Shit Bougie Black People Love: 30. Jesse Williams

Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images for BET
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 is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)


I have become a fan of Jesse Williams out of his activism, not any of his acting. I might have seen 5 minutes of a Grey's episode he was in at some point. He is smart, conscious and beautiful inside and out (or it would seem) So what's not to love?

AND his wife is a civilian who looks like the rest of us on this site. He can do no wrong in my eyes.