Category Archives: My Sista’s Business

Educate, Communicate, Inspire & Elevate Women in Business…

My Sista’s Business…Delores Thornton

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Marguerite Press: Delores Thornton dthorn4047@aol.com

Marguerite Press was founded in Indianapolis, IN in 1996 by Delores Thornton.

The company has published 7 books and 3 plays by Thornton and 2 books by area pastors. Also under the Marguerite Press umbrella is the Internet radio talk show, Around2It on the NuuBeat Network. This show deals with local, national and global issues.

Marguerite Press is also the creator of the Annette L. Lewis Essay Contest which awards cash and trophies to area school children.

Marguerite Press recently acquired an office suite in the beautiful A&P complex on the near Southside of Indianapolis. This will be a place where Marguerite Press will offer tutoring, and mentoring of city youth, as well as bereavement counseling for adults and teens. These services will be spearheaded by Thornton, who has a BA in Christian Education from Simmons College of Kentucky and a Masters from Christian Theological Seminary in Theological Studies.

Marguerite Press is currently promoting a Black History Month Program, “Black Voices from the Past” with a professional cast! It will be at the Jewel Event Center, 3333 N. Illinois Street on Sunday, Feb. 26th @ 3pm. Featuring the Annette L. Lewis Essay Winners! Fun, Vendors, Door Prizes, Light refreshments and so much more. Contact Thornton for more info. delores910@yahoo.com.

Marguerite Press is also planning the Women’s Religious Conference to take place on Saturday, April 1, 2017 at the A&P complex (home of Marguerite Press). This conference will feature Panelists, Break-out Sessions, Round Table Discussions, and Making Your Vision Board. The daylong conference will feature a Continental breakfast, and Lunch.

Websites: margueritepress.org and deloresthornton.org. On Facebook as Delores Lewis Thornton. On Instagram (nairobi910) and Twitter (dthorn4047).

 

 

My Sista’s Business (Men’s Edition)…Davidson Petit-Frère

 

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There’s is nothing hotter than a man in a well tailored suit, and ladies if you’re looking for a nice valentines or anniversary gift for your boyfriend or husband, Musika Frère is definitely a nice way to go.

Designed by Haitian designer Davidson Frère and his business partner Aleks Musika, the line comprises slick and undeniably dapper custom suits and jackets, inspired by the effortless style of Davidson himself. Launched in Fall 2013, Musika Frère has quickly become a leading force in luxury menswear.

Designers and founders Aleks Musika and Davidson Petit-Frère bring a dynamic approach in men’s suiting by pairing classic Italian and English tailoring techniques with modern silhouettes. Both designers scour the globe each season and find innovative materials to experiment with, providing designs for the modern, successful man who loves to make a bold statement in every room he enters.

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All of the Musika Frère designs are produced in New York and inspired from their take on European fashion. Every season Musika and Frere create collections that allow their consumers to embody the lifestyle brand. Since the brand’s launch, their thriving bespoke business has dressed international actors, athletes, and industry leaders.

Musika Frère debut their Spring 2015 collection during New York Fashion Week in September 2014 and will be available in select luxury retailers around the world.

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Read more about Davidson and his line at MusikaFrere.com. Also, be sure to follow Davidson on IG @Davidson_Frere.

My Sista’s Business…Janice Bryant Howroyd

Janice Bryant Howroyd

Janice Bryant Howroyd knows the business world must be more innovative and more exciting! At the same time, it is more crowded, more competitive and more perilous. She thrives on maintaining an edge, expanding into new markets and offering valued clients new services as part of a precision business plan.

Today, the ACT•1 Group thrives through several verticals that add value to each other to support an overall business plan. Driven by Bryant Howroyd’s personal mantra, “Keep the humanity in human resources,” a team of diverse, entrepreneurial professionals manages one of America’s most highly respected and experienced staffs in the industry.

Janice Bryant Howroyd’s personality, perseverance and drive, coupled with – as she points out – her “extraordinary team” is what ensures ACT•1’s continuous growth in a global market.

Motivated by the supportive environments of her own youth, Janice Bryant Howroyd believes that people perform best when their personal strengths are developed and challenged. Her theory is proven true by the nearly three decades she has driven a highly successful business. “It is a core value of how I do business today,” says the CEO. “It has never been just about making a match to make some money.”

