Celebrants and Honorees Include Angela Davis, Shirley Caesar,Taraji P. Henson, Laurel J. Richie, Imani Walker, Malika Saada Saar and Tatyana Ali
Hosted by Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King,"BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ 2011" Included Performances and Appearances by Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, LaLa Anthony, Melanie Fiona, Tichina Arnold, Shirley Caesar, Estelle, Elle Varner, Alek Wek, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Mary Mary and More
On Saturday, October 15, 2011, "BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ 2011" celebrated its second year of honoring Black women in business, politics, entertainment, sports and community service on BET Networks. Co-hosted by actresses Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King, "BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ 2011" honored some of the most exceptional women of color in their respective industries including: Angela Davis, Shirley Caesar, Taraji P. Henson, Laurel J. Richie, Imani Walker, Malika Saada Saar, and Tatyana Ali. Memorable performances and appearances were made by Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Melanie Fiona, Mary Mary, Elle Varner, Shirley Caesar, Tichina Arnold, and more. The network premiere will be televised exclusively on BET, Sunday, November 6th at 8 p.m.
Backed by an all-female house band, led by Kim Burse, Erykah Badu opened the show with a beat-boxing, percussive version of her hit "Apple Tree." The beautiful co-hosts, Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King, then walked fashionably onto the stage in sequin outfits to introduce the first presenter of the evening, LaLa Anthony. The first award of the night was presented to Academy Award nominee Taraji P. Henson. When accepting her 2011 Star Power Award, Henson delivered a tearful, yet poignant message to black women: "Support each other. We MUST be there for one another and not bring each other down."
The Shot Caller Award was presented to the President of the WNBA, Laurel J. Richie. Her acceptance speech motivated the audience by stating, "I am here representing 132 strong women in the WNBA. I am proud and honored to be recognized as a Black Girl who ROCKS!"
The amazing musical performances continued with Melanie Fiona hitting the stage with her new single, "This Time," and Elle Varner singing her melodic new single, "Only Wanna Give It To You."
Throughout the evening, Black Girls Rock! saluted girls who are making an impact in their communities despite their youthful age: Leanna Archer, Mari Malek and Dyci Manns. These phenomenal young women are M.A.D: Girls who are Making A Difference.
In a strikingly moving video tribute to the 2011 recipient of the Icon Award, the audience was transported back in time, alongside Angela Davis, to witness and relive the incredible political and monumental moments of her life that affected and reshaped the fabric of American culture. Davis' speech was motivating and reminded everyone to "never sit back and watch. Be a part of the movement. Stand Up."
As part of the tribute to the accomplishments and contributions of Angela Davis, Jill Scott took to the stage for a heart-stopping combination of a spoken word performance of "Womanifesto" and then brought down the house with her infectious hit song, "Hate on Me."
Later, Estelle graced the stage with her soulful and heart-warming song, "Thank You." The message of the song, "Thank you…for making me a Woman," was the constant theme throughout the evening.
Tatyana Ali was awarded the Young, Gifted and Black Award. As the youngest celebrant of the evening, her outreach to the community and for young people has been significant. She considers herself an education advocate. "Education is of the utmost importance to me and my family," says Ali.
Supermodel Alek Wek introduced two amazing women who have been in the forefront of the women's rights movement, co-founders of The Rebecca Project for Human Rights, Imani Walker and Malika Saada Saar, both recipients of the Trailblazer Award.
Mary Mary sang an uplifting version of Sounds of Blackness' "Optimistic" and was joined on stage by celebrant Shirley Caesar. Caesar sang "You Can Make It," that moved the audience in praise and worship. CeCe Winans surprised Caesar when she walked onto the stage to present her with the Living Legend Award.
Founder, CEO and Executive Producer of BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™, Beverly Bond, took to the stage to share her foundation's mission and talk about the progression of the movement since its inception and humbly stated, "I am proud that BLACK GIRLS ROCK! is now at the forefront of a movement INSPIRING ALL women of color to take charge of our images, our dignity and our impact on the world."
Closing out the inspirational evening, was Grammy Award-winning singer Mary J. Blige, who wowed the audience with her performances of fan-favorites "My Life" and "Just Fine."
The star-studded affair also included memorable performances and tributes as well as entertaining and inspiring video messages from other black women that rock including actresses Nia Long and KeKe Palmer; singers Anita Baker, Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight; and television writer and producer Mara Brock Akil (Creator of "The Game" and "Girlfriends"). In addition, one of the most touching video tributes was that of Ruby Bridges, who integrated the New Orleans school system in 1960 at the tender age of 6.
The televised special, "BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ 2011" is a BET Networks and B.G.R. Enterprises Inc. production. BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ Founder and CEO, Beverly Bond executive produces the telecast along with Stephen Hill, President, Music Programming and Specials, BET Networks and Connie Orlando, Eugene Caldwell, Salli Frattini, BET Networks.
*All times ET/PT
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