BET CEO Debra Lee presented his award “for his continued efforts and steadfast commitment to furthering social change.”
34 year-old Williams, who plays Dr. Jackson Avery on ABC's "Grey’s Anatomy", has been working tirelessly to give a voice to the voiceless in the Black Lives Matter movement. In October 2014, he joined protests in Ferguson, Missouri to protest the shooting of Michael Brown. He was also an actor and executive producer of Stay Woke, a documentary about the movement that premiered in May. He has written extensively on Black Lives Matter and met with President Obama earlier this year to
discuss his humanitarian work.
See his speech below:
After inspiring the crowd, Williams continued his message backstage.
"People are getting more comfortable being political,” Williams told reporters. “We live here, we pay taxes, we should be able to talk about it. Just because I can dunk or act doesn't mean I have to shut the hell up about issues that actually impact me and my people." “We cannot allow the society to separate, to extract from the black community, the best and brightest in a particular genre of expression that makes money for white corporations, and then separate us from the rest of the people. People out here are suffering. People out here are poor and abandoned and unsupported, and just because we get to be here tonight doesn't mean that we've made it.”