The 2016 Black Girls Rock! honorees (Brian Killian/Getty)

On Tuesday night, the world saw how black girls really do rock!

Black women of all ages came together to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Black Girls Rock!, a mentoring organization founded by DJ Beverly Bond. The audience sat in awe and in laughter as Tracee Ellis Ross took the stage as the host for the evening.

The night was full of fun and amazing performances from stars Monica, Brandy, Lauryn Hill and more. The crowd was left with powerful messages from Rihanna, Shonda Rhimes, Amandla Stenberg and many other black female leaders.

Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton had the honor of introducing Bond. Clinton shared amazing words about Beverly and how Black girls truly rock. “Thank you Beverly Bond for making sure that the entire world knows what you know and that is Black Girls Rock! Beverly reminded everyone that black women are change-makers, path-breakers, and ground-shakers.  When black women rock, black families rock, America rocks, the world rocks.” 

In 2006, Bond launched Black Girls Rock! as a non-profit organization to provide young women of color with the resources, inspiration and tools they need for leadership and self-empowerment. The organization has grown tremendously and recently BGR has been an influence to black girls in Africa.

On Tuesday night, Bond expressed why she started BGR, I started Black Girls Rock! because I love us and I believe in us. I want us to walk confidently in our authentic truth and I want us to be free.” 

Throughout the evening, several black women were recognized and honored for their outstanding work in their field.

Actress Danai Gurira took home the “Star Power” award for exemplifying how magical and multidimensional black women are through her roles in “The Walking Dead” and in her playwright for the hit Broadway play, “Eclipsed.”

“The Young, Black, and Gifted” award went to Actress Amandla Stenberg for fearlessly speaking about issues of race, beauty and identity. In her acceptance speech, Stenberg addressed all the topics in which she was being honored for. “My blackness does not inhibit me from being beautiful and intelligent. In fact, it is the reason I am beautiful and intelligent. And you can not stop me.”

Legendary Singer Gladys Knight was awarded with the “Living Legend” award which was well deserved. The founders of #BlackLivesMatter Opal Tometi, Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors were honored with the Community Change Agent” award for their movement fighting for equality.

Young ladies known as the “M.A.D. Girls”– chef Halie Thomas, entrepreneur Maya Penn and 11-year-old Marley Dias, who launched a reading campaign called #1000BlackGirlBooks, were all honored as well.
Shonda Rhimes and Rihanna received standing ovations as they accepted their awards with very memorable speeches. Rhimes received the “Shot Caller” Award for her “boundless imagination.  In her speech, she let black girls know that their “slate is blank and they can do whatever they want. Change the world, and when you’ve done that, change it again.

Rihanna was honored with the “Rockstar” award, and during her acceptance speech, she spoke about the importance of self-love and self-acceptance. The minute you learn to love yourself, you would not want to be anyone else.

Black Girls Rock! is truly an inspiration to all black girls across the nation. Not only the award show, but everything the organization stands for is beautiful and powerful. The annual Black Girls Rock! Ceremony has been televised on BET since 2010. The award show is one of the best public displays of black women’s beauty and brilliance. Bond exclaimed, To all the black girls all over the world, Own your magic, walk in your purpose and rock your truth.” 

Black Girls Rock 2015 awards went to:

Rock Star – Rihanna

Change Agent – Opal Tometi, Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors

Shot Caller – Shonda Rihmes

Star Power – Danai Gurira

Living Legend – Gladys Knight

M.A.D. Honorees:

Halie Thomas

Maya Penn

Marley Dias

 We can’t wait for next year’s show!

Written By: Marshay Rice



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