When first lady Michelle Obama spoke onstage alongside the M.A.D. Girls; Kaya Thomas, Chental-Soing Bembry and Gabrielle Jordan, it was apparent the young girls were elated. After all, they graced the white carpet, had their pictures taken by the press, were in the midst of celebs like Ciara, Willow Smith, Erykah Badu, Regina King and Jill Scott, and then had the opportunity to stand on the stage alongside Michelle Obama. It just doesn’t get any better than that.
When Beverly Bond created the concept of Black Girls Rock, she knew she wanted to highlight the lives of those M.A.D. (Making a Difference) in this world. Especially the young girls who truly are our future. Every young child in the audience and the ladies in line to enter the arena were all proud #BlackGirls (who) Rock #BlackgirlsRock. We lived it this weekend; we tweeted and posted to Facebook the hashtags #BlackgirlsRock. How exciting and flattering must it have been for Bond when the first lady actually hit the stage chanting #BlackGirlsRock as she got the loudest ovation of the entire night!
Wearing a form-fitting white dress, Michelle Obama sat next to Cicely Tyson and Debra Lee in awe at the amazing show that was coming to fruition for the 5th year in a row. Obama, who recently completed a trip to Japan and Cambodia as part of her worldwide push for better educational opportunities for girls, paid sincere homage to the young honorees for excelling in their studies.
I’m not sure who was more excited, Michelle Obama delivering her speech or the M.A.D. girls/award recipients standing there basking in the presence of the 1st lady, hanging on to her powerful, strengthening words.
“No matter who you are, no matter where you come from, you are beautiful,” Obama told the crowd, which included many young Black girls.
“I am so proud of you. My husband, your president, is so proud of you. We have so much hope and dreams for you.
“I know there are voices that you are not good enough,” she said, acknowledging that she often lacked self-confidence growing up despite encouraging parents.
“Each of those doubts was like a test,” she said, “that I [would] either shrink away from or rise to meet. And I decided to rise.
There is nothing more important than being serious about your education,” the Ivy League-educated Obama said. “That’s why I am able to stand here tonight. … I want every one of our Black girls do to the same, and our black boys.”
Black Girls Rock! is a nonprofit organization designed to uplift young black girls, a group that often has difficulty finding positive and reaffirming images of themselves in the world. It was a beautiful thing to see the smiling faces of the young girls who were able to stand among greatness and women of high achievements in the entertainment industry. What was most impressive of the evening is not only was the concept Black Girls Rock! founded by a Black woman; another Black woman, the executive producer/SVP of special events, news and media for BET, Connie Orlando, had the privilege of serving as executive producer on the show and was able to bring this dream of Bond’s to life.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Julio Cortez