Jesse Williams, who plays Dr. Avery Jackson on Grey’s Anatomy, is one of the most multifaceted actors in show business. Born to a Swedish mother and an African-American father, Jesse graduated from Temple University by earning degrees in African-American Studies along with Film and Media Arts. According to Wet Paint, before becoming an actor, Jesse worked as a public high school teacher in Philadelphia and also as a bartender at the SOHO Grand Hotel in New York.
19- Jesse Williams (Dr. Jackson Avery) was a teacher before being cast on the show. pic.twitter.com/elkepKyogQ
— BEST OF GREY'S (@bestofgrwys) February 22, 2016
He also worked as a model for designers like Kenneth Cole. Apart from Grey’s Anatomy, Jesse has appeared in a number of TV series like Law & Order, Greek, and Beyond the Break. Jesse Williams has also dabbled in movies by portraying Rev. James Lawson in Lee Daniel’s The Butler. In addition, he has featured in the music videos of Estelle’s “Fall in Love” and Rihanna’s “Russian Roulette.” And above all, Jesse has been seen performing onstage in Broadway plays like American Dream and The Sandbox.
— theresa (@Pipesalexx) January 24, 2016
Jesse Williams might have had stints in various fields of entertainment, but it was his role as Dr. Avery Jackson in Grey’s Anatomy that made Jesse a household name. According to BET, the character Dr. Avery Jackson became so popular that fans wanted their family doctor to be someone like Dr. Jackson.
And when Jesse is not shooting, fans can find him relaxing by playing basketball, soccer, and football.
Apart from being a terrific actor, Jesse Williams is also a change agent in society. An ardent civil rights activist, the Grey’s Anatomy star participated in the Fergusson October movement by marching for about 12 miles along with thousands of protesters.
E! Online reports that Jesse Williams received the Humanitarian award at the 2016 BET Awards for supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
— CBC News (@CBCNews) June 28, 2016
The 31-year-old is quite sensitive about atrocities committed against black Americans, and he has been outspoken about the various injustices occurring in society. Jesse has also directed an American television documentary called Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement, which debuted on the BET channel. Jesse also won accolades from Debra Lee, the BET Chairperson and CEO who had several kind words for the actor. According to E! Online, Debra Lee commended Jesse for his work in the field of civil rights activism, referring to him as a “tireless champion” and “a voice for the voiceless.”
“Tonight’s honorary has been a tireless champion of change, and a voice for the voiceless. Jesse Williams is the essence of a modern civil rights legend in the making. And a true pioneer of our new generation of leaders.”
Bustle reported that Jesse Williams took to the stage to deliver a poignant speech that moved everyone.
The actor thanked his family and all the unsung heroes who gave their best to make a difference in society. According to the Grey’s Anatomy star, the real credit for the humanitarian award went out to all the civil rights activists, parents, teachers, and students who have joined hands and stood together against the injustices prevailing in the society. Jesse’s speech called everyone to mobilize and fight for equal rights and justice in the United States. The actor was so charged up during the speech that he predicted that if the system doesn’t change for the better, the people participating in the movement will unite to restructure and reorganize the entire system through non-violent means.
Jesse Williams then went on to mention the names of Rakia Boyd, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, and Dorian Hunt, who were victims of racial discrimination. The injustices suffered by these victims suggest that black Americans have yet to gain their freedom even though they reside in the land of the free. Jesse Williams even went to the extent of suggesting that the culture, money, arts, and talents of black Americans have been exploited and yet, they have been demeaned and “ghettoized.” On a positive note and with a ray of hope, Jesse Williams paid tribute to the black women and mothers who dedicated their lives towards the nurturing and upbringing of their children in an unjust society. Jesse promised the mothers that they will always strive to be better.
“We can and will be better for you.”
[Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images for BET]