Black Girls Rock 2017 logoSZA opened Black Girls Rocks! 2017 performing Normal Girl. Celebrating Black women around the world and hosted by Taraji P. Henson, she said, “We are here to celebrated Black women and girls … from head to toe.” Taraji looked fierce and delivered a moving monologue, but began by making jokes about her hair.

“I will be the first to tell you I take hair very seriously, OK,” as she showed pictures of interesting hair styles choices she made in her youth. She continued, “We are celebrating the fearless women who say the sky is not the limited it’s only the view.”

Black Girls Rock! 2017 was taped on Saturday, August 5, 2017 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s Prudential Hall in Newark, NJ., and the stars on the red carpet where ready for an exciting night.

Black Girls Rock! 2017 Red Carpet, Associated Press, subscribe.

Taraji introduced Anthony Anderson who is no stranger to awards shows. He honored Yara Shahidi who plays Zoey Hohsnon on his show hit show black-ish.

Anthony called her a, “Fearless voice of her generation” as she received the Young Gifted and Black Award. She came to the stage to a standing ovation as she hugged Anthony. “I love this room.” “I love this room because within this room we can be ourselves.” The half Iranian and half Black actress discussed the politics of today and the messages women hear. She ended with thank you’s to Black Girls Rock! creator Beverly Bond and BET head Debra Lee. She thanked her mother and family members, plus Anthony Anderson and black-ish.

Haben Girma MA.D. Girls was the next honoree. She deals with disabilities, but she rocks! She is the first deaf and blind student to graduate from Harvard Law School. Incredible!

“My name is Haben Girma and I’m a Black girl who rocks!”

The next honoree of Black Girls Rock! 2017 was Suzanne Shank. She received the Shot Caller Award.
She is an engineer, worked with nuclear submarines and now works on Wall Street. Today, her Wall Street firm is solely owned by women and minorities.

Suzanne Shank accepted the Shot Caller Award and thanked Beverly Bond, Debra Lee, BET and everyone there for the honor.

She said Black women were told that they had no place in business. She also said what others thought was her disadvantage (being a Black women) was actually her advantage.

And she ended her speech by saying, “And I look forward to seeing all of you rock CEO and board rooms in the future.”

Jay Ellis from Insecure was the first male presenter of the evening. He came to honor Issa Rae, his co-star who is also known for her wildly successful YouTube series called Awkward Black Girl.

She received the Star Power Award. “Oh Wow!” “This is such an honor. Thank you so much!”

She joked through her acceptance speech and had the audience laughing all the way through to a standing ovation.

Taraji introduced Tiffany Haddish next, star of Girls Trip. She came to honor American sabre fencer Ibtihaj Muhammadand, member of the United States Olympic Team.

“My name is Ibtihaj Muhammad and I’m a Black Girl who Rocks!”

Ne-Yo was the next presenter. He introduced the founders of the Black and Missing Foundation Inc., Derrica and Natalie Wilson. “For doing the work that others seem to ignore,” Ne-Yo called the women to the stage to receive their honor. Her message and their mission, “We will never stop looking for you.”

“We all have a responsibility to help us find us.” We thank you so much for this honor. God bless.”

Gospel singer Tashia Cobbs Leonard took over with her performance of I’m getting Ready. The audience stood all the way through.

Maxwell was the next presenter and he had the honor of honoring the incredible Roberta Flack. When he called her name the look on her face in the audience was one of shock. She received the Living Legend Award. Who else is more deserving than Roberta Flack? She is truly a living legend.

“You’re music means so much to so many.” Maxwell kneeled down on the stage and handed the award to Roberta who was in a wheel chair.

She read her acceptance speech and mentioned all the things that people would say to her to try to make her think she wasn’t good enough.

She ended by saying, “You are beautiful. There are so many beautiful Black women in the audience tonight. You are more than enough and you are our future. I believe in you.”

India.Arie followed with a performance of First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.

Tyrese and India.Arie also sang Where Is The Love. It made for a very beautiful tribute to Roberta Flack.

Beverly Bond came to the stage and gave context to Black Girls Rock! and to honor Solange Knowles. She received the Rock Star Award.

Beverly said, “For the fierce way you walk through this world … you absolute rock!”

Solange said, “This is the ultimate honor coming from you Beverly and the platform you built for us.”

She said she is still searching and there are days that she feels very insecure, and felt she couldn’t succeed, but told the audience, “You can do it.”

She thanked her husband and son, and all of the Black women out there … Black Girls Rock!

The next performer was Anthony Hamilton who sang, Best Of Me. So good. He brought the audience to their feet.

Taraji plugged her new movie Proud Mary. Take a look.

Proud Mary Official Trailer posted by Zero Media, subscribe.

Jussie Smollet and his brother joined forces to honor Maxine Waters. Maxine Waters is the outspoken U.S. Representative for California’s 43rd congressional district. She was also involved with getting rid of Apartheid in South Africa. Representative Waters received the Social Humanitarian Award.

Maxine took the stage with energy as Jussie said, “Auntie Maxine please accept the the Black Girls Rock! Social Humanitarian Award.”

“Don’t take a back seat to anybody,” she said.

She immediately spoke out against the Alt-right and said, “I’m simply a strong Black woman.” “If you come for me, I’m coming for you.” And to the current administration she said, “We will resist you.”

She ended with her mantra, “Reclaiming my time. I love you all thank you!”

Beverly Bond and Tariji ended show being D.J.’s, and Tariji closed with, “Go out there and continue to rock!”

Tanya Hart

Follow Me on Twitter @TanyaHollywood

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