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Jesse Williams Is Already Ruining His Directorial Debut For Upcoming Emmett Till Movie

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Oh Jesse.  The "Grey's Anatomy" star just got himself into a SITUATION situation.  He's getting tons of backlash over his taste in memes to promote his new Emmett Till movie.  But is Black Twitter misinterpreting what he meant?  Deets inside....

Jesse Williams is about a quarter of a f*** up from being cancelled for good, let Black Twitter tell it.

The actor is set to make his directorial debut in an upcoming movie focused on the aftermath of Emmett Till's murder.

Deadline just revealed the news this afternoon, but Jesse may have already ruined it.  The trade publication reports:

Jesse Williams, one of the stars of ABC’s long-running series, Grey’s Anatomy, is marking his feature directorial debut with Till, a film centered around Mamie Mobley Till, the mother of Emmett Louis Till, a Black teen who was lynched after being accused flirting with a white woman in the Jim Crow-era South.

The film, which is being produced by Whoopi Goldberg, is based on a screenplay by Michael Reilly and civil rights filmmaker Keith A. Beauchamp.

The film is based on Beauchamp’s 2005 documentary, The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till, which led the United States Department of Justice to reopen the Till case in 2004.


Till is about Mamie Mobley Till’s journey for justice following the brutal murder of her fourteen-year-old son in the heart of the Mississippi Delta in 1955.

Just as the news dropped, Jesse tweeted a now-deleted series of memes that included historical pics of a visibly distraught Mamie Till standing over her son's casket.  Jesse slapped the words from Nike's newest Colin Kaepernick campaign - focusing on sacrifice - on the pics as well.

“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Anything seen as commercializing death never goes over well, especially not when a black woman's pain is being used.   So Twitter read the actor the riot act, saying Mamie didn't "sacrifice" her son, her son was ripped from her life by racist whites:


Deadline recalls:

Emmett Till’s murder was seen as the impetus for the next phase of the Civil Rights Movement. At the time of his funeral, Mamie famously insisted on an open casket ceremony, exposing her son’s mutilated body and bringing attention not only to racially charged violence but also to the odious and barbaric practice of lynching.

The two white men who kidnapped and murdered Emmett were acquitted by an all-white jury. The men later confessed to the murder in an interview published in Look magazine, but due to the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment, the men were protected from a retrial.

Carolyn Bryant-Donham, the woman at the center of Emmett’s case, decades later admitted to fabricating her testimony regarding her interaction with Emmett.

While the memes are a WHOLE mess, especially without properly conveyed context, we wonder if Jesse was speaking of Mamie Till's handling of her son's death as the sacrifice, as opposed to her son's death itself.

Mamie Till made one of the boldest, most selfless decisions after her son was beaten and killed at the hands of racist white men who believed a racist white woman's tale that Emmett did the "unconscionable act" of flirting with her.  While much of America in the 50's was busy trying to convince the rest of America that we, as a country, had turned a corner in Civil Rights and racism was a thing of the past (sound familiar?), Mamie Till wanted to make sure EVERYONE knew that racism was alive and well. 

She decided to hold an open casket, public funeral where media and the public were welcomed to view the evilness that resulted in her son's life being taken.  It is one of the biggest turning points in the Civil Rights era.  Mrs. Till sacrificed her peace, personal comfort and personal grieving to showcase the injustice in her son's death.

A few others seem to agree, even though we still believe Jesse didn't convey his message properly:


Jesse Williams said in a press release earlier:

“I’m honored to be directing the story of Mamie & Emmett: a tale of revolutionary defiance in the face of tremendous personal and public devastation. An exploration of power and pulling back the curtain on cultural violence; of boyhood and maternity challenging America’s reflex to hide from itself; underdogs refusing to pretend that terror is freedom.”

Production starts Summer 2019 with the support of the Till family.  We hope Jesse gets his director act together by then and thinks through messaging much more thoroughly.


Photo: Getty

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