*The 2013 edition of the always amazing “Black Girls Rock!” — which was taped at the cavernous New Jersey Performing Arts Center in downtown Newark, New Jersey Sunday, November 3, 2013 at 7pm — was watched by millions of viewers and fans who anxiously look forward to the show. The venerable show aired on BET’s international network in the UK and Africa, reaching more than 17 million households in 50+ countries.
Once again, the show’s CEO, Founder, Creator and Executive Producer, Beverly Bond, put on an extravaganza worth waiting for. For the third year in a row, Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King returned as emcees of the annual awards show. The joyous evening was filled with motivating celebrants and remarkable performers.
Celebrant Queen Latifah (rock star award) received much love from her hometown audience. As she accepted her award, she reminded the women in the audience that it is possible to turn dreams into reality. “I’m happy it’s happening in Newark,” she said. “I was born here, and I always try to come home, to let everyone know in Newark, Irvington, East Orange, Jersey City, that we can dream, and we can make those dreams reality.”
President and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, celebrant Marian Wright Edelman(social humanitarian award), shared the stage with Head Start alum and fellow honoree Ameena Matthews (community activist award). Pop princess Mariah Carey presented her godmother Patti LaBelle with a living legend award. LaBelle’s awesome vocal range and dynamic showmanship brought the crowd to their feet as she performed “You Are My Friend,” with the American Ballet Theatre’s sensational soloist Misty Copeland.
The ageless beauties from the cast of “Girlfriends,” Jill Marie Jones, Golden Brooks, Persia White and Tracee Ellis Ross, reunited to pay tribute to show creator and Shot Caller Award recipient Mara Brock Akil. Tennis trailblazer and entrepreneur Venus Williams (star power award celebrated by Chevy) received her award from Skylar Diggins and past honoree Keke Palmer presented ground-breaking ballet dancer Misty Copeland with this year’s Young, Gifted & Black Award. Each celebrant took to the stage and delivered spirited acceptance speeches that affirmed the importance of the “Black Girls Rock!” movement.
Other highlights of the inspirational evening included words of encouragement from Bond who also explained the mission of the organization. Bond “encouraged everyone to invest time, talent and resources in their respective community.” To that end, Tatyana Ali introduced “Making a Difference” a.k.a. “M.A.D. GIRLS” — Brooklyn Wright, Mary Pat Hector, Ty-Licia Hooker– who served as a reminder that there is not an age requirement for community action and social responsibility.
Other amazing feats included electrifying performances by Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Rowland, Janelle Monae,Ledisi, Sevyn Streeter, Eve, Misty Copeland, Amber Riley and Alice Smith backed by the “Black Girls Rock!” All-Star Band led by Kim Burse.
Official sponsors of “Black Girls Rock!” 2013 include Procter & Gamble, COVERGIRL and Chevrolet. For updates on more information on “Black Girls Rock!” visit the official page at http://www.BET.com/blackgirlsrock. The televised special, “Black Girls Rock!” is a BET Networks and B.G.R. Enterprises Inc. production. The executive producers of “Black Girls Rock!” are Beverly Bond; Stephen Hill, president music programming and specials, BET Networks; and Connie Orlando, vice president, original programming, BET Networks. (Photo by Kyle J. Cassett)
About BLACK GIRLS ROCK!
Founded by celebrity DJ and Philanthropist, Beverly Bond, BLACK GIRLS ROCK! is dedicated to promoting positive images of women of color in mass media. BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Inc., is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, that has been dedicated to the healthy development of young women and girls since 2006. BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Inc. seeks to build the self-esteem and self-worth of young women of color by changing their outlook on life, broadening their horizons and helping them to empower themselves. For additional information on BLACK GIRLS ROCK!, visit http://www.blackgirlsrock.org
About BET Networks
BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), is the nation’s leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions: BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; CENTRIC, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the 25- to 54-year-old African-American audience; BET Digital Networks – BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment including DVDs and video-on-demand; BET Event Productions, a full-scale event management and production company with festivals and live events spanning the globe; BET operates in the United Kingdom and oversees the extension of BET network programming for global distribution.
About New Jersey Performing Arts Center
New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is among the largest performing arts centers in the United States. It is the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey — where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day. As New Jersey’s Town Square, NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the State’s and the world’s best artists, while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city. Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted over seven million visitors (including more than one million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents. Visit http://www.njpac.org or call 1-888-GO-NJPAC for more information.
*Every year, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) host a three part series entitled ASCAP Presents… Women Behind the Music that is designed to encourage and “recognize women in the music community, highlighting not only women songwriters and artists but also women working in all facets of the business, including managers, attorneys, label executives and music publishers.”
Each of the three events features exemplary honorees and a moderator. The honorees are presented with a special memento in recognition of their contributions to music. “We’ve celebrated some truly incredible and deserving women since our inaugural Women Behind the Music event four years ago, and this year is no different,” said ASCAP Vice President of Membership, Rhythm & Soul Nicole George-Middleton. “Each of our honorees this year has contributed immensely across all areas of the music business, and their hard work and dedication is truly inspiring.”
This year marked the 5th annual ASCAP Presents…Women Behind the Music series and kicked off in Los Angeles on Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at Bardot on Vine Street in Hollywood, CA and honored Grammy Award-winning recording artist Melanie Fiona, recording artist and actress LeToya Luckett, songwriter Andrea Martin and Title 9 Productions Founder and CEO Carmen Murray. The evening was moderated by Billboard Senior Editor Gail Mitchell, and featured special performances by honorees Melanie Fiona and Andrea Martin. Malibu Red, New Nasty and Cupcake Stiletto sponsored the event.
The second series took place on Wednesday, October 23 in New York at the trendy nightclub Lexicon on East 54th Street, New York City and was sponsored by Malibu Red, The New Nasty, Uber Cars, Miss Jessie and Sister 2 Sister Magazine. Honorees included singer-songwriter Stacy Barthe, MBK Entertainment Vice President & Managing Partner Jeanine McLean and Phase Too Management Inc. CEO Tina Davis. The evening was moderated by George-Middleton, with special performances by Atlantic recording artists K. Michelle and Sevyn Streeter. The event was sponsored by Malibu Red and New Nasty.
The third and final series took place on Tuesday, October 29 at Halo on West Peachtree St. in Atlanta, GA and recognized three influential and accomplished women in the music business: singer/songwriter and television personality Kandi Burruss, COO/Director of Marketing of Disturbing Tha Peace Records Aiyisha Obafemi, and entertainment lawyer Denise Brown Henderson. The evening was hosted by V103 radio personality Egypt Sherrod and featured performances by Tasha Cobbs and Netta Brielle. Malibu Red, The New Nasty, Uber Cars, Sister 2 Sister Magazine, Miss Jessie’s, Colour U Cosmetics and Cake Cafe Atlanta served as sponsors. (Photo Credit: Picture Group)
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of all genres of music. ASCAP’s mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world’s best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business – from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With over 470,000 members representing more than 8.5 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. For additional information, visit www.ascap.com.
New York based award-winning journalist Audrey J. Bernard covers entertainment, fashion & beauty, film, lifestyles and travel for the Electronic Urban Report and other outlets. Contact her via: [email protected]