Celebrating Black Voices for Black History Month: Porsha Williams

To honor Black History Month, we want to highlight black voices as they share their own unique experiences. Porsha Williams discusses her own experiences of being Black in America, being on the frontlines of protests, and following in her activist grandfather’s footsteps. 


Porsha Williams:




In her memoir, The Pursuit of Porsha, Porsha Williams opens up about family, faith, fame, and becoming an agent of change. As an entrepreneur and one of today’s most recognizable media personalities, Porsha has become and empowering role model to black women and an icon for women everywhere. Through categorizing her story, Porsha takes the reader on a journey of self-exploration and coming into one’s power. Charged with candor, vulnerability, and Porsha’s sharp wit, Porsha details her upbringing as the granddaughter of civil rights activity Hosea Williams, her harrowing experiences being on the frontlines of protests, and ultimately why she has decided to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps as a social justice advocate.




Porsha recollects her harrowing experience protesting in the wake of George Floyd’s murder:

“After hearing the music bumping through the speakers, I and a few protestors noticed that there weren’t just local police officers patrolling the protest. The National Guard troops—holding their clear riot shields and wearing goggles, gas masks, army fatigues, and helmets that were more appropriate on a battlefield than downtown Atlanta—had showed up, trying to intimidate us. They started to take a knee, which we know former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick turned into a symbol of fighting police brutality on the sidelines of his games. We were all so happy, like Oh my God, they’re taking a knee. They’re with us. They get it. They understand that we’re not protesting them, we’re protesting the brutality that they, as an institution, have inflicted upon us. Then those officers, down on their knees, pulled on their gas masks. It didn’t take me long to figure out that what they’d do next wouldn’t be peaceful, even though we were peacefully protesting, which is a constitutional right. All of a sudden we heard what sounded like gunshots ring out all around us, vibrating the ground we protested on. They were so powerful it felt like our insides were vibrating, too. If you know anything about Black people in a crowd, you know we run first and ask questions later. All I heard was, “Oh, shit!” and “They shooting!” and Dennis and I just took off running. “It’s gas! It’s gas! Go, go, go, go, go,” I yelled at the dozens of protestors all around me as one tear gas canister flew right by my head, missing it by inches. I instinctually watched the round canisters fall to the ground, bursting. I knew what a gunshot sounded like since I own several guns, and that wasn’t the sound of a bullet. Instead, after watching so many protests on TV, I recognized the tear gas canisters police were now throwing into the crowd, trying to disperse us for no good reason. And I knew we could jump over them and dodge them if we just kept running. “Run, baby!” I yelled at Dennis, trying to make sure we didn’t get split up in the mayhem.The two of us were weaving through the streets about to get hit by cars that were trying to escape the intersection while we jumped over tear gas bombs, with many still flying past our heads. But it wasn’t before long that the gas started hitting us and I ran right into that poisonous smoke. “My eyes!” I yelled at no one in particular when I realized the gas had smacked me right in my face. I closed my eyes immediately to relieve the pain, but it still felt like my eyes were burning from the inside out. They were burning with a devilish sensation that I had never felt before. It felt like they had exploded in my head. I could hardly catch my breath.”

-Excerpt from The Pursuit of Porsha


Porsha on the importance of using your voice for change:

“I discovered that my whole reason for going out to protest on the front lines was not only to be in community with my neighbors, but also to help elevate the voices that are continually silenced through systematic exclusion or societal convenience. I knew I had this platform and I knew the power it held to elevate. I wanted to use that power for good. I wanted to remind myself and fellow Americans that I am George Floyd. I am Sandra Bland. I am Tanisha Anderson. I am Natasha McKenna. I am Yvette Smith. I am Miriam Carey. I am Rekia Boyd. I am Breonna Taylor. I am a Black woman. I have a brother. I have a daughter. I have a family. And we’re all fighting for our humanity; for our humanity to be recognized when we’re speaking, when we’re driving, when we’re jogging, when we’re sleeping in our beds in our own homes, when we’re laughing, when we’re listening to music really loudly in our cars because that’s the best way to listen to it, when we’re going to the store for candy and juice, when we’re outside with our friends. I wanted George Floyd’s family and all of the other people taken from this life at the hands of police to know that they did not die in vain”

-Excerpt from The Pursuit of Porsha