Did you watch the ‘Girlfriends’ reunion...I mean ‘Black Girls Rock’ Awards program Sunday night? I caught it and was throughly inspired. Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King co-hosted the event that honored tennis star Venus Williams, tv/film producer and writer Mara Brock-Akil, community activist Ameena Matthews, activist, lawyer, and president of the Children’s Defense Fund Marian Wright Elderman, actor, rapper, singer, talk show host and producer Queen Latifah, living legend Patti LaBelle, and prima ballerina Misty Copeland.
‘Black Girls Rock!’ was founded by DJ Beverly Bond in an effort to honor African-American women anually in conjunction with its year-round programming that is aimed at inspiring and uplifting women of color. In addition to the recognized celebrities honored, there were a few young women that were honored who made a huge impact in their communities. This included Brooklyn Wright an eco-conscious student from Atlanta, Mary Pat Hector a youth activist, and Ty-Licia Hooker a promoter of education and community outreach.
It is not often that positive images of African-American women are broadcasted. As with anything positive towards African- Americans, a negative alliance of opposition to the celebration was formed in the twitterverse consisting ironically of a few African-American men and a few women of non-color. Their position being that since #blackgirlsrock was a trending topic #whitegirlsrock should also be able to trend without “blacks” crying racism. Sigh. What an unfortunate, misguided, and uninformed position to take.
I personally enjoy celebrating any and everyone who accomplishes great things regardless of ethnicity. It saddens me to know that there are people who choose not to include people of color in their celebrations, and scoff at the idea of people trying to celebrate and encourage great women of color. I salute all of the women of color.
Mara Brock-Akil (creator of ‘Girlfriends’) brought me to tears in saying, “When there IS an image that resembles us, oftentimes upon closer inspection, it’s not us…Black women, even if nobody else sees you, I SEE YOU…We are worth protecting and we are worth loving. When we dare to walk this world unapologetically…it’s how we put our own pictures up and validate ourselves.” Some people saw ‘Girlfriends’ as just a television show, but for me it was the first time I saw people who looked like me, spoke like me, and were celebrated for who they were. To the opposition either bring to the table inclusionary ideas or stand to the side.