John Legend and Jesse Williams Team for “With Drawn Arms” Documentary Film on 1968 Olympic Protest

Tommie Smith and John Carlos protest at the 1968 Summer Olympics (photo via vibe.com)

by Latifah Muhammad via vibe.com

John Legend and Jesse Williams are working on a documentary that will look at the 1968 Black Power salute seen around the world. More than four decades before Colin Kaepernick took a knee in silent protest of police brutality and racial injustice, Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos made a statement with raised fists during the Summer Olympic games in Mexico City.

The documentary, With Drawn Arms, is executive produced by Williams and Legend, along with the Grammy and Oscar winning singer’s partners from his Get Lifted Film Co., Deadline reports. Smith is the focus of the documentary. The former sprinter and NFL wide received took home the gold medal at the 1968 games after completing the 200-meter dash, while Carlos earned the bronze medal. Both men were suspended for raising their fists during the medal ceremony, stripped of their credentials, and given 48 hours to leave Olympic Village.

With Drawn Arms is currently in production in Los Angeles and is co-directed by Glenn Kaino and Afshin Shahidi, who is the father of Black-ish actress Yara Shahidi, and worked as one of Prince’s personal photographers. “Tommie Smith is more than an iconic poster or risky act of defiance that inspires people the world over,” Williams said in a statement noting that Smith is a “living man, whose incredible journey is worthy of examination.” He added, “I couldn’t be more excited to join forces with this team of filmmakers, to share his reality and challenge our notions of heroism in the process.”

To read more, go to: John Legend, Jesse Williams Team For Film On Olympic Protest

Watch Inspiring Mash-Up of Janet Jackson’s “Can’t Be Stopped” with Jesse Williams’ BET Awards Speech (VIDEO)

My fellow GBN Editor Lesa Lakin just e-mailed me this mash-up of Janet Jackson‘s “Can’t Be Stopped” with #BlackLivesMatter footage and Jesse Williams‘ now-classic speech from the 2016 BET Awards .  Not sure who made it and posted it on Vimeo five days ago, but thank you – great message and inspiration!  Keep protesting, speaking out, being creative and rising up!

Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Editor-in-Chief

Jesse Williams’ BET Humanitarian Award Speech Was EVERYTHING – Clutch Magazine

BET Humanitarian Award recipient Jesse Williams (photo via clutchmagonline.com)

article via clutchmageonline.com

Actor, activist and entrepreneur Jesse Williams was honored at Sunday night’s BET Awards, and his acceptance speech was everything!The  Advancement Project board member not only gave an emotionally charged speech, but also dedicated his award to his fellow organizers.

“This is for the real organizers all over the country. The activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers of students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do,” said Williams, who linked arms with Ferguson activists in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in the fall of 2014 and executive-produced Stay Woke, a documentary which traced the evolution of the Black Lives Matter movement and debuted on BET in May.

To see video of his speech, click here: http://www.bet.com/video/betawards/2016/acceptance-speeches/jesse-williams-receives-humanitarian-award.html

Williams also paid homage to black women, who are often times the unsung heroes of the movement.“Black women who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves.” “We can and will do better for you,” he said.  Williams reminded attendees to remember those who died and why we’re still fighting to make people understand that black lives do matter. And he also spoke a word about the culture vultures.

Source: Jesse Williams’ BET Humanitarian Award Speech Was EVERYTHING – Clutch Magazine

Jesse Williams to Produce, Star in Upcoming Harry Belafonte Biopic

Harry Belafonte (l) and Jesse Williams (r) [photo via theroot.com]

Harry Belafonte (l) and Jesse Williams (r) [photo via theroot.com]

article via thegrio.com

“Grey’s Anatomy” star and actvist Jesse Williams has plans to produce and star in a biopic about his fellow civil rights icon and entertainer Harry Belafonte. Williams announced the project during an appearance on Denzealots, a podcast by comedians W. Kamau Bell and Kevin Avery.

During the episode, Williams admitted that he cared more about activism than acting.  “I have an awesome job that I love,” he said, “but there’s this magnetic force that is constantly pulling me toward activism. I just have to do it.”

If you’re into social media, you probably already knew that. Williams is highly influential on Twitter, boasting more than one million followers. The young actor’s gained his influence, not with selfies, but with insightful tweets and short commentaries on issues impacting people of color.  He was heavily involved in the Justice for Flint concert which brought together residents, celebrities and performers to raise awareness on the water crisis.

Source: Jesse Williams to produce, star in upcoming Harry Belafonte biopioc | theGrio

Janelle Monae, Jesse Williams, Ava DuVernay, Ryan Coogler to Headline #JUSTICEFORFLINT Benefit on Feb. 28

Ava DuVernay and Ryan Coogler in Hollywood on Dec. 14, 2015. (Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images for Disney)

article by Jaimie Etkin via buzzfeed.com

On Feb. 28, comedian Hannibal BuressCreed director and co-writer Ryan Coogler, singer Janelle MonaeGrey’s Anatomy star Jesse WilliamsSelma director Ava DuVernay, and other entertainment notables will be joining forces onstage for a free event in Flint, Michigan, BuzzFeed News can exclusively reveal. The Buress-hosted gathering, dubbed #JUSTICEFORFLINT, is open to the public and presented by Blackout for Human Rights, an activist collective founded by Coogler which is devoted to addressing human rights violations in the U.S.

For almost two years, Flint’s residents — many of whom are black and impoverished — have been subjected to massive lead and bacterial contamination in Genesee County’s water supply, and forced to avoid tap water.

#JUSTICEFORFLINT will take place at the Whiting Auditorium (1241 E. Kearsley St.) on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 5:30 p.m. ET to raise both awareness and funds for those affected by the water crisis. It will also be live-streamed via revolt.tv, and donations will be collected at the event and via text. Along with all the star power, organizers have also invited members of the Flint community to share their stories with the audience.

“With the #JUSTICEFORFLINT benefit event we will give a voice to the members of the community who were the victims of the choices of people in power who are paid to protect them, as well as provide them with a night of entertainment, unity, and emotional healing,” Ryan Coogler told BuzzFeed News in a statement. “Through the live stream we will also give a chance for people around the world to participate, and to donate funds to programs for Flint’s youth.”

Though the event does coincide with the Academy Awards — which largely snubbed Creed in nominations and did the same with DuVernay’s Selma last year  Coogler said Feb. 28 was chosen because it fell on the final weekend of Black History Month, and that the date overlap was a coincidence.

The idea for #JUSTICEFORFLINT emerged at Blackout’s last event #MLKNOW held on Martin Luther King Day (Jan. 28), which took place at Riverside Church in Harlem and drew more than 2,200 attendees and nearly half a million views online.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jaimieetkin/ryan-coogler-justice-for-flint-event?utm_term=.yt20eLa7#.wo7RP0QW

EBONY Unveils Powerful December Cover With Harry Belafonte, Jesse Williams, and Zendaya

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Fresh off its provocative, internet breaking Cosby Show cover, the folks over at EBONY are at it again.

Celebrating the magazine’s 70th anniversary, editor-in-chief Kierna Mayo and company just unveiled the cover for the December issue, which asks readers to #StandForSomething.

The image features actor and civil rights legend Harry Belafonte flanked by the next generation of socially conscious celebs, Grey’s Anatomy’s Jesse Williams and Disney’s Zendaya Coleman.

So far, people are loving the look of latest issue. Ava DuVernay called it “epic” and Michaela Angela David said it helps understand the heritage of the social justice movement.

article via clutchmagonline.com