In a new documentary called Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement, Jesse Williams explores the poor treatment of Black Americans and the movement that arose from it.
“Black Lives Matter is in many ways, in its adolescence,” Williams told The Huffington Post. “It’s an ongoing movement, so we wanted to be sure that as we catalog its origin story and machination, we also wanted to be sure we do not treat it as a fixed, finite, closed circle,” he added. “We want to look back without being conclusive. That was really important to us.”
Williams, who stars in and executive produces the film, attributes much of the movement’s leadership and contributions to Black women and the Black queer community.
The documentary, which is directed by Laurens Grant, will include interviews from Black Lives Matter co-founders Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors, as well as leaders like DeRay McKesson, Johnetta Elzie, Darnell Moore, Michaela Angela Davis, Brittany Packnett and more.
“There’s simply no movement, there’s not even a semblance of a movement without black women and black members of the LGBT community,” Williams said. “We as men, in particular black men, are constantly supported, nurtured, forgiven, apologized for, led, followed and coddled by black women and they get very little in return.”
Williams aims to highlight that the movement is a “love movement,” regardless of how opponents of the movement have depicted or misrepresented intentions of the movement.
“The interesting thing about white power and the desperate white knuckling grip on this thing call whiteness, which is a myth in itself, is that black folks… we’re not asking you to invent new laws for us. We’re asking you to include us in the laws that are already on the books. Trayvon Martin did not invent the hood on a sweatshirt and wear it down the street. He used the hood that already exists, that white boys wear as a uniform all over this country. Anytime black people want to use the benefits of the flag that they pledge allegiance to and fight on the front lines of every single war since the founding of this nation, they treat us like we’re trying to invent something new and special for ourselves when all we’re asking for, or demanding in this case, is inclusion in a fully formed, well-oiled machine that already exists.”
Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement airs on BET on May 26th at 9 PM.
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