Jessie Williams is synonymous with the term #WokeBae, but one of the reasons fans go so crazy over the “Grey’s Anatomy” actor is because he’s truly one in a million. In a sea of famous folks with a platform to spark meaningful change, he’s one of few who will actually stick his neck out to speak out on societal ills and deal with the consequences later. And in his mind, that really shouldn’t be that rare of a thing.
“You can have your cake and eat it too,” the 35 year old told GQ, speaking on the idea that only certain people can be activists or speak on politics. “You can walk and chew gum at the same time.”
Though he does acknowledge when it comes to celebrities — and social media — “You can definitely f-ck things up,” he adds, “[I]t’s feeble minded to say that just because you’re a basketball player you can’t care that your tax dollars go to an organized patrol force that kills people. We absolutely can do both—give me a break.”
Unlike many of his peers, social activism has always been a part of Williams’ life, which may be why he’s also less afraid to take a stance than some of his counterparts.
“I’m more comfortable around social-justice work,” he told the mag. “I’ve been doing it much longer, and it means more to me.”
But in the same way that acting doesn’t limit his willingness to speak out, Williams is very cognizant of spending as much time honing his craft as he does holding a light up to social injustices.
“I need both to sustain a balanced life. One is more dire and academic. And the other is an absolutely necessary creative outlet for me to stay sane.”