On Saturday, March 28th, I had the privilege of representing My Black is Beautiful and Pantene Pro-V at Black Girls Rock. It was a fun and busy day, involving some filming to support MBIB's Imagine a Future initiative to reach and teach 1M black girls that their black is beautiful.
Being apart of a mission that seeks to transform lives by enforcing themes of self-esteem, self-love and sisterhood has been extremely rewarding. I wish I had a resource like My Black is Beautiful or Black Girls Rock! when I was a teenager.
While filming, I was able to meet one of the young women being honored, Kaya Thomas. She was cheery, personable, and amazingly humble despite her many accomplishments. It was thrilling to know that through MBIB and Black Girls Rock, a girl like her would receive national recognition. I couldn't help but daydream about how many girls she would inspire with her presence.
When I arrived at the Black Girls Rock venue, I enjoyed my first red carpet experience and found myself relying on pageant tricks from years ago to make sure I was rocking it. How I positioned my body, how big I chose to smile, and even how I spoke to reporters in concise statements, was all based on mental notes I made for myself on presenting my best self, back when I used to compete. It was a crazy moment, when I reflected and realized that at times when I thought I failed, I was really just being prepared for future moves.
Being alongside the Smith family, Ava Duvernay, Janelle Monae and many other notable women was the most surreal feeling I've had to date. I felt myself beam with excitement, while sighing with ambition. Progress, I thought, but still a very long way to go.
I finally stopped staring at celebs long enough to skip over to my seat where I was stunned to see my mom. I knew she was coming, but the surprise of our seats being together delighted me. I hugged my best friend, my very own Black lady who rocks and prepared for an evening of inspiration.
Hopefully you were able to watch the show. If not, catch one of the re-airs on BET. It is powerful and there were so much wisdom shared.
Here is a list of quotes to be remembered.
On how service can benefit self:
"Being of service helps me balance and maintain."- Erykah Badu
On how value is not tied to recognition:
"The She that is great, whether recognized or not, IS significant...What are YOU doing with God's gift? How are YOU changing the world?" - Nadia Lopez
"You don't have to be famous to be a star!"- Ava Duvernay
On how you shining serves others:
"When Black girls rock, stuff happens!"- Dr. Helene Gayle
On giving yourself options for your life:
"When you read, it's setting yourself up for a greater future" - M.A.D girl Chental Song-Bembry
On why Black women need to penetrate more industries:
"When a Black woman makes a film, it's not an interpretation if Black womanhood it's a reflection of it." - Ava Duvernay
In case you needed some affirmation (like we all do sometimes):
"You are beautiful. you are powerful. you are brilliant. you are FUNNY!"- First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama
On defining your own path:
"Tests. You can shrink from them or rise... I decided to rise"
"I decided to rewrite the tired old scripts that defines too many of us. I wasn't loud. I was a young woman with something important to say."
"No one just glides their way from success to success...Challenges and failures are necessary components of success."
- First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama
On being a boss:
"Make sure to exude that confidence so people don't have a reason to second guess you."
"Women can shine in business by making sure they put out who they are in their product."
- M.A.D. Girl Gabrielle Jordan
On glass ceilings:
"I love getting into things that people say Black women cant do" - Jada Pinkett Smith
"If you can be Black and live in this world, you can be ANYTHING"- Cicely Tyson
"You want people to treat you like a queen? You gotta act like one." - Jada Pinkett Smith
"The moment anyone tries to demean or degrade you in any way, you have to know how great you are. No one is gonna try to put you down if you are not a threat to them."- Cicely Tyson
A simple life rule:
"Respect yourself and the world will respect you."- Cicely Tyson