On Saturday, October 13, 2012, extraordinary women of color came together for BLACK GIRLS ROCK! 2012, an evening commemorating the achievements and accomplishments of women and girls from diverse fields — ranging from entertainment and business to social activism. Co-hosted for a second consecutive year by Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King, BLACK GIRLS ROCK! 2012 honored actress Kerry Washington, Grammy Award-winning music legend Dionne Warwick, accomplished singer-songwriter Alicia Keys, captivating songstress Janelle Monae, human rights activists Dr. Hawa Abdi and her daughters and iconic editor, writer and journalist Susan L. Taylor. Star-studded performances from Alicia Keys, Brandy, Keyshia Cole, India.Arie, Ciara, SWV and others set the stage for an inspirational and entertaining show, which airs Sunday, November 4, 2012 at 7p.m./ET exclusively on BET.
To kick off the festivities, Alicia Keys — backed by an all-female drum line — marched down the theater aisles singing her hit anthem “It’s a New Day,” as the audience rose to its feet. Keys then followed up with a stirring performance of her 2012 smash “Girl on Fire,” for an electrifying and momentous show opener. Fashionable co-hosts Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King took the stage to welcome the crowd and introduce Eva Longoria, who presented her long-time friend, actress Kerry Washington, with the coveted Star Power Award.
The evening was marked by inspiring, motivating and encouraging words from the celebrants, including Young Gifted and Black Award recipient Janelle Monae, who moved the audience with memories from her youth and ended her earnest and emotional speech with a charge to the next generation of female leaders: “Perfection is often the enemy of greatness. I did not have to change who I was to become a Cover Girl. Always be you,” said Monae.
Alicia Keys accepted the Rock Star Award from presenter Gabrielle Union and credited her mother and grandmother for being such strong, motivating forces in her life. And in the spirit of a new generation of legends in the making, international songstress Marsha Ambrosius bestowed music icon Dionne Warwick with the Living Legend Award.
2011 BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Star Power Award recipient Taraji P. Henson paid it forward by presenting the Inspiration Award to Susan L. Taylor, celebrated writer, magazine editor and journalist. Taylor, who recounted her 37-year career at Essence Magazine, encouraged young women to stay true to themselves, keep the faith and strive for the best life has to offer.
The Social Humanitarian Award, presented by Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King, was awarded to 2012 Nobel Peace Prize nominees Dr. Hawa Abdi and her daughters, Dr. Deqo Mohamed and Dr. Amina Mohamed — also known as “the Saints of Somalia.” Dr. Deqo Mohamed accepted the honor in her mother’s absence and charged the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! movement to continue spreading its message of empowerment not just domestically, but internationally.
Captivating musical performances from Brandy, Keyshia Cole and SWV were featured throughout the evening, entertaining the crowd and adding to the spirited occasion. Following a performance of her two latest singles “Sweat” and “Sorry,” R&B Princess Ciara rocked the house with throwback hit “1, 2 Step,” which featured a surprise guest appearance by the legendary Missy Elliot. Adding to the evening’s power-packed performances was soulful songbird India.Arie, who dedicated a heartfelt rendition of her anthem “I Am Not My Hair” to television anchor and cancer survivor Robin Roberts.
For the first time in BLACK GIRLS ROCK! awards show history, a distinguished group of men took the stage for the first-ever, all-male tribute. Actor Idris Elba entered the stage to an overwhelming and thunderous reception and introduced R&B crooners Eric Benet, Anthony Hamilton and newcomer/BET Music Matters artist Luke James, who sang a soulful version of the O’Jays classic, “Wildflower.”
BLACK GIRLS ROCK! along with presenters La La Anthony and Estelle awarded M.A.D. Girls (Making A Difference) scholarships to four teenage girls making a significant impact in their local communities, including: Tiffany Bender and Alize Beal of New York City, founders of Y.U.N.G. Harlem, Yasmine Arrington of Washington, D.C., founder of ScholarCHIPS and Glennita Williams of Chicago, IL, founder of America’s Guardian Angels.
Toward the end of the program, an informative video about the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! organization and its year-round initiatives featured BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Founder Beverly Bond, who fought back tears as she explained the significance, relevance and necessity of positive images of powerful women of color in the media and abroad. Bond later took the stage to address the audience, stating, “A Black girl who rocks pays it forward. This is not just a movement, it’s a solution.”
The televised special BLACK GIRLS ROCK! 2012 is a BET Networks and B.G.R. Enterprises Inc production. BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Founder and CEO, Beverly Bond executive produces the telecast along with Stephen Hill, President, Music Programming and Specials, BET Networks; Connie Orlando and Salli Frattini of Sunset Lane Entertainment and co-executive Producer, Jane Mun.
BLACK GIRLS ROCK! 2012 premieres Sunday, November 4, 2012 at 7pm/ET. A special, two-and-a-half hour encore version of the awards show will air on Thursday, November 8 from 8pm to 10:30pm/ET, Saturday, November 10 from 9pm to 11:30pm/ET and Wednesday, November 14 from 7pm to 9:30pm/ET. BLACK GIRLS ROCK! 2012 premieres internationally on Tuesday, November 13, 2012.