A TV Host Asked About What He Was Wearing. His Answer Showed How Awesome (Some) Celebrities Can Be.

Curated by

He starts off talking about the very serious reason that he's wearing a pin on his shirt. But then he keeps going. How much juicy, change the world, I-care-about-my-community kind of stuff can he pack into a quick talk show segment? Just watch.

Transcript:
Show Transcript Hide Transcript

Arsenio Hall: What's that?

Jesse Williams: Oh, this is ... I'm glad you asked actually. This is a ... the black rose pin for Sons and Brothers. There's a 50% of people, Americans under the age of 25 are people of color. 70% in California and the California Endowment has decided to step forward and started initiative with 50 million dollars towards improving the living conditions in the future for our young men of color in California, that's working around school to prison pipeline, right. They're getting pushed out of schools, we called it drop outs, but our young people are getting pushed out of school over-zealous suspensions. We've got 5 year old, 6 year old kids getting put in handcuffs because they misbehaving in school. This pushing our children into the criminal justice system way too early. So the California Endowment Sons and Brothers campaign is really trying to find ways to build as many off ramps on that school to prison superhighway as possible. So, there are kids can have opportunities to make a life for themselves, graduate, have skills so that they can actually provide a life for themselves and those around them, and we're actually going to be at the White House on Thursday. Our President ...

Arsenio Hall: ... to meet the President?

Jesse Williams: I've been told I'll be able to meet the President, but he's going to be announcing a larger umbrella initiative on a national scale which this falls under. So there's some exciting things happening. Trying to make a little difference from our end. America as a whole needs to make some changes. But what we can do is do our best with our own community, and as influencers, you know, step forward and kind of take that leadership role back. I think entertainers in the previous decades have had more of a leadership role in their communities, not only speaking all the time but listening to what is actually happening in and around them and not just ignoring it and just selling products. So there's room, there's a vacancy, I think in leadership and now's the time to take it back.

Arsenio Hall: Right on. What did you do before acting?

Jesse Williams: Too many things. Legal stuff? I was a public high-school teacher. I used to teach Continental African History, American History, English ...

Arsenio Hall: So that's why your concern for young people is so ever-present.

Jesse Williams: It was one of the ways that manifested. I was concerned since the way I was raised, my dad was pretty hardcore, and both my parents were, in both art and education. You know, I lived in various communities that kind of made it a glaringly...clear that there's a disparity in this country, you know I lived in the hood in Chicago and White Suburbs of Massachusetts, and I knew that, you know, school systems were incredibly different there and that had nothing to do with me. I was reaping the benefits of just a zip code and that was a preposterous notion. So, it's something that I try to make time for.

There may be small errors in this transcript.
About:

Jesse Williams, shown here on "The Arsenio Hall Show," has been known to make quite a few smart statements about issues like education, race, and violence. The California-based Sons and Brothers program that Jesse participates in is a part of the White House's My Brother's Keeper initiative, which has several ways for you to get involved in the effort to support young men of color all over the U.S.

Topics:

Next bit of Upworthiness:

Flash Video Embed

This video is not supported by your device. Continue browsing to find other stuff you'll love!

Hi there, internet friend. We need to talk. You're using a painfully old web browser, and frankly, it's getting a little weird. It's not safe, and we want the best for you. We think it's time to upgrade.

Download Google Chrome, and try it for a week. Don't think about it, just do it. You'll thank us later.