All Articles Tagged "black girls rock!"
Olivia Pope And The Depiction Of Multifaceted Womanhood: Why We Love Kerry Washington And Her Honest Portrayals Of Women
I haven’t heard this much criticism of a television character… ever. Kerry Washington’s role in the hit prime time drama Scandal as Olivia Pope, the boss yet internally conflicted “fixer”/mistress to the President of the United States has EVERYONE talking. And when I say “everyone” I do mean everyone. On Thursday nights at 10 pm EST, my Twitter timeline is rockin’ with Scandal hashtags by family, friends, politicians, athletes and actors alike, raving about the twists, the turns, the brilliant writing, the fashion, the flashbacks, the very different funky 70s soundtrack… Every aspect of the show seems to be something of a phenomenon, especially since it’s the first primetime drama with a black female lead role on a major network in years. Some of us see progression in that. Some of us see off-the-charts talent and entertainment.
Still, the show has its vehement critics. Those not unlike CBS, Atlanta reporter Mo Ivory who breaks down Washington’s role as “no different than Joseline from “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” or Kim from “Real Housewives of Atlanta” – she just has more expensive clothes, a higher paying job and tighter security.”
I don’t agree or disagree with Ivory’s thoughts. I’ve been so focused on Washington’s accurate portrayal (no matter how messy) of just a WOMAN in general that I haven’t had the time to bust down a list of the horrible characteristics.
I watch Kerry beast through her performance as Olivia Pope every week and think to myself that I have NEVER seen such a consistent powerhouse performance in primetime, week after week. As Pope, Washington peels back the layers of a very human woman who can clean up anyone’s, EVERYONE’S mistakes and hiccups around her but is just barely holding together the steadily unfolding mess that is her own life. I don’t see a black woman who is a mistress when I watch Olivia Pope. I see a woman in general who has issues just like the rest of the world and is trying to get clarity and peace of mind in the midst of a crap storm of confrontation and seemingly buried secrets. Kerry Washington executes the human-ness of the role flawlessly. That’s what I’m tuned in for.
Is she playing a mistress? Yes. I know, I know. That sets black women back hundreds of years and blah blah blah. I don’t agree with all that simply because for years, blacks have had to fight with screenwriters and directors and producers to allow us to be human beings on screen. Not caricatures. Not trumped up stereotypes. Not ALWAYS Mammys and drivers or harlots and drug dealers. Just everyday, normal human beings, whatever that entails. For this particular role, Kerry Washington unfolds a woman’s struggle with loving someone she cannot wholly have, being strong for everyone else all the time, working almost ‘round the clock, trying to cover past mistakes with present goodwill. Who of us haven’t dealt with at least one of the above?! She plays a human being, people! She shows the multi-faceted womanhood that many of us try to deny by criticizing roles like this or even everyday people like this.
About a month or so ago during her interview with Oprah, Washington drew parallels between Olivia Pope and her character of “Broomhilda,” a slave woman in the deep south spaghetti western Django Unchained, which opened as a box office hit with very mixed reviews. She expressed that her goal as an actress is simply to honor humanity by telling these stories in as real a way as possible. Washington also stated that she felt honored to play both roles because it showed how far we had come as a nation. Her ability to be able to play such a multi-layered character like Olivia Pope essentially was an answer to her character Broomhilda’s prayers that one day that kind of freedom would be possible for a black woman. She talked about the timeline of black acting, citing that in the beginning, everything was stereotypical if you wanted to be a black actor. Then, there was the era of “black perfection” where all roles taken on by black actors had to be pristine, no flaws. Now, we live in an age where we are beginning to be allowed to simply be human. Flaws and all.
That idea struck a chord with me as I reviewed Washington’s body of work from Save The Last Dance to Django. She has always chosen roles that some might say have made black folks “look bad,” yet they offered an honest look into the lives of honest characters. And what is a serious actor if not an honest vessel?
During her acceptance speech at the 2012 Black Girls ROCK! event, Washington said, “I get to honor humanity. We are all valuable human beings and all our stories deserve to be told.”
