Watch Jesse Williams' powerful BET Awards speech


Grey's Anatomy star Jesse Williams took home the Humanitarian Award at the BET Awards ceremony overnight in Los Angeles, and delivered a speech that's been described as "one of the most memorable in award show history".

Jesse was recognised for his activism with the Black Lives Matter movement - whether it be protesting Mike Brown's death in Ferguson in 2014, producing the Stay Woke documentary about the movement or discussing humanitarian work with President Obama.

"This award is not for me," Jesse said. "This is for the real organisers all over the country, the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realising that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do."

Here's his rousing speech on racial injustice in full.

"Before we get into it, I just want to say I brought my parents out tonight - I just want to thank them for being here and teaching me to focus on comprehension over career. They made sure I learned what the schools were afraid to teach us. And also, thank you to my amazing wife for changing my life.

"Now, this award, this is not for me. This is for the real organisers all over the country. The activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realising that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do. Alright? It's kind of basic mathematics. The more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilise.

"This is also in particular for the black women in particular who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves. We can and will do better for you.

"Now, what we've been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to de-escalate, disarm and not kill white people every day. So what's going to happen is we're going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours.

"Yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice's 14th birthday. So, I don't want to hear any more about how far we've come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on a 12-year-old playing alone in a park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then going home to make a sandwich."

demonstrators block Public Square in Cleveland, during a protest over the police shooting of Tamir Rice

He continued: "Tell Rekia Boyd how it's so much better to live in 2012, than it is to live in 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Darrien Hunt.

"The thing is though, all of us in here getting money - that alone isn't going to stop this. Alright? Now dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back. To put someone's brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies and now we pray to get paid for brands for our bodies. There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There has been no job we haven't done. There's no tax they haven't levied against us. And we pay all of them. But freedom is somehow always conditional here. You're free, they keep telling us, but she would have been alive if she hadn't acted so free.

"Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter but, you know what though, the hereafter is a hustle. We want it now. And let's get a couple of things straight here, just a little sidenote. The burden of the brutalised is not to comfort the bystander. That's not our job. Alright, stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest in equal rights for black people, then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.

"We've been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo. And we're done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us. Burying black people out of sight and out of mind, while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil - black gold. Ghettoising and demeaning our creations then stealing them. Gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is though, the thing is, that just because we're magic doesn't mean we're not real. Thank you."