(The Washington Post)-There are many ways to get celebrity activism wrong when it comes to a situation like the one that has emerged in Ferguson, Mo.
Appearing to be uninformed is a huge no-no, as is calling for a plan when you don’t have one — sorry Nelly. But if one can offer fiery rhetoric absent sanctimony and full of razor-sharp opinions, well, people take notice.
Enter Jesse Williams, the actor who plays the hunky Dr. Jackson Avery on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.” Williams appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday. Clad in a hoodie, he may have looked like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, but once he opened his mouth, he sounded like Harry Belafonte.
Yes, radical, Occupy Wall Street protester-supporting, Fidel Castro-befriending, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice-shunning Harry Belafonte.
“Police have been beating the hell out of black people for a very, very, very long time, before the advent of the video camera,” said Williams, who also spoke out after the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis. “And despite the advent of the video camera, there’s still an incredible trend of police brutality and killing in the street.”
So far, Williams, 33, seems best suited to continue the legacy of black Hollywood activism associated with Belafonte. In his memoir, “My Song,” Belafonte wrote, “I wasn’t an artist who’d become an activist. I was an activist who’d become an artist.”