ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Black Girls Rock organization celebrates in Newark

BY Lyndsay Christian, Producer and Correspondent |

Black Girls Rock is an organization and movement committed to empowering women through media. It’s also focused on enriching girls through leadership education and development programs.

“We need to give them the kind of support that will help them to know that they are special and they’re important and they can do whatever they want to do and reach for the moon,” said Congresswoman Maxine Waters.

Waters is an advocate of the organization and its mission. That’s why she was lauded with the Social Humanitarian Award at the 2017 Black Girls Rock ceremony.

“Thank God we have a woman like Maxine Waters who fights for us everyday,” said the show’s host, actress Taraji P. Henson.

From actresses to singers, politicians to community activists, a lot of amazing women will be honored for their contributions to society. NJTV News talked to a few of them on the red carpet before the ceremony.

“I’m fulfilling my purpose, I’m walking in my purpose and I’m doing what it is that I love, and nothing rocks more than that,” said actress and creator, Issa Rae.

“I rock because I put in the hard work,” said presenter and “Girls Trip” actress, Tiffany Haddish.

“I’m confident and I’m not afraid to be me.” said Henson.

The message of empowerment is woven throughout a star-studded line-up of memorable performances by SZA, India Arie, Tyrese Gibson and Anthony Hamilton.

ABC’a “Black-ish” star, Yara Shahidi, is among the honorees who delivers a powerful acceptance speech.

“Black Girls Rock demands that we take an oath and to everybody around us to embrace our power and our glory in its fullness,” said Shahidi.

The ceremony also includes rousing honors and tributes to living legends, including Roberta Flack.

“She is a pure talent, whose songs are so beautiful and tender,” said R&B crooner Maxwell.

The celebration of black women taped at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) for the fourth year in a row. Appropriately, in the heart of Newark as the city was recently named to the top 10 list for arts and culture in the country.

“BET made a really smart decision in coming to what is the most diverse performing arts center in the country in terms of its audience and programming for a show that celebrates empowerment,” said NJPAC President/CEO John Schreiber.

The show transcends all ages, cultures and races, with one woman on the forefront helping lead the movement.

“I like Maxine Waters. She’s a great role model for everybody, not just young women, because she speaks truth to power,” said Schreiber.

“We need to uplift everybody!” Waters said.

It’s a message Water says our country needs given its current climate. And, what a better way to shine a positive light on positive women, she says than through Black Girls Rock.

“I’m reclaiming my time!” Waters exclaimed.

Waters is reclaiming her time in Newark and all over the country.