Politics

Jesse Williams Makes a Point About Melania Trump's Plagiarism Accusations

July 19th 2016

By:
Lucy Tiven

Shortly after Melania Trump was accused of lifting parts of her speech at the Republican National Convention from Michelle Obama's remarks at the 2008 convention, Jesse Williams fired back in an epic tweetstorm. He used a mash-up of misattributed quotes and song lyrics to do it.

Williams retweeted a tweet from user @meakoopa, who pointed out that Trump's plagiarism provided an example of how white people have systemically exploited and taken credit for black labor in America.

The passage of Trump's speech was split screened with a shot of a Jezebel article about Rep. Steve King (R. Iowa), who told Chris Hayes that white people had contributed more to civilization than any other "subgroup" in an interview earlier in the day.

The "Grey's Anatomy" star started to tweet quotes by famous black men and women with the hilarious hashtag #FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes.

Williams used quotes by black artists and thinkers — from Sojourner Truth to Lauryn Hill, Nina Simone, and Beyoncé — who have been outspoken about race to illustrate how cultural appropriation strips these words of their specific context.

Racism was a controversial topic during the first day at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

Following the police shootings of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and slain police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, various speakers at the RNC convention sought to address racial divides — in attempts that registered as somewhat tone deaf to many who heard them.

Melania Trump could have made an unintentional move. She could have also made a powerful statement about race in America on Monday evening — though not one that painted her in a particularly flattering light, as Williams hilariously pointed out.