I went to the BET Black Girls Rock award show taping. Black Girls Rock is a non-profit spearheaded by famed DJ, Beverly Bond, (who looked chic and sophisticated) here in New York that addresses the concerns and issues of black young girls. (Should I have said, “inner-city” to convey that she targets black girls but doesn’t exclude young girls of other backgrounds?) The show, which airs on BET November 7, was fabulous and is not to be missed. Whether you are a young black girl who rocks or a grown black woman who rocks, or whether you’re black, white, whatever, female or male, you will feel inspired and encouraged after watching the show—not the typical vibe you get when watching BET, but hopefully this well executed, star-studded event signifies (here’s a hint of what you’ll see) “A Brand New Day” at BET.
The show was hosted by the flawless Nia Long. (The girl looked fantastic-three outfit changes and all!) It opened with Jill Scott (I’d run into Jones magazine founder, Tracey Ferguson, who told me her daughter, who looks JUST like her, was singing background for Jill.)
I was caught just outside the doors to the theater waiting on my pal. But we got in and enjoyed the rest of the night—after I’d run into Ciara, who was a presenter, in the bathroom! She was so sweet as she signed autographs and took pictures with fans in the lobby. This girl needs a cosmetics contract—the music thing is what it is, but Ciara is a gorgeous, gracious and well-spoken young lady. I’d like to see her in commercials using that face and personality.
So once they opened the door during a break, my friend and I ran past some guy with a head mic who was trying to mistake us for seat-fillers (uh, no) and got in our seats. We were told Jill looked hot, but we saw that for ourselves later…
Then it was my girl Monica. She came out and KILLED “Still Standing”. She was giving you Monica mixed with the demeanor of Whitney Houston (when she was still Whitney Houston) perfection. Can’t say I was loving her wardrobe choice, but the hair, the face and the voice were impeccable. I feel like Monica is the kind of girl who can come out in a tank top, skinny jeans, killer hells and be exquisite. But regardless of the garb, Monica proved that she hasn’t missed a musical step in all the years she was away, as she had us strong black women in the audience with our fists in the air-and she is, in fact, still standing.
I won’t spoil all the fun, but will include some highlights. As we waited for the next performance I heard someone walking and talking in the row of seats behind me. It was Kym Whitley! She looked great and was hilarious, on and off stage!
Then came VV Brown, a brown British singer whose set was really cute and classy. Loved her “cat eyes”. My friend and I compared her to a black and sober version of Amy Whinehouse!
Keri Hilson also put in a solid performance. And frankly I’ve never been a fan, but she really did her thing on “Breaking Point.” And, she was blonde! She and the other performers were backed up by the all girl house band.
Now, hmmm… Keyshia Cole performed and looked and behaved-okay let’s just be real—she looked and performed like a worn out mother of a new born. Honestly she turned in a lackluster performance and looked like she couldn’t have cared less. Oh, well. (Sorry girl) The rest of the ladies made up for it.
I like something that Iyanla VanZant, one of the honorees said. “Black girls rock because we have no other choice!” Okaaaayyy!
Raven-Symone, who has grown up into a beautiful young woman and looked fly in her dress, introduced another honoree, Keke Palmer-who was so adorable. I loved watching the torch being passed in the “Who Got Next” spot. Keke’s speech will make you howl at the end! (The producers of this show, one of whom I met that night, did a great job putting this show together!)
There’s some other fabulous moments in the show, but one that got me on my feet was the quartet. Okay, Jill Scott, Ledisi, Kelly Price, and Marsha Ambrosius! (Floetry) I mean you do not see this caliber of singers on the same stage every day. You just don’t. They took and shook the stage with a powerful rendition of a Nina Simone song—won’t tell ya which one—you’ll have to watch-and you’ll have to pay attention because Marsha has lost so much weight you’ll do a double take when you see her. I was like, “Wow, I need to get in the gym.” The performance was Rachel Zoe "bananas". (And they shut it down twice! The second time was just as ridiculous as the first, if not even a bit better—true professionals!)
It was great to see young girls at the event all dressed up, enjoying themselves and acting like young ladies. Another moment that touched me was when Ruby Dee was honored. She was so humble. I love her definition of legacy. And yeah, Betty White’s had a resurgence, and I love my Golden Girl, but Ms. Ruby Dee’s been here all along.
And I don’t want to give away the finale, but trust me; it’s a really uplifting piece by a gifted singer who lets us have it!!
All in all the Black Girls Rock awards show was one of the best, if not the best BET awards show to date. The lineup of talent in conjunction with all that we learned about the achievements of so many black women of all ages who are out there rocking the world and making a difference made for a stellar production that BET and its viewers can be proud of. I came away feeling refreshed, stronger, more hopeful and motivated to do more in and with my life.
And just a side-note: My friend and I caught a ride back home from the show on the official BET “party bus”! We rode in style and toasted to an evening of fun and inspiration. So don’t forget to catch Black Girls Rock on BET Sunday, November 7 at 8pm EST. And in the meantime remember, you rock!
Tell us why YOU rock!