Remember when we all thought Jesse Williams was our new light-skinned, light-eyed, social justice warrior bae? Remember when he gave that fire speech at the BET awards, and we were drawn even further into his light-skint web? Remember when we found out the details of his divorce from his black wife and learned he was leaving her ass for a white girl? Remember how we started giving him the side eye after that and being suspicious of his every move?
You would think Jesse would have taken some time to reflect and plot out his moves more carefully, but you would be wrong.
It was announced on Monday that Williams make his directorial debut with the film Till, based on Mamie Till-Mobley’s fight for justice after her son 14-year-old son Emmett was brutally murdered in Mississippi in 1955. Williams took to Twitter to celebrate the announcement with some rather interesting—and infuriating—images.
In a series of now-deleted tweets, Williams superimposed the Nike slogan associated with the new Colin Kaepernick ad over several photographs of Mamie Till-Mobley including one in which she stands sobbing over her son’s casket. The hashtag #TiLLtheMovie appeared in each tweet.
“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” was on each of the images on Twitter. Williams also posted two of the photos to his Instagram account, this time with the words “TILL” and “Coming soon” at the bottom of each image.
Williams has since deleted the Instagram posts as well.
It is likely that he came to his senses very quickly, but he surely saw the immediate backlash on Twitter as well. His name became a trending topic shortly thereafter, and there’s nothing like having your name trending for the wrong reasons.
Mamie Till-Mobley did not make the choice to have white racists murder her son. It wasn’t a sacrifice, and to paint it as such for the sake of jumping on a current trend is both disgusting and disrespectful.
Williams has not publicly acknowledged the gaffe, nor has he apologized for it—but he should.
Till’s family has given their blessing for the movie to be made. If to no one else, he owes them an apology.
Oh, Jesse. We were rooting for you.