Last night BET aired its Annual event “Black Girls Rock” honoring some of the most influential black women in the industry including Yara Shahidi, Issa Rae, Solange Knowles and political powerhouse Rep. Maxine Waters.
Founded by Beverly Bond in 2006, Black Girls Rock! Was founded for black women to recognize each other’s contributions and serve as a safe space for sisterhood. That was on full display last night at the event hosted by Taraji P. Henson who invited all the honorees on stage for the finale while she acted as DJ and played songs like “Ladies First” and “Who Runs the World (Girls)”, bringing the crowd to their feet.
Naturally the show has been met with some resistance over the years from white people who fight for inclusion anytime the black label is placed on anything. Last year in a pure #alllivesmatter move, the hashtag #whitegirlsrock started to trend thanks to some sensitive snowflakes who felt they needed to be recognized too.
There was less of that this year and more of a remarkable energy plastered across social media. The program trended at #1 on Twitter most of the night as black people, both men and women, got to spend two hours feeling nothing less than pride and awe at the accomplishments that our people have made and are continuing to make in this community.
Personally, it gave me renewed energy. To hear someone as young as Yara Shahidi talk about struggling with her identity based on who she was not, hearing Issa Rae recount her days of not feeling accepted in any crowd as an awkward black girl and Solange Knowles talk about the uplifting she receives from black women everyday that gives her the strength to keep going even on days she feels the most insecure, was eye opening and inspirational.
Stealing the show was of course “Auntie” Maxine Waters whose remarks I felt on a spiritual level. She shared that if it wasn’t for the support she received from other black women, the white men that she works with everyday would make her feel as if she was aggressive and confrontational, when in fact she’s really a strong black woman. The line “I don’t care how big you are, I don’t care how high you think you are, if you come for me I’m coming for you,” brought down the house. I was on my feet shouting. It was a space in time well finally I felt like someone understood what I deal with on a daily basis. Too often, as black women we are surrounded by people who don’t want to hear our voice, who demean and generalize us as “angry black women” just for having an opinion. We have power, we have strength and the ability to change the world.
The door isn’t being opened for us, so we have to kick it down. Programs like “Black Girls Rock” are important for us to see that no matter where we live or work, when we are not surrounded by people who look like us or know our struggle, there is a whole community of black women all over that are fighting the good fight everyday and enduring the same struggles we are….and they are pushing through.
It gives us the energy to keep fighting and help nudge open that door a little more for our black girls in the future.