On Wednesday, 200 girls in Harlem were treated like divas. The girls, ages 8-16, were received manicures, runway walk tutorials, makeovers and much more in an attempt to inspire them to feel beautiful, confident and informed.
The day-long event was the brainchild of Angela Simmons and her partner Kerri Berson Levine. The two, who had been friends for a while, had spoken about hosting an event for young girls often. Three years ago, through a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club, they launched what is now GIRLTALK #takeover.
In addition to the beauty component, there were fitness activities hosted by Pretty Girls Sweat, a yoga class. And in a classroom on the premises, health professionals spoke to the teenagers about healthy romantic relationships, reproductive health and puberty.
During this session, Simmons popped in to discuss the pressure many girls feel to engage in sex, perhaps prematurely.
She shared that she’s a virgin, waiting to marriage to have sex.
I had a chance to chat with Simmons and she explained that she felt it was important to share that story.
“I feel like in this day and age with social media, that decision is often made for them. So I want them to be able to make their own decision on what they want to do and to know that if they make the decision, they’re not an alien, they’re not by themselves.”
In addition to these lessons, the girls had a few surprises that day when 14-year-old Little leaguer and Espy Award winner Mo’Ne Davis showed up to give a slew of hugs, sign autographs and take pictures.
Later, artists Ne-Yo, Justine Skye and Simmons’ younger brother Diggy came through to meet the girls.
This won’t be the last time you hear of GIRLTALK #takeover as there are plans to take the program to other cities in the nation.
Check out some pictures from the fun and festive day below.