We, as freethinking human beings need to stop being so quick to judge the black artist. What Kerry Washington and Viola Davis and countless other black actresses are doing is monumental if we change our outlook. We cannot whittle down the idea of black art only to what makes us feel comfortable. Was Viola Davis’s role as a 1960s maid too painful a memory for some of us? Is Olivia’s role as a mistress (no matter how classy and fierce) too telling of many a modern day reality for some of us? I see Washington as a brave soul for pushing through and bringing a truth to television that has long been airbrushed to ease internal tensions. I see Washington as an example of the versatility black women have not been allowed to exhibit for so long. The honesty we have not been able to speak on or to portray without feeling some sort of way. I celebrate her courage to honor humanity even in the face of such opposition. If we’re more fixated on the flaws of the character rather than the honesty those flaws bring to entertainment, perhaps we need to do a bit more soul-searching and a little less judging.
La Truly is a late-blooming Aries whose writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change among young women through her writing. Check out her blog: www.hersoulinc.com and Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.
Calling: Founder of “Black Girls Rock!”
Why we’re saluting her:
How could the woman behind “Black Girls Rock” not rock? Beverly Bond is a renowned DJ and model who became known for more than her spins around the NYC nightclub arena when she founded the movement, “Black Girls Rock!,” in 2006.
Though Bond always had a passion for music, she delayed her entry into the New York club scene because she felt is was too big of a responsibility to keep people dancing and having a good time all night as a DJ. So instead, Bond pursued the word of modeling at the age of 17 and immediately landed contracts with Elite New Faces and Wilhemina.
Bond posed for major brands like Diesel Jeans, Guess, and Nike in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and as the money came rolling in, so did the number of records she owned. When Bond’s regular record player broke, she bought a turntable just to have something to player her vinyl on, but when she actually gave mixing and scratching a try, she told Contemporary Black Biography she found out she was “kinda nice.”
Still running from her calling, Bond decided to pursue acting after her modeling career died down some, but rather than go the Hollywood route she seemed destined for, she finally admitted in 1999 she wanted to be a DJ, and a year later she became known as DJ Beverly Bond.
In just a year, Bond became an A-lister, spinning for Diddy and even Prince, traveling worldwide and making appearances with Musiq Soulchild and Erykah Badu, and landing spots on BET’s Rap City and NBC’s Weekend Vibe. A few years later, she began to not only play music, but also produce it. She also took to producing something else: award shows for Black girls.
Sensing that there were not enough positive Black role models for girls to look up to, Bond began a mentoring program to try to balance the scales. In 2006, that effort formerly became “Black Girls Rock,” and now the network she used to DJ for is broadcasting her award show on their station every year, with the support of star players like Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King. For pursuing her true calling and giving back to Black girls around the world at the same time, we salute Beverly Bond.
Click here to meet all of our salutes.
Women make up only 21 percent of leadership roles at nonprofit organizations with more than $25 million budgets, according to the “Benchmarking Women’s Leadership” study from the Women’s College of the University of Denver and The White House Project.
And minority women, including African Americans, make up an even smaller percentage. Here are some amazing African-American women who are leading cool nonprofit organizations across the country.
Beverly Bond, CEO of Black Girls Rock!
Launched in 2006, Black Girls Rock! is a youth enrichment and empowerment program based in New York that encourages young black women to get involved in music, culture, and the arts. Founder Beverly Bond has grown the organization to include a leadership camp and an annual awards show, which took place for the seventh time in 2012 and aired on BET on November 4.
Tags:black girls rock!, black women, Center for American Progress, charity, College Bound California, girl scouts, green for all, leaders, leadership, Minds Matter, nonprofit organizations, nonprofits, Rebecca Project for Human Rights, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Target Foundation, Young Nonprofit Professionals Network
Let Keysh Explain: Singer Responds To Biracial Backlash Saying ‘I Don’t Not Know What I’m Mixed With’
Keyshia Cole got a whiff of the backlash following her “106&Park” appearance last week when her confessed ambivalence toward participating in Black Girls Rock because she’s biracial didn’t sit too well with audiences. Some wondered if the singer’s words were taken out of context or perhaps the words that came out of her mouth didn’t really convey what she meant, but I’m not sure the explanation the new Mrs. Gibson provided on twitter helps her case much more.
Responding to the backlash, she Tweeted:
#BlackGirlsRock first off I feel ALLGIRLSROCK!! And by the way, I don’t not know what I’m mixed with, nor have I tried to find out/…
I was raised in Oakland. My mother is a black woman HOWEVER I do not know my father. Nor really car to know! Was thankful to be apart of..
