All Articles Tagged "black girls rock!"
Black Girls Rock Launches The ‘Black Girls Lead’ Summer Conference To Empower Girls Around The Globe
“Lead, innovate, serve!” That bold statement is the catchphrase behind the Black Girls Lead mission.
Founded by Black Girls Rock Inc.’s Beverly Bond (above at this year’s BGR event), the campaign seeks to empower young Black girls to grab life by the horns and take charge of their own destiny. Black Girls Lead will achieve its aim by launching its first four-day international conference this summer.
All Black girls around the world between the ages of 13 and 17 are invited to apply for the Black Girls Lead summer conference, but there are only 60 spots. Judges will be keeping their eyes open for young girls who exhibit an aptitude for leadership, an interest in professional and personal development, cultural pride, and a hunger to make an impact in their community.
“The overall goal of this leadership conference is to host a ‘meeting of the minds’ amongst young people who have displayed excellence individually, but who will also benefit from our pedagogy which highlights teamwork and collective responsibility for emerging thought leaders and active change agents,” Bond said in a press release.
The “action-packed” and “forward-thinking” Black Girls Lead conference will feature an array of workshops, master classes, and panels on media and cultural literacy, business, entrepreneurship, social action, arts, technology, financial literacy, and more. The symposium, the press release said, “will educate, affirm, support and empower girls who desire to become trailblazers of our future.”
The conference will take place between July 30 – August 2 in New York City at Barnard College, Columbia University.
“The Black Girls Lead conference allows us to expand our reach by giving even more girls access to our innovative programs and empowering ideals.” Bond added.
If you’re interested in participating in Black Girls Lead, click here to apply. And hurry! The deadline is on May 15.
BGR Founder Beverly Bond Responds Mad White Folks About The First Lady Attending Black Girls Rock Awards
After BET aired the “Black Girls Rock” Award show, a slew of White people were not particularly happy about First Lady, Michelle Obama appearing and speaking at the program. And they expressed their concerns, mostly via social media. They sounded off under the First Lady’s Instagram page.
This happens every year with the award show, the criticism was just louder this year because of Mrs. Obama’s attendance. Well, Black Girls Rock founder, Beverly Bond, has been doing this for years. And just like last year, she had to address the critics. This year was no exception. In a recent interview with WBLS, see how she eloquently and righteously defended the First Lady’s decision to attend the show as well as the reason it exists in the first place.
About Mrs. Obama attending:
“I thought she’s a Black girl that rocks. Why wouldn’t she be there?”
About people saying the show is racist.
“There is a real blind spot when it comes to privilege in America and not understanding racism and the implications of that. It is very telling when people have no problem tuning into Black Entertainment Television but when they’re tuning in, they’re offended by Black Entertainment Television celebrating Black women. That says a lot about who’s really racist here. And the fact that there needs to be a Black Entertainment Television or a Black Girls Rock or an NAACP. These things came about because of our exclusion. That’s one of the reasons why they exist.
So I think it’s very telling about where we are with our race relations with people being comfortable enough to tune into BET, not concerned when the images were not so stellar, never voicing their opinions about things that were degrading us or harming us. And to be offended by something that uplifts and empowers something that is an affirmation for young girls, that’s very telling.
If people really felt like it was about exclusion or “White Girls Rock Too” then they would have approached it differently. We know White Girls Rock, no one’s ever denied it. But to be offended that we have taken this issue of self esteem in our own hands…the many messages that are directed towards Black women and girls that tell us that we are not good enough, that we are not beautiful enough, that we are not deserving enough. There are so many messages in media from cosmetic ads to just being the leading lady opposite men who look like us.
And so this message has been going on for a very long time and for us to actually decide to say something and do something about it and people be offended, that’s like telling the slaves not to teach the kids to read. I think it’s really racist of them to be offended.
But what I did notice this year was women, of all nationalities but especially White women that jumped in and said to the other women who were offended, ‘How dare you? How dare you be offended by our sisters celebrating themselves?’ And I thought that that was amazing.
Bravo Beverly! You can watch Beverly Bond’s full interview, where she discusses a bit of the process to get the First Lady there, to the words of encouragement she shared with her and more in the video below.
— Nili Majumder (@NiliMajumder) November 8, 2014
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that the upcoming generation is hopeless. In addition to Kwasi Enin last year and Harold Ekeh, this year, Munira Khalif, a high school senior from Minnesota, has achieved the rare and distinct honor of being accepted to all eight Ivy League schools as well as several other prestigious colleges.
The 17-year-old with Somalian immigrant parents, who attends Mounds Park Academy, said that she was surprised to learn she’d been accepted to all the schools.
But she shouldn’t have been. With accomplishments on her resume that include founding a non profit organization, lobbying for legislation against child marriage, becoming a teen adviser for the United Nations’ Girl Up campaign and being a spoken word artist, Khalif had the skills and more importantly, the passion to be an asset to any college or university.
According to Minnesota’s Star Tribune, her teachers and peers describe her as a young woman who doesn’t just talk about it, she is about it. They say she exudes confidence and grace in ways people twice her age have yet to master. But in the midst of being amazing, she still makes time for sleepovers and cooking with her friends.
