NEW YORK -- BLACK GIRLS ROCK! celebrated the brilliance, beauty, grace and influence of black women last month. Hosted by Nia Long, BLACK GIRLS ROCK! honored the most exceptional women of color in the country from Missy Elliot to Raven Symone and featured performances and appearances by Malinda Williams, Shontelle, Lynn Whitfield, Keri Hilson, Ciara, VV Brown, Monica, Keyshia Cole, Estelle, Kym Whitley, and more. The show's premiere will be televised on BET, Sunday, November 7th.
Founder, CEO and Executive Producer of BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Beverly Bond stated, "This historic partnership with BET marks the beginning of an empowerment movement for women of color across the globe because Black Girls Rock all over the world." Bond continued, "Our girls are not being told how amazing they really are or how amazing they really can be. It is time that we start telling them. It is time that we start shouting out to the entire world that 'We' Black Girls Rock!"
Introduced by the beautiful Malinda Williams, the first award of the night was presented to the precocious Raven-Symone, now the brains behind her own empire. When accepting her Young, Black & Gifted Award, Symone said, "It's up to us as females to open doors for other females like the other legends sitting here tonight."
Following that award, singer and songwriter Shontelle performed her touching ballad, "Impossible," reminding the audience of the outstanding achievements of each of the celebrants. Symone later introduced the Who Got Next Award to the inspirational ingénue, Keke Palmer.
The multifaceted entertainer and producer Missy Elliot was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented by one of her best friends and fellow R&B powerhouse, Ciara. Later, Monica graced the stage with her soulful hit, "Still Standing." UK artist VV Brown performed her fantastical chart-topper, "Shark in the Water," and held it down in a lineup that featured additional performances heavyweights like Keyshia Cole and Keri Hilson.
Honoring some of the most extraordinary black women and girls around the country from entertainers to influencers, the show's inspiring celebrants truly embodied the spirit of their category. Rev. Dr. Iyanla Vanzant, recipient of the Motivator Award, said "Black girls rock, because we have no other choice. We have a responsibility to rock the world, rock the community and rock the planet so our grandmothers will know that they did not die in vain." Vanzant got a standing ovation for her powerful acceptance speech.
Kelly Price, Marsha Ambrosius, Jill Scott and Ledisi performed a flawless rendition of Nina Simone's "4 Women" that brought down the house as part of a tribute to the accomplishments and contributions of notable African American women.
Teresa Clarke, founder of Africa.com, received the Shot Caller Award for her efforts to change the way the world views Africa and Major General Marcelite J. Harris, who was the highest ranking woman officer in the Air Force and the Nation's highest ranking African American woman in the Department of Defense, was the recipient of the Trailblazer Award.
The iconic Ruby Dee was the recipient of the Living Legend Award and was introduced by the exquisite Lynn Whitfield. "Ruby Dee represents everything BLACK GIRLS ROCK! stands for," Whitfield added.
Dee, in her moving acceptance speech, said "It's times like these that I come to understand and appreciate profoundly the empowerment and promise, the responsibility in being deemed a legend." Following her touching tribute, Fantasia, Kelly Price, Ledisi and Marsha Ambrosius rocked the stage in the finale medley of "A Brand New Day," "I Am Woman," and "I'm Every Woman."
The star studded affair also included memorable performances and tributes as well as entertaining and inspiring video messages from other black women that rock including actresses Anika Noni Rose and Tracee Ellis Ross; BET Networks CEO and Chairman Debra Lee; host and entertainer Sherri Shepherd; Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the NAACP; and Black Girls Rock! Inc. Foundation founder Beverly Bond.
In addition to the outstanding performances, the below women were honored at BLACK GIRLS ROCK!
The following individuals were recognized as Black Girls Making a Difference:
About Black Girls Rock Inc.
About Black Girls Rock Inc.
Founded by celebrity DJ and former model, Beverly Bond, BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, that has been dedicated to the healthy development of young women and girls. BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ Inc. seeks to build the self-esteem and self-worth of young women of color by changing their outlook on life, broadening their horizons and helping them to empower themselves.