Women Wisdom Wednesday | Black Girls Rock! Awardees Dropped Major Life Lessons

Black Girls Rock! creator Beverly Bond said it best, “10 years in and Black girls still rock.” Yaaass, always have and always will. Even if some still need convincing (looking at you Catfish’s Nev.) there is no better recognition than from your fellow cocoa sistas. So here is a sprinkling of sage advice on how us Black girls can keep rockin’.

Danai Gurira, Actress “The Walking Dead” and Playwright

Danai-Gurira-Black-Girls-Rock

“I want to encourage all these other black girls. I know it can get tough out there. It can get downright ugly. I have walked the path, or some version of it, but know you are designed for greatness. And black girl, you rock because you have so much potential. Your power and your resilience will help to heal this world.

You have a resilience that is in your DNA…whether you want it or not. You are what the world is waiting for. Whether the world acknowledges that or not. Step into your uniqueness. Protect it. Nurture it. It is precious. No one can do what you can do or contribute what you are destined and designed to contribute.”

Shonda Rhimes, Creator of “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” “HTGAWM”

shonda-rhimes-black-girls-rock

“For those of us up here on the stage, our careers have been named. Our paths have been chosen. We have picked our mountains and we have started to climb it. Because the minute someone starts giving you awards, you are more history than future.

Your slates are blank. Your paths are clear and your stories are whatever you decide they’re going to be. You are the builders of the 21st century. You have a right to the universe. You were given then right simply by being born. So you already rock… Change the world. And when you’ve done that, change it again.”

Rihanna

Rihanna-Black-Girls-Rock

“I believe God put us all here for a reason and we all have our purpose and we are here to fulfill our purpose individually. I think the thing that’s kept me sane, the thing that’s kept me humble, the thing that’s kept me successful is being myself. I only know how to do that.

This world is so big and it can be so confusing at times that you tend to forget and you tend to be so indented or tainted by society and the only thing that’s kept me going is being myself. And the minute you learn to love yourself you would not want to be anybody else. Role model is not the title they like to give me, but…I think I can inspire a lot of young women to be themselves and that is half the battle.”

Beverly Bond

Beverly-Bond-Black-Girls-Rock

“Black girls still have to grow up with pervasive and paradoxical messages that say that our Black is not beautiful, but our features can be bought and sold to enhance the beauty of other women.

When Black girls swag and the black girl’s aesthetic are only dope without the Black girl but sky rocket in value and get put on a pedestal when it’s put on other bodies, our girls internalize that to mean that they are less beautiful. I started #BlackGirlsRock because I love us and I believe in us. Why do I need to get permission from you to affirm me? I want us to walk righteous in our spirit. Own your magic, walk in your purpose, rock in your truth.”

IfYouBlinked’s Woman Crush | 5 Ways Beverly Bond is on Fleek

Beverly Bond giving her best smize while on the red carpet.  Image courtesy: Twitter

Beverly Bond giving her best smize while on the red carpet.
Image courtesy: Twitter

Black Girls Rock isn’t just a saying anymore, it’s a movement. Ushered in by Beverly Bond, a DJ, to not only see the oft invisible black girl, but celebrate what she can do when you’re not watching.

Hence, Jada Pinkett-Smith’s speech at this year’s Black Girls Rock! Award ceremony, “I need you to understand that we are the women who marched from cotton fields into fields of medicine…politics…entertainment. We have found a way to march into the White House.”

Judging by Twitter some people have a problem with that. It’s nothing new. Neither is black girls contributions to excellence–in fashion,entertainment and academia–being ignored, thanks for making it so obvi Cosmo.

All the more reason Black Girls Rock is needed, and to show our appreciation we list 5 ways Beverly Bond rocks.

1. Because … She’s Not Just Making a T-Shirt Slogan
Originally, Beverly Bond wanted to use the slogan to start up a T-shirt, but envisioning the message was so much bigger than that she heigtened the platform. This is what she told NBC News:

I knew this type of message needed to be shared, especially for young girls, who might need to hear this from a unique perspective.

2. Because … She Defends Black Girls Rock Against Reverse Racism
It’s amazing how much people’s panties get in a bunch when black women unite to praise each other. But that it did when #whitegirlsrock and FLOTUS Michelle Obama is racist for declaring black girls rock started popping up on Twitter…again. Beverly Bond had an epic response. Here’s what she wrote on The Root:

When I heard about ‘whitegirlsrock’ hashtag that trended on Twitter, my immediate reaction was,’Well, duh! Of course white girls rock. Are they unaware? White women’s beauty, talent, diversity and wordly contributions are affirmed everywhere: on billboards, on television, in magazines and in textbooks.”

She goes on to say that black women need to be given just as much recognition for their talents. And shining a light on those accomplishments doesn’t draw a curtain on others’ feats.

