Black Girls Rock teamed up with BET for the second year in a row to televise one of the most inspirational awards shows. Hosted by Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King again this year (who had less costume changes, but the same sisterhood and energy!), Black Girls Rock honored Dionne Warwick, Alicia Keys, Kerry Washington, Janelle Monae, Susan L. Taylor and Somali activist Dr. Hawa Abdi.
One of the most moving moments of the awards was Janelle Monae‘s acceptance speech. Honored for maintaining her individuality along with creating her own sound, Janelle finally explained why she continues to wear her black and white get up. Calling it a “uniform,” Janelle explained that each of her parents were workers — her father a “trash man” and her mother a “proud janitor” and even her step-father was a “postal worker” — so she wears her black and white as a reminder of her parents’ sacrifices. Moving! Janelle ended her acceptance by telling the audience, which included girls of all ages to “Embrace your uniqueness even if it makes others uncomfortable.”
In Kerry Washington’s acceptance speech, she reminded the crowd that “I love my job because I get to honor humanity,” while Susan L. Taylor who was honored for starting a nationwide mentorship program to “Give birth to the genius that’s within us.”
The evening included performances by Alicia Keys, who sung “Girl On Fire,” Brandy who performed her latest single “Wildest Dreams,” and Ciara who performed a medley of old hits along with her friend Missy. Keyshia Cole also took the stage, SWV bought 90s R&B back and India Aire performed two songs, including one dedicated to Robin Roberts (“I Am Not My Hair).
And the ladies especially enjoyed a performance by Anthony Hamilton, Eric Benet and Luke James.
After the show was the after party at The Carlton Hotel in Manhattan. The Fab Empire was in the place to be as Janelle Monae ate dinner inside the VIP area while Luke James and singer Alice Smith giggled in the corner. BET’s CEO Debra Lee stayed close to the deejay booth as Black Girls Rock founder DJ Beverly Bond took to the wheels followed by DJ D Nice and Idris Elba.
The party lasted way past 3 AM with a surprise performance by Anthony Hamilton late into the evening. Somewhere in VIP Meghan Good cozied up to her husband and even Russell Simmons came out to chill.