- Jesse Williams has acknowledged the backlash he faced over using a meme to promote is upcoming directional debut, “Till.”
Williams framed photos of Emmett Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley in memes resembling the Colin Kaepernick Nike ads.
- Williams said in a statement on Wednesday that people misunderstood his intentions.
Actor Jesse Williams has acknowledged the backlash he faced after using a meme to promote is upcoming directional debut, “Till,” by saying “every swing ain’t gonna be a home run.”
Earlier this week, Williams framed photos of Emmett Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, in memes resembling Colin Kaepernick’s Nike ads.
In a statement released on Tuesday night, Williams did not apologise for the images, but instead suggested people may have misunderstood them.
One image shows Till-Mobley at Till’s casket behind the Kaepernick quote, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Till was 14 years old when he was lynched after being accused of flirting with a white woman in Jim Crow-era Mississippi in 1955.
Jesse Williams turned pictures of Emmett Till’s mom into a Nike meme…to promote the movie he’s directing.
I can’t lie this makes me question how he’s going to do with the movie pic.twitter.com/eDD38e9KZW
— Jaleel Karriem (@LIFEbyJaleel) September 24, 2018
Williams’ upcoming movie, “Till,” will focus on the murdered teen’s mother’s quest for justice, and is based on Keith A Beauchamp’s 2005 documentary, “The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till.”
In his statement on Thursday, Williams said: “As much as I’d like to address what my intentions were and the meaning of those images, it’s more important that I first acknowledge that I seem to have offended and possibly hurt some of the very people I aim to uplift.”
“I would absolutely never make light of the tremendous tragedy that foisted Mamie Till-Mobley into her life of activism, and could never pretend her child being brutally tortured and executed was her ‘sacrifice.’ That doesn’t even kinda make sense, never mind being absurd and ahistorical.”
Williams said that the images were made “to highlight the tremendous sacrifices Mamie made by sharing her unrelenting journey for justice – including boldly sharing those iconic images from her son’s funeral – which changed the world.”
He said he used the Nike-ad theme “to connect past to present.”
“My heart is always with my people and this includes my artistic commitment to telling our stories,” he said. “Always have, always will. And while I stand for creative expression, every swing ain’t gonna be a home run. (And ya’ll know I swing a lot.) Those who are sincere in this work and concern, I thank you.”
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