speech.
I appreciated that first Jessie acknowledged the contribution of black women, and that black men can and will do better by us. It was nice to hear a man reference that men have let us down, instead of always bashing us for being less than a woman.
Too often we hear men call us bi&*%s without remorse, discussing how we walk around with no clothes, looking for attention of men, willing to do anything. Yet men don't realize that we, women, were put on this earth to accompany them. We were made to be companions. We, men and women, were made to be partners. So it should be no surprise women seek attention of men. It's the natural order.
What is not natural, is how we are treated like accessories with no purpose, how men look down on us and not at us and how men do not fight for us, they fight us! Especially black women. Why do we always have to be compared to everyone else? Why can't we be accepted for being us?
Work in progress I guess...
But Jessie not only spoke to black men regarding doing better by black women, he also called out, challenged and encouraged his peers to understand that focusing on "gettin' money" doesn't solve problems.
"Dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back for someone’s brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies," -Jessie Williams
White people created a brand, "the Joneses" and we embrace that brand, even after years of being branded and enslaved, we still some how feel that what they represent is "the American way".
Why are we so certain that "gettin' money" is what life is all about?
Why is that our focus?
Why don't we understand how much we stand to lose with this mentality?
Why are we so motivated by what money represents?
It's unfortunate that we minimize the significance of unity and community everyday, so much so that we proudly walk in the notion that money is necessary for greatness.
"...freedom is somehow always conditional here. “You’re free,” they keep telling us. But she would have been alive if she hadn’t acted so… free."-Jessie Williams
Not even I believe that America really is "free".
Now it is suppose to be a free country, and I won't deny that it is freer than most. However our freedom, is indeed conditional. When I say our, I mean every immigrant in this country, but especially African Americans. And while I have never set foot on a continent that I will forever be bounded to, I don't mind, as long as America accepts my ancestors contribution.
Unfortunately however, America relentlessly highlights our resistance to accept inequality and injustice, without acknowledging our oppression, as Jessie so eloquently advised. But I understand that regardless to how hard my ancestors worked to build this country, or how much they lost in pursuit of freedom, that for whatever reason that won't be enough for equality. We continue to be antagonized, murdered, shamefully regarded and demeaned.
"...the burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That’s not our job, alright – stop with all that..."-Jessie Williams
It's not our responsibility to make white people feel better about giving us "conditions" on our freedom. But it is time that we figure out that individual success will never contribute to communal progress. It's time out for accepting the bullsh&*. We need to restructure the way we relate in this country. It's time for a new story. What we need to come together, and understand, in the words of Jessie, that this system can not stand if WE do.