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

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“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”

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“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

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“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

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“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.”

Wom-Er, Girl Crush Wednesday | This 11-year-old Wants to Expand Your Bookshelf

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As the old saying goes, if you don’t see what you’re looking for in stores, create it. That’s just what eleven-year-old Marley Dias did.

The sixth grader was tired of reading about “white boys and dogs.” In other words, stories and characters that she couldn’t relate to. Sadly that invisibilty is more pervasive than you think.

So her mom, Janice Dias, asked what she was going to do with her frustration?

That’s when Marley launched #1000BlackGirlBooks, a book drive for black girls as main characters not sidekicks or background pieces, in November.

Partnering with her mom’s GrassROOTS Community Foundation, Marley has collected 700 books–nearly at her goal of 1,000 books for black girls.

 

With her visit to  Ellen today it’s safe to say not only will she meet her goal but surpass it. Watch what gifts Ellen Degeneres gives to help Marley’s book campaign here.

And if you’re wondering where all those books are heading? To Jamaica mon.

On February 11th Marley will visit St. Mary, Jamaica (where her mama hails from) to host a book festival. The New Jersey res will also donate the collected books to schools and libraries. In hopes of inspiring more black girls to read more after seeing images of themselves.

“I know there’s a lot of black girl books out there, I just haven’t read them,” Marley tells Huffpost.”So if we started this I would find them and other people would be able to read them, as well.”

Marley’s #1000BlackGirlBooks is just one do-gooder deed the pre-teen’s taken part in. According to Huffpost, last year she won a Disney grant to empower young girls to follow their passion. Then followed that up by feeding orphans in Ghana.

Did we also mention Marley started a nonprofit, BAM, with her friends? They frequently volunteer at local soup kitchens.

No wonder she’s pegged supergirl–step aside Melissa Benoist– with her superpower being writing. She’s gunning for a job as a magazine editor. Or as Toni Morrison.

Either way Marley knows the weight of the written word.

“[Representation] definitely matters because when you read a book and you learn something, you always want to have something you can connect with,” she told Huffpost.

Adding,”If you have something in common with the characters, you’ll always remember and learn a lesson from the book.”

To learn more about the literary activist and how you can help click here