Rihanna, Shonda Rhimes, Gladys Knight Honored at BET’s Black Girls Rock!

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Rihanna seen at 2016 Black Girls Rock! at New Jersey Performing Arts Center on Friday, April, 1, 2016 in Newark, NJ. (Photo by Michael Zorn/Invision/AP)
Rihanna seen at 2016 Black Girls Rock! at New Jersey Performing Arts Center on Friday, April, 1, 2016 in Newark, NJ. (Photo by Michael Zorn/Invision/AP)

“Black Girls Rock” honored a slew of prominent African-American women Friday night. The event,  hosted by “black-ish” star Tracee Ellis Ross, was taped in Newark at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and will air on BET Tuesday at 8 p.m.

Ross opened the show with a number that channeled many Black girls who rock – Rihanna, Beyonce, Queen Latifah, Chaka Khan, Janet Jackson and her mother, Diana Ross, were muses for the high-energy number.

Hillary Clinton – who has been gaining much support from Black women voters – made an appearance at the show, stating that Black women are “change makers and pathmakers and ground-shakers.”

“There are still a lot of barriers holding back African-Americans and Black women in particular, so a gathering like this filled with so many powerful, strong women is a rebuke to every single one of those barriers,” Clinton said. “All of our kids, no matter what ZIP code they live in, deserve a good teacher and a good school, a safe community and clean water to drink,” said the Democratic presidential candidate, referring to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

Clinton’s appearance drew skeptical reactions from Twitter.

Black Girls Rock! founder Beverly Bond followed Clinton in the show, which marked the 10th anniversary of the event.

Shonda Rhimes, creator of the hit ABC shows “Scandal” and “How To Get Away With Murder,” brought her daughter Harper to the ceremony, “because she and you are the ones who count, the ones who matter,” said Rhimes.

Performers included Monica, Brandy, Jazmine Sullivan, Marsha Ambrosius, Andra Day, Corinne Bailey Rae, Lauryn Hill and Imani Uzuri, the Associated Press reports.

Gladys Knight, who also performed, was honored with the Living Legend Award, according to ABC News Radio.

Rihanna received the Rock Star Award. She thanked the program for “celebrating us in a world that doesn’t celebrate us enough,” and added, “Role model is not the title they like to give me…but I think I can inspire a lot of young women to be themselves, and that is half the battle,” Rap-Up reports.

The show featured appearances by actresses Eva Marcille from BET’s “About the Business;” “black-ish” star Yara Shahidi; Skai Jackson from Disney’s “Jesse;” and Vicky Jeudy from “Orange Is the New Black,” according to BET’s website.

Essence
Essence

Tatyana Ali also made an appearance, debuting her baby bump for the first time. The  37-year-old actress presented Amandla Stenberg with the Young, Gifted and Black award wearing a body-hugging blue gown, according to Essence.

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