Celebration - Let's talk about empowerment. When you know who you are, there's no need for validation. When you know what you stand for. You can't be denied. Society will continue to try to divide, the have versus the have nots, the gifted versus the not so gifted. Shows like Black Girls Rock sends the right message to young girls, young ladies and adult females of all races. Find your dream, your goal and Champion your walk.
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) Pop star Rihanna Gladys Knight and TV mogul Shonda Rhimes were among the honorees at this year's Black Girls Rock! event, hosted by Tracey Ellis Ross.Hillary Clinton made an appearance and told the audience "my life has been changed by strong black women leaders."
The Friday night event was taped at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. The special will air on BET tomorrow night.
"There are still a lot of barriers holding back African Americans and black women in particular, so a gathering like this filled with so many powerful, strong women is a rebuke to every single one of those barriers," Clinton said. Clinton spoke before introducing Beverly Bond, who founded Black Girls Rock! in 2006.
One of the evening highlights for me, was when Rihanna, the final honoree of the night, addressed the crowd, saying "Thank you so much for celebrating us in a world that doesn't celebrate us enough," she said onstage.
"The minute you learn to love yourself you will not want to be anybody else," the Grammy-winning singer and fashion trendsetter added. "Role model is not the title they like to give me ... (but) I think I can inspire a lot of young women to be themselves and that is half the battle."
The Barbados-born singer also thanked her mother and grandmother for being strong black women and excellent role models.
"Hopefully one day I'll be raising my own little black girl who rocks,".
Grammy-winning R&B singer Monica brought her daughter onstage at the end of her performance. Other performers include Brandy, Andra Day, Jazmine Sullivan, Marsha Ambrosius, Corinne Bailey Rae and Imani Uzuri.
Gladys Knight, who performed a medley of her hits as the audience stood up and danced, was also honored.
"It is the best award, the greatest trophy that I've ever received," she said. "More than a Grammy. More than so many other awards that I've gotten that I appreciate."
Other honorees included Black Lives Matter founders Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi; "The Hunger Games" actress Amandla Stenberg, who has received praise for being vocal about cultural appropriation; and Danai Gurira, the "Walking Dead" actress and playwright behind Broadway's "Eclipse," starring Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o, who also attended Black Girls Rock!
Debbie Allen, Kelly Rowland, Cissy Houston, Erykah Badu, Tatyana Ali and Teyonah Parris also attended.