Black Girls Rock! airs on BET tonight and this year’s event, like the previous ones, celebrated the best of Black women in the arts, entertainment and social justice. Rihanna, Shonda Rhimes, Opal Tometi, Alicia Garza and Patrice Cullors, the founders of Black Lives Matter, Walking Dead star Danai Gurira, actress Amandla Stenberg and the legendary Gladys Knight, were this year’s honorees. The annual event, taped last Friday at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, the offshoot of a mentoring program created by DJ Beverly Bond, has become an annual rite of passage for the celebration of Black women’s achievements.
This year, like every year, had its highlights. Here are five things that made this year’s celebration, well,….rock!
Rihanna showed up for a few pics on the red carpet in a full-length Miu Miu fur and…and shorts with heels. Yup. Everyone’s favorite singer/fashion icon/fashion designer/social media superstar/philanthropist is always a highlight but her look, had a few fashion critics shaking their heads. Not us. As usual, we appreciated the star’s lack of F’s to give and her individuality, which she referenced in an off-the-cuff acceptance speech. Rihanna said it was the first award she’s gotten just for ‘being black’ but also said that she credited her success to being herself, a message that certainly played well in a room dominated by Black women.
Hillary Clinton is definitely trying hard to get your vote. She came to BGR to introduce its founder, Beverly Bond, and like Michelle Obama, who appeared at last year’s show, she affirmed that night’s theme that Black girls do, indeed, rock. Her appearance was met with a standing ovation by the predominantly Black, female crowd, and her speech, which included her own admission that she’s been personally impacted by a few rockin’ Black women (although many don’t know it, Clinton has quite a few African-American women in leadership positions on her team) was warmly received.
Marsha Ambrosious, Corrinne Bailey Rae and Imani Uzuri
Can you say supergroup? While we’re not sure if any supergroup is possible after the very public crash and burn of TGT, maybe these fabulous ladies can just make one album together. Ambrosius, Bailey Rae and Uzuri’s soul-stirring performance of Earth Wind and Fire’s “I Write A Song For You’ was the highlight of several great performances of the night, including Andra Day, Monica, Brandy and the always amazing Jazmine Sullivan. We can’t ignore Gladys Knight performing a medley of some of her biggest hits, but the trifecta really stood out. Here’s hoping they at least got each other’s numbers and might record together in the future.