Shit Bougie Black People Love: 30. Jesse Williams » VSB

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Shit Bougie Black People Love: 30. Jesse Williams

Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images for BET


You probably know Jesse Williams as one of the guys on one of those Shonda Rhimes shows that airs before another Shonda Rhimes show. Or perhaps as the racially ambiguous guy who really, really, really, really digs Ciroc.

This, however, would mean that you’re not a Bougie Black Person. Because, if you were a Bougie Black Person, Jesse Williams wouldn’t just be a TV doctor and bottle service vodka pitchman to you. If you were a Bougie Black Girl, he would be “EVERYTHING!!!” And, if you were a Bougie Black Guy, he would be the guy whose tweets you retweet and articles you’d share so Bougie Black Girls could hopefully bestow the “EVERYTHING!!!” title on you.

How Williams received “EVERYTHING!!!” status is no mystery. He is very outspoken with racial issues, even regularly using words like “disabuse” and “intersectionality” and “can’t” when tweeting and/or speaking. This in itself is great, but not particularly remarkable, as many are very outspoken about racial issues. What makes it remarkable is that Williams has green eyes and very nice abs. And it’s generally assumed that Black men with green eyes and very nice abs are only concerned about their woes and Under Armour, so Williams exists as a paradox. He also has a Black wife. Which, again, is great, but not particularly rare. There are many people with Black wives, including even several Black men. But Williams has green eyes and very nice abs, so having a Black wife has engendered some to bestow him with unicorn status. And “unicorn status” is the first step to “EVERYTHING!!!” land.

When you combine these factors with his African-American studies degree and his tendency to grow full beards — both Bougie Black status markers — Williams represents the apex of Bougie Blacktivity. Unambiguously, unapologetically, and articulately pro-Black. While still making time to day party with Eva Pigford.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at Or don't. Whatever.

  • Yellow Tail

    Yes yes yes…and he used to be a teacher before he got into acting. And he secretly mocks white people who weirdly obsess over him without them being able to comprehend that he’s mocking them. I’m here for all of it.

    • Precious

      He really does though. Lol.

    • He does? How did I miss that!

    • ChiChi

      detail! please and thank you lol

  • Trystan Lee Calhoun

    I love this writer! The line, “There are many people with Black wives, including even several Black men.” made me literally LOL at work.

  • Not even just that he speaks up, but he speaks up and actually KNOWS what he’s talking about. Has legitimate and thought-out/thought provoking things to say. None of that “omg, I can’t believe this happened, something needs to change *insert hashtag to seem like you’re down for the cause*” stuff.

    • Amazonian Midget

      Yes! It’s one thing to talk about whats trending, it’s another to know and truly understand the issues. That is what makes me go gaga. The face is a bonus. ;)

      I’m not against interracial relationships, but when I saw that he is married to a brown, natural-haired, woman with girl-next-door looks…I felt like I won.

      • ursanegro


      • I felt like I won too. She’s pretty in the, yeah, she could be a regular girl. Not the typical Hollywood type of white is right only for pairings. I love her hair too.

  • Tristan

    Seems like yesterday he was taking pictures of players outfits during the Finals for Samsung and people was like get this fake Tony Parker outta here

    • AlwaysCC

      lol he does look like tony

  • PhlyyPhree

    I’ll probably be lambasted for this buuutttt….
    That boy is not fine to me. Like he has all the features that SHOULD be fine but nothing about him does it for me EXCEPT his intelligence and personality. The fact that he is so clearly knowledgeable AND he uses his platform to speak out about social injustice SPECIFICALLY related to black people? ANNNDD he drinks Ciroc? Whew.
    But if you just put him in a line up of light skinned bruhs, he wouldn’t be the first one I’d go for. Or even the second. Probably not even last, I’d just be celibate.

    • AlwaysCC

      i mean – he cute and errythang. but his intelligence makes him more attractive like you said. i don’t watch his show so i didn’t even know who he was when he first started making headlines.

    • miss t-lee

      I don’t normally go for the lightskin kats, but he’s an exception.

    • Aly

      Yep, I agree with all of this.

    • Asiyah

      His knowledge, intelligence, and personality are what make him fine to me. I find him good-looking but not like WOW, but all of his other qualities do it for me.

  • mochazina

    look. i was unimpressed with this fella as your average good looking actor. then he TWEETED and TUMBLD.


  • AngelMonique

    His activism, his talent and his beauty are all a win. #GreysFan
    I’ve never thought him racially ambiguous. He’s a light skinned brotha who happens to have green eyes.

    • mochazina

      me either, but you know popular america would easily cast him as ambiguous

      • Tristan

        Yeah i just see a black dude, he aint out here getting S Curls and playing exotic like Rick Fox

        • He just looks like a light-skinned black dude. No ambiguity to any of that.

          • Wild Cougar

            Looks white to me, tbh

        • Cori Hoston

          Tristan I was all in till u started talking bad about my Rick fox….ijc witchu

          • Tristan

            You cant quit me boo

      • kid video

        “Hollywood” tends to do that with mixed race women(i.e. Rasheeda Jones, Maya Rudolph, Jennifer Beals), more so than men.

