Last night, the third annual Black Girls Rock award show aired on B.E.T, honoring women in various fields, inspired all who watched during the star studded event. Created in 2006 by celebrity D.J and philanthropist Beverly Bond, Black Girls Rock is a nonprofit youth empowerment and mentoring organization established to promote the arts for young women of color.
The show opened up with a stellar show by percussionist, Oakland’s home grown Shiela E, as well as performances by Ciara, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Laylah Hathaway, and Estelle, among others. (You can see a full recap here, or tune in April 7 for an encore showing on B.E.T).
What really stole the show, however, were the inspiring speeches by the women honored at the event. Here are the quotes of the 6 women honored at the 3rd annual Black Girls Rock (with a bonus speech from the First Lady).
FLOTUS speech at BGR
“I know there are voices that you are not good enough. Eventually, I learned that each of those doubts was like a little test. A challenge that either I could shrink away from or rise up to meet. And I decided to rise, I decided that I wasn’t bossy, I was confident and strong. I wasn’t loud, I was a young woman with something important to say. And when I looked into the mirror, I saw a tall and smart and beautiful black girl.”
Cicely Tyson for Living Legend Award
“I want to say to the young women here tonight, the moment anyone tries to demean or degrade you in any way, you have to know how great you are. No one is going to bother to put you down if you are not a threat to them. Respect yourself and the world will respect you.”
Ava Duvernay for Shot Caller Award
“I want to celebrate my fellow Black filmmakers. We are a small but mighty tribe, and most of them don’t get the recognition they should….When a Black woman makes a film, it’s not an interpretation of Black womanhood, it’s a reflection. And it’s important to embrace it….You don’t have to be an actress or a director, a singer or famous to be a star. We can be a star in our own lives, my sisters.
Jada Pinket-Smith for Star Power Award
“We are the women that marched from cotton fields into fields of medicine, politics, law, education, entertainment. We even found a way to march ourselves into the White House, as the first lady of the United States of America. And I say ‘we’, because it’s my belief that we do this together. Any achievement that any woman makes is an achievement for us all…You’re enough as you are, because WE are enough as we are.
Nadia Lopez for Change Agent Award
“As women, we are constantly having to prove our worth, our intelligence, and having to fight for the respect on our jobs, in society and many times, in our homes. Ironically, when one of us women achieves recognizable success, we are taught to question the credibility of that achievement instead of expecting greatness and celebrating it. But the she that is great, whether recognized or not, lives in all of us. She is significant. She is heroic. She is exquisite.”
Erykah Badu for Rockstar Award
“I would like to say to little Black girls all over the world, that the thing that keeps us going is our vitality. I subscribe to five doctors: Dr. Sun-make sure that we get enough vitamin D. Dr. nutrition, making sure our vital bodies are clean and healthy, performing up to its highest ability. Dr exercise-at least 15 minutes a day. Dr. Spirit, making sure you communicate with the highest part of yourself, the highest form that you can imagine. And Dr. You, making sure that you take time to take care of you through it all.”
Dr. Helene D. Gayle For Social Humanitarian Award
“When girls and women gain voice, they become empowered. And when that happens, everyone wins. Families, communities, nations, and ultimately our world…When Black Girls Rock, stuff happens.”
All images screenshots from B.E.T Black Girls Rock video recaps.