Her nonprofit organization, Lighting the Way, which she began as a freshman in high school, seeks to help the youth of East Africa buy making education accessible. The organization raised $30,000 for scholarships and to aid with sanitation problems.
As an adviser for the Girl Up campaign, she engaged her peers to send letters to Congress fighting against child marriage.
During her sophomore year, Khalif was invited to perform her spoken-word piece in honor of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who survived a Taliban attack to go on and fight for the rights of girls to be educated.
But of all the accolades she’s received, Khalif is most proud of being honored with the U.N. Special Envoy for Global Education’s Youth Courage Award. An distinction recognizes young people who are fighting for universal education. She was one of nine students chosen from around the world.
“That was the highlight of my entire high school career. I was just bewildered.”
So where did Khalif develop her passion for education?
It was her parents, who had to flea from Somali’s civil war in 1992.
“Having parents who fled from civil war changes your entire perspective. That makes you realize the opportunities you have in the United States and use those to its fullest extent.”
In Somalia, Khalif said her maternal grandfather was adamant that his daughters received an education when many girls did not have the same opportunities.
“Because my mom was able to receive this gift of education, I felt I had an obligation to give this gift back.”
In addition to her activism, Khalif spoke of being inspired by W.E.B. DuBois’ The Souls of Black Folks and the poetry of Saul Williams. She uses these mediums as a way to “find a place as a minority in the United States.”
While Khalif’s hard work over the years has afforded her with the luxury of many options, she’s not certain which school she will eventually attend. Right now, she is sure that she wants to continue her activism, her poetry and return to Somalia one day.
“I want to be a part of the dialogue back home. There’s a lot of peace-building happening in Somalia and I want to be a part of that when I get older.”
Khalif’s Spanish teacher Kari Kunze said, “A lot of people say they are going to change the world and they have the best intentions. But Munira is somebody who probably will change the world.”
Congratulations to this young lady! We’re sure this won’t be the last time we hear her name.
Tracee Ellis Ross, Regina King, and other stars on the Black Girls Rock! red carpet talk about the trend of leading Black women on TV. Is this just another fad in the entertainment industry or a positive step toward more diversity and inclusion? See what they had to say.
Black girls rock. And if there is any doubt about that, check out these Black women who stood out from their peers this year with their global accomplishments, making some of the biggest wins of 2014.
Mo’Ne Davis Breaks Records
This summer Mo’Ne Davis grabbed the nation’s attention with her stellar work on the mound which helped her become the first female pitcher to have a shut out game in Little League World Series history. The 13-year-old pitching phenom from Philly landed on the cover of “Sports Illustrated,” becoming the first little league player, male or female, to do so. Soon after capturing hearts across the country, Davis threw the ceremonial first pitch at Game four of the World Series as the San Francisco Giants faced the Kansas City Royals. She was recently honored at the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year gala in Manhattan for showing a lot of young girls out there that sports aren’t just for the boys.
There are several powerful initiatives and organizations such as Black Girls Code, Girls Who Code and Google’s Made With Code working to fill the tech-talent pipeline with qualified women. And now Black Girls Rock! has announced Girls Rock Tech! to bridge the existing gap. Girls Rock Tech! is a part of Black Girls Rock! Queens’ Camp for Leadership and Excellence, which takes place from July 25 to August 9.
The nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting positive and diverse images of women of color in media is also working to close the race, gender and class gaps in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professions by empowering girls to explore the options in STEM, as well as support women pursuing STEM degrees and careers. Although women occupy close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, they hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs; there has been little change throughout the past decade, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Not to mention, overall women of color in tech represent less than three percent of the professionals in the industry. Girls Rock Tech! is designed as an international network and pipeline initiative that develops, supports and connects female innovators in STEM and social change, BGR stated in a press packet.
“As a woman in a male-dominated field, I think it’s important to support women who are minorities in STEM careers while also empowering a new generation of girls to see themselves as STEM leaders,” said Beverly Bond, Black Girls Rock! founder and CEO, in a press statement.
The program was piloted during the Black Girls Rock! Queens camp last year via robotics and coding courses. After seeing measurable results, Bond and team want to foster innovative thinking, tech skills and problem-solving capabilities in the next class of girls. While Black Girls Tech! will begin as part of the summer programming, there are plans to expand it into a year-long offering that’ll include mentorship, internship opportunities, on-line and in-person events and college preparatory and career development.
Based in New York City, Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist who covers technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of “Ain’t I Latina?” an online destination geared toward Afro-Latinas. You can follow her up-to-the-minute musings on Twitter @janelmwrites.
As 2013 comes to a close, we can look back and see a mixed bag of a year for Black women’s representation in the media. A handful of pop culture events tell the tale: the public shaming of Rachel Jeantel during the George Zimmerman trial, the appeal of Olivia Pope, and the mic drop that was Beyonce’s stealth album. Jeantel represented one of the common tropes you see in media when it comes to Black women. As ESSENCE points out, there are often a few stereotypes that are overrepresented in media—negative imagery of Black women is seen twice as often as positive images. These images include Baby Mamas, Angry Black Women, Unhealthy Black Women and Uneducated Sisters. Sound familiar at all? You can find these tropes throughout a lot of our pop culture today. On their own, there is nothing wrong with a character possessing some of these traits. But when it is a constant theme throughout various movies, shows, etc, that is when it becomes a problem.