#BlackGirlsRock I had to just do research. Didn’t know what the organization was about in the beginning. But uplifting young ladies is…What I’m damn sure about! Don’t get it twisted!People talking about I said I’m not black? Wtf.. People are crazy! They will take your words and do what they want with them! #GetaLife
A few people tweeted back to Keyshia, like one follower asking her why she thinks she’s mixed (you know, if she doesn’t know her father or care to find out). The singer replied, saying:
Lmao!!!! wow! why is this a problem? Im just asking?
I think she’s missing the point. It’s obviously not a problem to be biracial or state it loud and proud but it is interesting to claim to be of mixed race with no evidence to that effect. And further, to have been thinking about letting that assumption of mixed race stop you from participating in an organization celebrating black girls, despite a number of other biracial women proudly hosting and participating in the show. But I guess to each her racially diverse own.
Does Keyshia’s Twitter response clear up anything for you?
I’m just going to have to throw this news out there how it is because I really can’t wrap my head around what was going through Keyshia Cole’s mind during a recent appearance on “106 & Park.” The songstress was asked what it meant for her to be a black girl that rocks (and to participate in the recent annual Black Girls Rock celebration in New York), but her response threw just about every black person off when instead of hitting the audience with the standard, “we need more images of us” type of response, she said:
“I’m Bi-racial but it’s ok…I’m Black, I’m Black…”
“At first I was skeptical about being a part of the Black Girls Rock organization but then when I read on it and I realized how strengthening it is for our black women and women in general – how strengthening it is for us to come together and understand that no matter what, we rock,” she added.
“I just think it’s a beautiful organization and I’m so happy to be a part of it.”
Keysh, what is going on??
For those who even remotely follow Keyshia Cole’s life, we all know who her mama and sister, Frankie and Neffe, are and they damn sure are black. I guess this means her dad, which the singer reportedly never knew, is white? After a little Googling, I found that Keyshia Cole’s dad may have been an Italian man named Sal, but it doesn’t appear there’s any conclusive evidence to that point. And even so….really Keyshia?
I think it’s fine if she wants to point out that she’s bi-racial, but one, where is this coming from, and two, are you not still black by all one drop rule standards? And are you really going to act like the rest of society doesn’t still see you as a black woman and you can now no longer understand the need to celebrate black girls doing good things. C’mon now? I’m glad Keyshia read up on the organization and still decided to participate, but I can’t help but be a little baffled at her response to Bow Wow’s question. We’ll be sure to add her to our next round of celebrities who want you to know they are not just black list.
Check out the clip here. What do you think about what Keyshia said?
To celebrate her new book Profit With Purpose: A Marketer’s Guide to Delivering Purpose-Driven Campaigns to Multicultural Audiences, author and EGAMI Consulting Group founder Teneshia Jackson Warner teamed up with Dinner With Bevy‘s Bevy Smith for a dinner party/awards ceremony/”discotheque” (Smith’s word) at New York’s Beauty & Essex. The soiree was also focused on the cause-related work of the night’s honorees: P&G’s program My Black is Beautiful; Budget Fashionista and founder of digitalundivided (DID), Kathryn Finney; Black Girls Rock! founder Beverly Bond; celebrity stylist and host of ABC World News’ Cause Celeb with Phillip Bloch, Phillip Bloch; Disney’s Dreamers Academy, a program working in partnership with Essence and Steve Harvey to help high school students reach their career goals; and chef/reality TV star Chef Roble.
We’re going to have more from Warner about cause marketing and her book later this week. But the need for good works in the world is strong enough that we wanted to give the awards ceremony its own little shout out.
The 2012 Purpose Awards Dinner (#profitwithpurpose) was meant, according to the evening’s program, to celebrate with “a night of purpose” and “continue to drive the conversation.” The evening highlighted the social responsibility initiatives of the honorees, and the innovative approach with which they’re tackling their businesses, organizations, or passion projects.
When accepting his award, Bloch said, “When someone shines a light, we all shine a little brighter,” speaking to why it’s important for everyone to do what they can and then cheer that work to take it even further.
But before the accolades, one has to get started. In her acceptance speech, Bond said she only wanted to make a cool t-shirt when she started. Today, Black Girls Rock! has a televised awards ceremony that uplifts not just young girls, but women also.
When presenting the award, Warner thanked Bond for answering her calling. “We’re so happy that you said yes,” said Warner.
“We’re all connected and we’re all affected,” said Bond during her acceptance speech.
