Beverly Bond is the model-turned-DJ whose vision for a foundation — Black Girls Rock! — has spawned into the inspiring awards show of the same title that celebrates the brilliance of Black women. The second Annual Black Girls Rock! program that will air Sunday on BET is a pure evolution of the Black Girls Rock (BGR) mission that began with a T-shirt.
“First I started the T-shirt and was thinking of all the incredible women to list on it,” Bond told BlackEnterprise.com. “I was writing down all of these names and just couldn’t fit them all. In my attempt to try, I said, ‘This is bigger than just a shirt.’ So I decided to start a mentoring program.” The message shirt has since expanded into a full range of tees and hoodies that are currently available for purchase through the organization’s website store.”
Though she sought out to honor and inspire other Black women, Bond’s vision for Black Girls Rock! resulted in her own honors and distinctions. She was named one of New York’s Fifty Fabulous Females by Love Heals, a leading foundation for AIDS education, in 2006; received the 2009 “Gold Rush Award” by Russell Simmons’ Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation for her community work and for promoting youth programs; listed on The Source magazine’s 2009 Power Circle group of leaders in hip hop and got the 2009 “Agent of Change Award” the “Obama: THAT ONE!” Pre-Inaugural Awards gala in Washington, D.C., — just to name a few of her honors. This year Black Girls Rock! returns to BET for the second year with “Reed Between the Lines” star Tracee Ellis Ross and actress Regina King on board as the hosts.
“Last year was the first year we partnered with Black Girls Rock! and Beverly Bonds,” said Debra Lee, Black Entertainment Television’s chairman and CEO. “It’s such a great cause, and it was so successful last year. It’s such a simple premise to do an all-female show, but once you do it you realize how powerful it is, and what it means to young girls to see women being honored. It’s an all-female band and all-female performers, and it really was much bigger than we expected. It is personally gratifying to be a part of this, and for us to be able to help Beverly spread her message.
Since 2006, Black Girls Rock! has been dedicated to the healthy development of young women and girls and seeks to build the self-esteem and self-worth of young women of color by changing their outlook on life, broadening their horizons, and helping them to empower themselves through mentorship, arts eduction, cultural exploration and public service. In addition to promoting the arts for young women of color, BGR encourage dialogue and analysis of the ways women of color are portrayed in the media.
“I’m sure that there are a lot of Black girls that rock,” said legendary model-agent Bethann Hardison. “I think that the ones that I’m more impressed with are the ones who have passed. I’m still looking for the ones that be rocking in the present, and God knows maybe there will be some rocking in the future — because they surely have the potential. It’s a great organization, to take it to a further point where girls can have a bit a real life education.”
The recent BGR taping at New York’s historic Paradise Theater included performances by Philly’s own Jill Scott and state Sen. Vincent Hughes’ wife, actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, along with a guest sighting of Philadelphia Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown. “Mommies know that Black Girls Rock!, and we want to help our young daughters be wherever they need to be to be reaffirmed about that,” said Reynolds Brown. “Tonight is an affirmation that Black girls do rock everywhere — not just in New York, but also in Philly.”
The second Annual Black Girls Rock! special will air on BET Nov. 6 at 8 p.m. Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and the “Uniquely You Summit for Girls” are co-hosting the Philadelphia Watch Party for the 2011 Black Girls Rock Awards on BET on Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. at Ms. Tootsie’s Restaurant Bar & Lounge, 1314 South St. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the door, or via www.urbantix.com. Ten percent of ticket sales will be donated to Black Girls Rock, Inc.