Read more about black women in media at Essence.com
Last month we told you that #whitegirlsrock became a trending topic on Twitter during the airing of the annual Black Girls Rock! awards show. The shocking trend of racial commentary included comments like, If there were a #whitegirlsrock special on TV, it would be declared #racist. #politicallyincorrect #hypocrisy,” and “That #blackgirlsrock show is so racist. Where is the #whitegirlsrock show? Oh right, NAACP would be all over that.” Just plain ole’ foolery at its finest. Black Girls Rock founder, Beverly Bond, recently addresses the insulting hashtag in a blog post for The Root and well, she pretty much echoes how we’ve been feeling about this craziness all along.
“When I heard about the “#whitegirlsrock” hashtag that trended on Twitter, my immediate reaction was, ‘Well, duh! Of course white girls rock. Are they unaware?’ White women’s beauty, talent, diversity and worldly contributions are affirmed everywhere: on billboards, on television, in magazines and in textbooks,” Beverly began.
Though she admits that she had no real issue with #whitegirlsrock becoming a trending topic, what bothered her was the insulting commentary that came along with it.
“As a humanist, I believe that we all rock. My issue is that the commentary that followed the “#whitegirlsrock” hashtag was not even about affirming dynamic white women. Instead, it was about critiquing or even punishing black women for having the nerve, the audacity and the unmitigated gall to love and affirm ourselves!” she wrote.
Beverly adds that platforms such as Black Girls Rock! forces people to realize that things like white privilege do exist, which of course, causes “anxiety” and results in hurtful social media wars such as #whitegirlsrock.
“I also think the anxiety that people have about Black Girls Rock!-ing reveals the blind spots associated with white privilege, including the inability to acknowledge that the privilege actually exists, a lack of accountability for prejudices and an overwhelming deficit in cultural competency. So whoever is offended by Black Girls Rock!-ing and whoever thinks that black empowerment threatens their own power should confront their own racism.”
“It’s insulting and quite nervy for a social media mob to attack a platform that affirms positive images of black women and girls in an attempt to belittle a movement that uplifts and celebrates our lives and legacies—yet to also remain silent about the plethora of damaging media messages directed toward black women and to blatantly ignore the social issues that black people endure.”
Read Beverly’s full blog post at The Root. Thoughts?
If you’ve ever gone to a PWI (predominately white institution), you know the struggle of trying to have a gathering or event for black folks and having white men and women say, “But it would be racist if we had a white homecoming, right? That’s so hypocritical!” But you would think that in everyday life, if folks want to have black awards shows and event to show love to people who don’t get their just dues in the mainstream media, it wouldn’t be a problem. But alas, with Twitter, there’s always a platform to complain and bash just about everything and make it trend for attention. Such was the case with folks going in on the Black Girls Rock event that aired on Sunday night on BET, with white folks (and even some black folks) deciding to push a #WhiteGirlsRock hashtag that was pure foolery:
And the Tweets went on and on with folks basically saying the same thing: If white women had a show solely praising their accomplishments, black folks would be up in arms. But of course, these Tweets were met with responses from black individuals who reminded everyone that when you’re in the majority, you will always see positive images of yourself (and just more images in general) on television and in the media, so would you really need a White Girls Rock show? Folks are always looking for a reason to pit one group of people against another these days. Writer Dream Hampton, a producer for the event, even decided to share the real:
Soon as white women show up at a runway show and ask ‘Why is this show totally white?’ I’ll pay attention to #whitegirlsrock
And it continued from others:
If you want #WhiteGirlsRock just check out the shows on CBS, NBC, ABC, MTV, FOX NEWS, Lifetime, HBO, Showtime, TNT, USA Networks…
It’s a shame how many black dudes are protesting for a #WhiteGirlsRock platform. Do their capes for their snow bunnies ever come off?
All in all, it’s just a shame that something folks CLEARLY didn’t watch and give time to before making a judgment was getting attacked for celebrating women who do great things and influence young black girls everywhere. And when you have people on Twitter steady trying to bring you down and ask why sistas even deserve an event to show love to one another, it makes such a celebration all the more necessary. Haters.
It’s a reunion!
This past Saturday night, every fabulous black women in the entertainment industry gathered together to celebrate something we all already know, “Black Girls Rock!” On top of our good fortune of just being in the presence of these exceptional ladies at the award ceremony, we also got to chat with a few on the red carpet — including our favorite “Girlfriends.”
Yup, Joan, Maya, Toni, and Lynn were all there; or should we say Tracee Ellis Ross, Golden Brooks, Jill Marie Jones, and Persia White? We had the chance to catch up with each woman and ask them about one of our favorite shows in television history, and we even caught Tracee and Mara Brock Akil, creator of “Girlfriends,” reunite on the carpet. Check out the video below as we chat with the girls about their favorite “Girlfriends” episodes and why the sitcom was the best thing ever in the early 2000s.