This past weekend, a plethora of African-American women from various backgrounds, professions, and age groups gathered at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark for the 10th Annual “Black Girls Rock” celebration.
As you might expect when bringing together such an array of strong, beautiful women for a positive, uplifting gathering celebrating their excellence, the Black Girls Rock red carpet was littered with Black women and girls of all ages dressed to impress from head to toe. But aside from the fashion, the carpet was also a reunion of sorts for several groups of the women. Entertainment industry icons Dionne Warwick and Cicely Tyson shared several embraces and engaged in brief conversation while introducing one another to the young family members who accompanied them for the evening before posing for a photo together.
Blackish star Tracee Ellis Ross ran to greet her on-screen daughters Yara-Shahidi and Marsai Martin with huge hugs and compliments as they made their way onto the carpet. Marsha Ambrosious, Amandla Stenberg, Jazmine Sullivan and Justine Skye even pulled out all the stops to do their best 5-second “Work” rendition in celebration of honoree Rihanna.
Following what’s sure to go down as one of the best opening numbers in award show history by host Tracee Ellis Ross, the show itself was filled with inspiring and legendary moments. For much of the night, the packed audience was collectively either frozen in their seats while soaking up the unforgettable words from deserving honorees, or on their feet for the exhilarating performances that showcased the wide range of extraordinary musical talents of Black female entertainers brought to life through voices of past, present and future trailblazers.
In addition to prominent Black women in the music, entertainment and business industries, the event also played host to many young girls of color doing extraordinary things in their communities. Slightly different from the atmosphere of most award shows, there was no separation of “fans” from “celebrities” or “A-listers” from “new comers” because on this night and in this room, everyone was just as much of a celebrity as they were a fan and vice versa. Most importantly, not only were these young game changers recognized, they were uplifted and honored right alongside names like “Black Lives Matter” founders Opal Tometi and Alicia Garza, Rihanna, producer Shonda Rhimes, Gladys Knight, actress Danai Guriara and Black Girls Rock founder and visionary Beverly Bond. What other event sees these young Black girls celebrated by their favorites for nothing more than being themselves and using their brilliant minds to do their part in changing the world for the better?
In a world where the contributions and successes of all women are constantly marginalized or overlooked, the Black Girls Rock organization continues to set an overwhelmingly empowering precedent for the type of unity we are more than worthy and highly capable of not just advocating for, but demonstrating amongst each other.
For this reason and countless others, tonight’s Black Girls Rock 10th Anniversary Celebration is undeniably one the world needs to see.
Will you be watching?
Photo Credit: Getty Images/HERSource