Deborah Mazon – WNN SOAPBOX
(WNN) San Antonio, Texas, UNITED STATES, AMERICAS: When I first heard a commercial ad for the Black Girls Rock Awards, I thought it was going to be another music awards show. Boy, I was wrong! I discovered my mistake while channel surfing. I landed on a young woman talking about the community service work she loved so much. She was impressive and a positive role model for others. It was the Black Girls Rock Awards.
Black Girls Rock honors ‘sheroes’ for their exceptional contributions and service as role models to young girls of color. Why is this important? Look around you. How easy is it for you to find positive portrayals of black girls or women? Historically black females have been pigeon-holed into a narrow image that does not depict most of us. Can you imagine growing up and never seeing someone who looks like you achieving the things you see other girls achieve? Would you blame her if she felt that goal was not for her? What if accepted concepts of beauty did not include her? Would you blame her for having low self esteem?
What if she was excluded from mainstream roles in plays or dance auditions simply because she doesn’t fit the profile. Yet she is stopped and question about things she did not do because she did fit the profile. Would you blame her if she threw in the towel? Say she did throw in the towel. So what? There will be one less Angela Bassett, Queen Latifah, or Regina King. Consider this; there might be one more teen mother, addicted drug user, or gang banger.
This is the world girls of color face every day. Without positive enforcement these girls could grow up without discovering their self- worth. Black Girls Rocks Inc. offers youth enrichment programs to empower girls of color to gain self confidence in a world of barriers and disparities. Participants learn from leadership and life skills seminars, entrepreneurship sessions, academic tutoring, cultural and literacy workshops, college preparation courses, and career development advisories. Girls from all over the world are invited to take part.
Each year awards are given in the following categories:
The “Rock Star” Award: This will be awarded to a fierce and fearless woman who has successfully pushed the envelope and carved a niche where other artists dutifully follow.
Social Humanitarian: This award will honor an artist that uses her celebrity to raise awareness about world issues, voluntarily giving to the community and addressing the emotional, physical and material needs of people in crisis, hardship and impoverished conditions.
Who Got Next?: This award recognizes ultimate talent straight ‘out the gate.’ This fire-starter has created a buzz and proved herself as a force to be reckoned with.
Living Legend: This award is given to a select individual of remarkable talent whose life long contributions and accomplishments have enriched and advanced our culture.
Young Gifted & Black: This award recognizes the young go-getter under the age of 25 who has achieved an insurmountable amount of success through ideal metamorphosis, and the acute ability to stand and deliver.
Black Girls Rock was founded by Beverly Bond in 2006 as an idea for a t-shirt and grew into so much more.
Beverly Bond says: “A girl who rocks is… a girl who is trying to become her best self. She understands the importance of striving for excellence, integrity and service to others. Our girls are not being told how amazing they really are or how amazing they really can be. It is time that we start telling them. It is time that we start shouting out to the entire world that We’ Black Girls Rock!”
WNN – Women News Network content manager and human rights reporter Deborah Mazon is a dedicated rights defender who actively assisted and participated in Cesar Chavez marches and apartheid South Africa protests. She has been involved in numerous campaigns to empower women through the use of media. Her current work for women in development includes: “International Women in Photography,” published through PNN – Personal News Network, founded by award winning journalist, Lauren Elliot, creator of the educational global geo-game series, “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?”
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