Founder and executive director of BLACK GIRLS ROCK! DJ Beverly Bond founded the youth organization in 2006. Bond’s goal was to create a safe place for young girls to grow and blossom into something great with the help of mentors.
Her organization grew quickly over a decade to include the annual BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Awards to celebrate the accomplishments of Black women who have made great contributions in their respective careers and stand as role models in the community. In 2010, the organization teamed up with BET to produce a televised show to showcase the efforts of Black women and women of color everywhere. The most recent show featured FLOTUS Michelle Obama and was hosted by actresses Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King.
In recent news, Makiyah-Jae, an eight-year-old elementary school student, was forced to change a shirt that read “Black Girls Rock” after the principal of Popps Ferry Elementary in Biloxi, Mississippi thought the shirt was offensive. When First Lady Obama headlined this year’s event she faced similar backlash because conservatives found it offensive and exclusive. The truth is that Black women need an organization like BLACK GIRLS ROCK! because this society has historically told Black girls they didn’t. No one is stopping this movement of positivity. Earlier this week, the school system offered an apology stating:
“We probably overreached in this situation, but we make many decisions every day,” school district superintendent Arthur McMillan told WLOX.
At the 2015 BETX AFRICA “Genius Talks” hosted on December 12-13 at South Africa’s Ticketpro Dome, Bond announced that she and media mogul Khanyi Dhlomo plans on bringing the organization to the African continent.
“The purpose of the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! AFRICA platform is to recognize, support, and celebrate the diversity and dynamism of Black women in AFRICA and the African Diaspora,” says Bond. “BLACK GIRLS ROCK! AFRICA will tap into our growing international market by illuminating the vibrant cultures and valiant narratives of our African sisters who are (s)heroes and trailblazers.”
The plan is to introduce a digital, media, and lifestyle platform that will continue to elevate Black women and girls in AFRICA and beyond. Bond is also working with several community-based organizations to launch a variety of outreach initiatives on the continent and is also collaborating with VIMN Africa/BET AFRICA to develop a Pan-African BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Awards show that will also commemorate the ten-year anniversary of BLACK GIRLS ROCK! next year.