And if that wasn’t enough, there was good food, good music (Talib Kweli was DJing, with Bond jumping into the booth for a few minutes), and cocktails aplenty. Party with a purpose…
You already know that Madame Noire stays representing at Black Girls Rock! It’s one of our favorite events so you shouldn’t be surprised that we took our time on the pink carpet at this year’s annual gala to schmooze with some of our favorite celebrity sistahs like Salt, Meagan Good, Ciara, Lala Anthony, and Janelle Monae. We asked each of these fabulous women who their Black Girl crushes were as they were growing up. Some of the answers may surprise you. Check it out!
Why Do Black Girls Rock?! Mona Scott-Young, Regina King And Other Celebs Break It Down On The Pink Carpet
The annual “Black Girls Rock” celebration went down this weekend in New York City and of course, Madame Noire had to be there to represent. Our host Kela Walker got to chat it up with a few of our favorite Black Girls Who Rock like Mona Scott-Young, Janelle Monae, LaLa Anthony, Bridget Kelly and others. Check it out!
It’s Black Girls Rock! time again. We know we rock all the time, but we get to show the world just how much we do on November 4 when the annual BET special airs on television. Taping for the show will take place next Saturday, October 13, in the Bronx and Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King are returning as hosts again to honor the following ladies with these awards:
Dionne Warwick: Living Legend honor
Alicia Keys: Rock Star award
Kerry Washington: Star Power award
Essence founder Susan L. Taylor and Somali activist Dr. Hawa Abdi will also be honored. Shout out to DJ Beverly Bond for choosing another amazing group of black women to recognize!
More on Madame Noire!
- Starlets, Unsung: 7 Stories Of Lesser Known Black Women
- There’s Just Something About R. Kelly: Can We Hate The Sin, And Not The Sinner?
- Fear And Other Things: 14 Unhealthy Reasons To Stay In A Relationship
- Forget Bandz! 7 Things That Will REALLY Make Her Dance”
- We Love You Essence, But We’re Going To Need You To Get Some New Cover Subjects
- Catty! Nicki Minaj Cusses Mariah Carey Out On American Idol Set
- Caught Up In College: A Cuffing Season Tale
Black Girls Rock! (BGR) in partnership with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and P&G’s My Black is Beautiful campaign has launched the Imagine a Future Project, a program that, according to BGR founder Beverly Bond, will “empower and touch the lives of one million girls over the course of three years.” Through this program, there will be a national and regional (and perhaps worldwide) push to continue BGR’s philanthropic work with and on behalf of African-American girls.
As you probably know, Black Girls Rock! is the nonprofit organization dedicated to mentoring and uplifting black girls while also tackling issues associated with media depictions of black women and girls. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the organization per se, you likely recognize the name from the BET awards show that airs annually. No doubt, you’ve heard of the United Negro College Fund (“A mind is a terrible thing to waste”), which has been around for more than 40 years. And perhaps you know My Black is Beautiful because you’re friends with it on Facebook. The campaign has 761,000 Facebook likes, a website and tons of exposure through P&G’s promotion. The partnership was facilitated by PR and marketing firms Egami Consulting Group and MSLGroup. If you’re unfamiliar with Egami, click here to watch our She’s The Boss video with CEO Teneshia Jackson Warner.
Bring them together and you have a program that targets and supports black women and girls in their personal lives and public portrayals.
A Partnership Focused on African-American Women and Girls
P&G’s My Black is Beautiful sponsored BGR Queens’ Camp for Leadership and Excellence, a two-week program that took place this month and hosted 50 girls between the ages of 13 and 17. On August 1, those 50 girls made a trip to Egami and MSLGroup, who hosted an event offering a “day in the life” of a multicultural PR agency like Egami.
“There’s an expectation for brands to have a presence in the communities in which they live,” Warner told us. “As we build campaigns, we’ll find synergies to bring in community partners.” Moreover, Egami wants to include staff members, which is why the firm participated in the event. And the young participants learned that the information they collect every day — what’s in, what’s new, what’s exciting — is just the stuff that’s critical to a career in PR.
According to Bond, she was approached with the idea for these sorts of partnered initiatives, something that happens quite often because of the unique, high-profile nature of her organization.
“We make sure people just aren’t supporting the TV show and the glam, but the work we do,” Bond says. Still, she says, she is the “majority owner” of BGR, the beating heart of the organization. “That’s probably the biggest misconception. BET doesn’t support our nonprofit,” she continues. “It’s tough getting people to recognize that we need the help. We’re doing everything that nonprofits should be doing, but it’s still tough.”