Thoughts from a Black Man at Black Girls Rock
Black women are the most beautiful people on earth.
I mean I know this because of my mother, but in case you haven’t noticed they just are.
And yes… Rihanna was there, yes I saw her, and yes she is gorgeous. But so were hundreds of other as equally beautiful Black Women there. Let's get rid of this typecast of beauty for Black Women. These are beautiful Black Women of all shades and sizes that we should see way more of in media, television, business, politics, and advertising!
Hillary = Master Pander, but I respect it.
Her willingness to speak exclusively to one audience may be perceived as a little untrustworthy, but it still matters. Whether she truly means it or not, it is critical for our political figures to communicate what we should all know but struggle to hear, black girls do rock! While there may be a lack of authenticity, symbolism still makes a difference. Having the presence of our presumed President (I am not a supporter btw) at these events says something to our underserved communities.
Shonda Rhimes is a whole new beautiful inside and just as much out.
It was a honor to be in the room with such an amazingly talented and humble woman who has literally witnessed manifest destiny. That's pretty much it... and oh it was pretty cool getting to escort her on and off the stage as well.
Guess what? Black excellence isn’t just a Millennial phenomenon.
Out of all the icons, like Gladys, in the building I was most inspired by the so very young M.A.D. girls being celebrated by Coca-Cola.
I understand we celebrate the Rihanna’s because they're awesome and duh they bring the ratings, but these young M.A.D. girls were amazing! A few seats away from one, they were all under the age of say 16 and had me feeling like wait, "what am I doing with my life?”
One girl, Haile Thomas, ironically celebrated by Coca-Cola (that’s a whole other story) almost single handedly saved her father’s life from Type-2 Diabetes through her nutrition and health advocacy efforts. She helped completely change his diet by cooking better foods at home and brought her Dad’s diabetes to heel (see what I did there?) - with no medication! … And I’m still failing at trying to turn away my cravings for morning donuts. Nonetheless, what an inspiration; us millennials are making a huge impact on our world but watch out for this next generation too.
Who Runs the World?
Feminism is not anti-man and "black lives matter" doesn’t mean all lives don't.
There are two movements that have been snowballing with strength over the last few years. Both of which, I’ve primarily only played the role of spectator. Mostly because I didn’t understand my role to play. As a man, when I heard feminism I automatically thought, right or wrong, man hate. It was fallacious thinking to believe that a “Girl Power” movement is meant to weaken men, because it’s not. Specifying that our girls rock or black lives matter is incredibly important to a people that still need to see their importance and that they can achieve and do anything they want. Especially when there are so many feeding messages that say the opposite! When receiving her award, Rihanna mentions, “the ability to be myself is what has helped me be successful”. At a micro level, feminism isn’t about this paradigm shift in the structural power dynamics of our family and society blah blah. At a simple level It’s much more about saying to our girls, you can be successful by just being you. You have a right to succeed regardless of your gender, and we should eliminate the defeating narrative that says otherwise. We need events like this until the narrative that "Black Girls Rock" is implicit in our society. We need events like this until it is a normalized understanding and not an exception.
We need to celebrate the hashtag activism -- #blacklivesmatter movement -- until we can confidently say its much more normal for black kids to become leaders in their community and society than it is for them to be over-policed and/or shot down.
I'll leave you with this quote from #BlackLivesMatter creator, Alicia Garza.
"If you believe all lives matter, then you should definitely believe that black lives matter right now!"
Watch Black Girls Rock on BET tonight at 8pm EST... You might catch me on there too!