Beverly Bond: 'Black Girls Rock!' is more than a slogan
If you are looking for an empowering event, honoring the strength and talents of black women, look no further. Black Girls Rock! is celebrating phenomenal women of color with a televised awards show on BET and Centric.
This year’s show honors some of the world’s greatest black women including Angela Davis, Shirley Caesar, Taraji P. Henson, Tatyana Ali and more. The all-female ensemble of performers includes Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Melanie Fiona, Mary Mary, Elle Varner and Shirley Caesar.
In an interview with theGrio, Black Girls Rock! founder, Beverly Bond shared how she started the organization, her hopes for the future and why she feels black girls rock.
The Black Girls Rock! awards show will air on BET Sunday, November 6 at 8 p.m. ET.
theGrio: How did Black Girls Rock! get started?
Beverly Bond: In 2006, I thought that the phrase “Black Girls Rock!” would make an incredible slogan on a t-shirt, but as I explored the idea I realized that this slogan is bigger than a t-shirt. Black Girls Rock! is an affirmation that our mothers and grandmothers never heard, but that our young woman need to hear today.
I realized that I needed to do a mentoring program for young girls because I saw that many of the messages in music videos and images in media were not telling them that they were special and that they were important.
The awards show put a spotlight on our black female heroes. A lot of our women throughout time have not been recognized for the contributions that they have made to our culture.
Since starting Black Girls Rock! In 2006, I have never looked back.
What are some of the obstacles that your organization has faced?
In the beginning, one of the main obstacles was trying to get funds and spreading the word about what we were doing. I was fortunate to already be a celebrity DJ, so when media outlets would interview me I would just turn the attention onto Black Girls Rock!
Back when we started, it was difficult getting people in the music industry to stand up for the images of women. At that point it was a little taboo, when in actuality it wasn’t taboo. We needed to find a way to empower our women. A lot of people were afraid to tackle the issue, but it didn’t stop me and I am still focused on our original goals.
WATCH A SNEAK PEAK FOR ‘BLACK GIRLS ROCK!’ HERE
Do you have a wish list for Black Girls Rock!? What are some of your future goals?
My biggest wish is that there didn’t have to be an organization like Black Girls Rock!, because all girls rock. It’s just that black girls aren’t told that they rock and that they are special and matter as much as everyone else in the world.
I would like to have cultural centers for Black Girls Rock! all over the country, where we could implement the same type of programming that we do in the tri-state area with our girls. We want to promote leadership, excellence, integrity, responsibility and making proper choices to girls all over the country.
How important do you think it is for young men to be involved with this organization?
It’s very important. The messages that are out there and affect young women are also affecting young men. It shapes their relationships with girls as well. I would love to start a program for young black men, because we have to change the way young black men look at young black women. The messages of Black Girls Rock! are important to the entire community.
Who are some celebrities that you hope will become associated with Black Girls Rock! in the future?
I would like to see Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama pay attention and notice the work that we do. I think that the work we are doing is in line with the things that they do and say. We haven’t forged a relationship yet with Oprah and our first lady, but we are working on it.
Also Warren Buffett and Angelina Jolie are great humanitarians and would help to draw attention to our organization.
Is Black Girls Rock about black women exclusively?
No. A lot of the negative images that are out there are geared towards women in general, not just black women. The organization started with the focus being on only black women, because our social disparities are much greater than those of other races, however our messages need to inevitably be spread to a larger audience, because all girls rock!
What are some of the highlights from the Black Girls Rock! celebration on BET that you can’t wait for America to see?
One of the highlights for me is Ruby Bridges piece that will be in the show. Every honoree is amazing in their own right, every performer wowed the audience, the speeches were uplifting and overall people will finish watching and just feel a higher level of inspiration than they did from the broadcast last year.
In one sentence can you tell me why black girls rock?
I don’t think there is one sentence. We are strong, resilient truth tellers that are brilliant for so many reasons, too many reasons to possibly fit into one sentence.