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Read Alice Walker's powerful poem inspired by Jesse Williams's BET Awards speech

“Three deep bows to a beautiful son.”

Alice Walker, author of “The Color Purple”
Alice Walker, author of “The Color Purple”
Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images

On Thursday, Alice Walker, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Color Purple, published a poem, “Here It Is” on her website inspired by Jesse Williams’s impassioned Humanitarian Award speech at the 2016 BET Awards.

Walker fondly offers “three deep bows to a beautiful son.” And just as Williams took racism to task for “burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil,” Walker, too, refuses to let blackness be defined as that which whiteness discards:

Try to think bigger than you ever have

or had courage enough to do:

that blackness is not where whiteness

wanders off to die: but that it is like the dark matter

between stars and galaxies in

the Universe

that ultimately

holds it all


Over the past two years, Williams has become a formidable activist both on and off screen. He met, marched, and organized with activists in Ferguson, Missouri, following the extrajudicial killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown. More recently, he was the executive producer of Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement, a documentary chronicling the birth of the black millennial social justice movement, which premiered in May on BET.

BET’s Humanitarian Award was a recognition of his work, which he credits not just to activists and organizers in general who are overlooked, but also to black women, like Walker, without whom Black Lives Matter would not exist.

You can read Walker’s full poem here.

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