        • mochazina

          also true

    • niksmit

      He’s not ambiguous to me, but his mother is a White woman. I guess like VSB’s own Panama.

  • Siante

    Not only is his wife black, but she has NATURAL hair. This is important.

    • AlwaysCC

      AND doesn’t look like she’s an instagram model part-time

      • Don’t shame Instagram models!!

        • HeyBooHey

          They tend to shame themselves

          • miss t-lee

            You beat me to it.

          • Val


          • They all seem to be pitch people for “herbal” tea and plastic body parts.

            • Tristan

              And spend 8 hours a day in a corset just to serve drinks at the club

            • Rosa Acosta is still bae

              • She’s a pretty lady.

              • kid video

                She probably can get herself into most of the positions in the Karma Sutra.

            • HeyBooHey

              Don’t forget the pills that slim you down. And weaves

            • How do these heaux stay so damb fit?! Do they eat?!?!?! I need to know

              • Nick Peters

                No….and when your freedom is completely reliant on your looks…you find a way

              • Aye Bee

                I am trying to figure that out. Questions that need answers?!?!?!? I’m convinced they may be aliens like my cousins. Them folks eat everything under the sun and look like models…that gene skipped me.I pray it blesses my offspring. lol

                • God Shammgod

                  For a few hundred bucks you too can fly to DR and get an fitstagram model body

              • miss t-lee


                • I don’t have that kind of money

                  • miss t-lee

                    Even if…

            • Cori Hoston

              Damn herbal diet tea…..if I get another gram message

          • Dignity vs Working in the Thirst Industry.


            Not much talent required easier. Lol, at how a British Accent can make anything hilarious sound serious and enlightening.

  • minxbrie

    K but Jesse Williams truly is everything and the more he speaks, the more I love him. He is a lethal combination of looks and smarts which makes up for the fact that I do not care much for his character on Grey’s (bar this last season because Jackson was breaking my heart).

    Question though: do ya’ll think he would be such a thirst trap if he didn’t happen to also embody an element of “exoticness” (read: light eyed and mixed)?

    • Vanity in Peril

      I think it speaks to certain levels of internalized white supremacy, yes. 1. Social justice bae has revered (no matter how much we protest that light skin is only a commodity for black women, we lying) skin tone and eye color in the black community and 2. Because of those things some of us treat him like we treated ol white lady weavologist from last month with the tired “he cares about our poor black issues and he doesn’t even HAVE to. Let’s throw him a parade w tupac holograms!” just bc he says the same sruff us vsb and vss’ s say in the comfort of our Cosby brownstones (or whatever type of housing bougie blacks are supposed to live in).

      Having said all that. He is a social justice super hero. And he’s talking about black issues, frankly, unapologetically, and with historical accuracy.

      Plus he fine.

      • Wild Cougar

        I think he is everything, but more for his very smart tweets than his looks. Objectively, he’s aight, and I will admit the light bright green eyes thing is a plus, in its place. However, if he were not tweeting very dope stuff, he would not get a second look. Here’s why, the light bright green eyes thing is exotic. Other. I used to be into other. Then I got over it. Now, Deray, on the other hand gets all the condensation. He also tweets smart. He’s about as attractive as Jessie, in my opinion. Maybe a little more. Why would I kidnap Deray and make him my love slave? Because he’s familiar. He could be my cousin. He could be the guy next door. That gets me heated in the bloomers more than exotic. But it was the flip of that when I was younger. *shrugs*

    • DebraKayeII

      Yes. I understand where both of you are coming from but honestly, his facial features, abs and tweets in any shade would be swoon inducing. Proven from the upthread throng of women who don’t see him as attractive at all. Dont forget women, at large, have been fed the tall DARK and handsome trope.

    • Kamaria

      Women would offer him that box to him regardless. First of all, light skinned dudes haven’t been in since Al B. Sure. Second, other walking thirst traps, say Idris Elba get plenty of play without having to speak out on any issues. Lastly, other light skinned handsome men who are outspoken on social issues, take John Legend, aren’t getting this much play cuz there are levels to this ish. Plus, fine is fine, is fine, is fine, is fine.

  • cakes_and_pies

    Wayment-I get not knowing him from Grey’s, but did no see “The Butler”? It was like he was playing himself as an educator during the Civil Rights era.
    Or a sexy fine nerd in “Cabin in the Woods”?

    • miss t-lee

      I remember him from the sequel of Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants.

      • cakes_and_pies

        I didn’t even know that movie had a sequel.

        • miss t-lee

          Don’t do it to yourself.

          • cakes_and_pies

            I won’t. The sequel looks like a Lifetime movie in HD

            • miss t-lee


      • Cleojonz

        He was in that? Poor thing. I read the books, had no interest in seeing any of the movies.

    • orchid921

      “Cabin in the Woods” is beyond awesome. I’m also a charter member of the Joss Whedon Stan Club, so … ;)

    • Jasmin

      haha he was playing Julian Bond, who is #oldbae

      • cakes_and_pies

        I completely forgot the movie was based on real life figures. Jesse Williams, ( young) Julian Bond, and (young) Harry Belafonte are #LightMeatActivists

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