‘Stay Woke’: New Black Lives Matter documentary from actor Jesse Williams

Photo credit: Jesse Williams, Twitter
Photo credit: Twitter – @ijessewilliams

The latest entry in BET’s The Truth Series, which features original documentary films, directed by award-winning filmmakers showcasing stories about the African-American experience, will be “Stay Woke: The Movement for Black Lives,” starring executive producer Jesse Williams, produced and directed by Laurens Grant. The documentary chronicles the evolution of the Black Lives Matter movement through first person accounts of local activists, protesters, scholars, journalists and celebrities.

“I’m personally inspired by the people that construct today’s movement and we so easily forget that movements are not magic, they are led by people, often making great sacrifice. I wanted to lift up not only their voices but their experiences, and catalog this place and time. The movement for Black lives is claiming its place in history by building the future it knows we damn well deserve,” said Williams in a Huffington Post interview. “We can make progress with gratitude, all the while demanding more of ourselves and humanity.”

For Williams, a former educator, current actor, organizer and social justice warrior, the foundation on which the movement was built is something he wanted to highlight foremost in the film.

“I consider this movement a love movement,” he said. “My experiences in Ferguson and everywhere else — as an activist and educator — are that all of our work and experience is, regardless of how [opponents] try to frame it, about love. Love for self, love for us, love for our people. Love for humanity and love for the real great potential we have as a culture but also this nation has by putting its best foot forward.”

Many followers have chimed in online by openly posting about important issues and the need for institutional change. These users have been labeled as “hashtag activists’”by those who are used to more traditional approaches. The term comes with connotations that, in some ways, deflate the power of the demonstrations, prompting Williams to call BS.

“Miss me with that. I’ve yet to hear an intelligent reason or criticism of using your voice on social media,” Williams said. “We’re in the streets, we’re at the halls of power, we’re impacting policy directly, we’re changing the narrative and the way presidential candidates have to come correct in order to even show up in our town. And then we’re happening to report it online because those are the tools at our disposal. Ain’t nothing changed but the technology … the activism is what’s happening.”

“Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement” airs on BET on May 26 at 9 p.m. EST.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Join our Newsletter

Sign up for Rolling Out news straight to your inbox.

Read more about:

Also read

Watch this video

What's new

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
Receive the latest news

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter

Get notified about new articles