Black Girls Rock 2016
Former DJ and model Beverly Bond said she created the event to celebrate black women who are making strides in their respective fields.
This year pop star Rihanna, TV writer Shonda Rhimes and singer Gladys Knight were among the winners at the 10th annual Black Girls Rock awards ceremony on Friday.
“Hunger Games” star Amandla Stenberg received the Young Gifted and Black Prize. “The Walking Dead” actress and playwright Danai Gurira was also honored.
Rihanna took a break from her world tour to pick up this year’s Rock Star trophy. In her humble acceptance speech, Bad Gal Ri Ri thanked the best Black women she knows and shared some advice about self-love, acceptance and identity.
“Thank you so much for celebrating us in a world that doesn’t celebrate us enough,” she told the packed audience. “The minute you learn to love yourself, you will not want to be anybody else.” She continued, “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. Hopefully one day I’ll be raising my own little black girl who rocks.”
Host Tracee Ellis Ross, Shonda Rhimes, Hillary Clinton, and Gladys Knight were just a few of the other famous faces on-hand to help celebrate women of color and raise awareness about the non-profit.
The other empowering acceptance speeches of the night:
“Our differences, our colors, we’re like a garden. We’re all beautiful.”
“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.”
“I remember looking in the mirror when I was a little girl and looking at all that hair and being like, ‘Why is that there?’ I wanted it to go down so much. I remember suppressing it and brushing it and being so frustrated that I was so big and so bold. I felt like I took up too much space. But because of those women [who raised me], I have learned that…my blackness does not inhibit me from being beautiful and intelligent. In fact it’s the reason why I am beautiful and intelligent.”
“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 that you are designed for greatness. 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.”
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