As a humanist, I believe that we all rock. My issue is that the commentary that followed ‘#whitegirlsrock’ hashtag was not even about affirming dynamic white women. Instead, it was about critiquing or even punishing black women for having the nerve, the audacity and the unmitigated gall to live and affirm ourselves.

3. Because … She’s Mentoring Young Women
Black Girls Rock! isn’t just an annual awards show. It’s also a mentoring program to foster self-worth and community service among young women. Beverly Bond recently launched a three-day leadership conference to chat about college prep, the media and steps to be a success.

4. Because … She Can Reel in FLOTUS 
Beverly Bond doesn’t just sit pretty in the audience while Regina King and TMurda make us laugh. She has her hand in honoree selections–made a year in advance–to stage building. Any and everything to see her “baby” come to life year in and out. And isn’t it nice to know this year she got a nod from the most powerful black girl: FLOTUS Michelle Obama. She endorsed Beverly’s empowering message by giving one of her own at the annual ceremony.

5. Because … She Knew Black Girls Rock Was a Success Before Reaching TV Screens
Before BET came calling–Beverly Bond told NBC she knew they eventually would–the movement was already filling out seats in New York’s Lincoln Center.

It was only a matter of time and I always knew BET was the perfect home for Black Girls Rock so I’m elated it worked out this way.

So are we. Beverly Bond doesn’t just rock. She’s on fleek.

How #Black Girls Rock Turned into #White Girls Rock

"It don't get no better" Letoya Luckett voice

“It don’t get no better” Letoya Luckett voice

So, Sunday was Black girls rock day. Everyday should be Black Girls Rock day. But, Sunday made it official with a BET award show full of mocha, chocolate, caramel and almond skinned women graciously celebrating their talents with each other. It’s one of the rare award shows where no one is getting crunk. There are no wardrobe malfunctions or lap dances taking center stage. The spotlight is on sisterhood and mentorship–something we sorely need today.

Anyway, I will step away from my pulpit because I don’t mean to preach, I’m just sayin…there are only so many award shows where your eyes start to bleed from the twerk fest. So, Sunday I have my BLACK GIRLS ROCK chant on repeat–easily becoming a drinking game–and lo and behold the Twitter chorus goes from Black Girls Rock to this:

https://twitter.com/sabrinadeeleyyy/status/398098294720958464

https://twitter.com/Mynameis_mac/status/397171900146663425

Ya’ll get the picture.

Apparently, some people (and it’s not just the Caucasian persuasion) caught feelings about a two hour show honoring brown sisters achievements. Hmph. That sounds familiar. I believe we were sitting in that same shady section a month ago when “we” sat through a THREE hour award show to see if Ms. Kerry (may have a bun in the oven) Washington would walk away with an Emmy. Well, we slinked back in our chairs and quietly quoted Avril Lavigne’s “So Much for My Happy Ending” when that dream died.

Or the feelings of exclusion could be compared to when the fall glossies come out highlighting breakout stars in TV and Film. If “we” aren’t Casper the ghost on the front page, we are ‘Where is Waldo’ on the inside. If we are seen we really aren’t. Nearly every timeAnd as for those who believe its racist to tip a hat to a group of women that are banding together to rip off the “angry,” “petty,” “violent,” and “invisible” labels slapped on “our” foreheads and inside them perpetuated by reality shows, I urge you click the link and listen to the three voices below.

Girlfriends founder and producer extraordnaire Mara Brock Akil

Girlfriends founder and extraordnaire

http://www.bet.com/video/blackgirlsrock/2013/acceptance-speeches/shot-caller-mara-brock-akil.html

Marian Wright Edelman Founder of the Children's Defense Fund and Head Start & Nia Long

Marian Wright Edelman Founder of the Children’s Defense Fund and Head Start and Nia Long

http://www.bet.com/video/blackgirlsrock/2013/acceptance-speeches/social-humanitarian-marian-wright-edelman.html?cid=facebook

Founder of Black Girls Rock Beverly Bond

Founder of Black Girls Rock Beverly Bond

http://www.bet.com/video/blackgirlsrock/2013/highlights/beverly-bond-speech.html

And the voices that have yet to fully roar:

Brooklyn Wright for teaching youngsters to be a REAL superhero among her peers and teaching them to be green.

Ty-Licia Hooker for being an advocate for education and mentoring by founding an organization that was adopted by a University.

Mary Pat Hector for being one of the youngest activist working with Al Sharpton for non-violence.

IFYOUBLINKED: A special queen curtsey to: Venus Williams for initiating equity prize money for women in the sport of Tennis;  Amena Matthews for courageously stepping in front of Chicago gang-bangers to stop them from turning her beloved Chicago into Chiraq, and Eunique Jones Gibson for teaching kids their ancestors through an innovative calendar. These sheros are breaking down barriers for ALL women.

I’M A BLACK GIRL THAT ROCKS!!! **takes a sip out of flask**