“Empowering people is a blessing and a responsibility.”

Staying true to these beliefs supports ACT•1, Janice Bryant Howroyd and the communities they service. She and the company contribute well to education, entrepreneurship and economic development. She says, “Growing a global business is all about doing something good for the world.”

Click here for the latest news about Janice and ACT•1.

My Sista’s Business….Morgan DeBaun

 

Meet Morgan DeBaun: The Blavity Founder Bridging The Gap Between Content And Tech

In a time where the most iconic platforms for black entertainment face evident declines in revenue and viewership, a void has opened for a millennial-driven media outlet to emerge that reflects the progressive voice of today’s generation.

As Hip Hop culture continues to expand its global influence, the intersection of content and technology presents a unique opportunity to shape a new narrative around what young African Americans consider cool, cutting edge, and aligned with their diverse lifestyles.

Since the definitive shift into digital media, extensive studies have concluded that African American millennials consume more content than any other demographic, are the most mobile-obsessive, and further prove to be the most active users on social media platforms. This information would suggest that big brands, marketers, and business leaders alike would place a priority on developing innovative ways to capture such a thriving audience. Dominant brands likeBuzzFeed are actively capitalizing on contemporary trends, such as viral videos, comedic memes, and real-time reports on pop culture moments. However, despite reaching millions daily, the many nuances that define black people and black culture are rarely accounted for. Now, one rapidly growing media and tech company is blazing an impressive trail for these companies to follow.

Founded in July of 2014 by 24-year-old Silicon Valley veteran Morgan DeBaun, and 25-year-old Co-Founder Aaron Samuels, Blavity is a thriving tech and multimedia company serving as the standout voice of black millennials. Offering a seamless mix of humor, critical commentary and valuable thought-leadership – the platform covers the full spectrum of content, tech and culture. Boasting an increasing total of over 120,000 followers across social media, while generating over 700,000 monthly unique visitors to its flagship site – Blavity has become a commonly referenced source of news and information for notable influencers across industries.

I spoke with Morgan about what inspired the company, her vision behind the brand, and how Blavity is laying the blueprint for other tech savvy creators and digital entrepreneurs to adopt.

Morgan DeBaun. Founder of Blavity (Photo courtesy of Blavity)

The idea for Blavity birthed from your experience in college – describe how the concept originated and evolved? 

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial itch. When I was younger, I would look for opportunities to make money, invest, and create things. I didn’t quite know where that would take me, but I knew that I wanted to create something that would be a reflection of who I was. Blavity is a manifestation of just that. The founding team and I went toWashington University in St. Louis, a predominately white institution (PWI). During our time at Washington University, there was a particular place where all of the Black students would sit together; and that was at the lunch table. Like in many groups and ethnicities in culture, food and gathering makes people feel comfortable and at home despite the fact that they may be amongst people they don’t know. That lunch table is where the idea and the term ‘Blavity’ originated. We would sit down, then another person would sit down, and then another 2 or 3 people would sit down. Then, before we knew it, there would more than 20 of us sitting there for hours. We would skip class and talk about critical race theories, what the Alphas did at the party, or whatever it may be.  That moment when everyone would come to the table from different classes, parts of the country, and ethnicities of the diaspora – that was Black Gravity, or Blavity.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in the early stages and how have they evolved over time? 

The biggest challenge has been articulating my vision in a way that people can understand. When people used to ask me about Blavity, I would tell them the big picture and it confused people. For example, someone who just follows us on Twitter TWTR -1.13% might describe Blavity’s products and services differently than someone who is on our weekly email newsletter.  I had to get comfortable early on understanding how people perceived Blavity, and me, based on their interaction with our content or community.  Our team had to be crystal clear about who we were serving and our mission so that our community knew what to rely on us for.

In the midst of intense conversations surrounding racism, injustice and senseless violence — what role does Blavity play in impacting or shaping the narrative? 

Blavity’s role is to connect our community with different perspectives and influencers. We reach out to organizers, and promote stories that may otherwise go untold by mainstream media publishers. Our community is diverse — often times we have opposing viewpoints on the site, but ultimately Blavity is about providing access to information and alternative voices.

What would you describe as the definitive turning point — when you knew Blavity was a respected brand and voice in the space?

There were two points. First, when things would happen in culture, members of the black community started to tag and mention Blavity to make sure we had seen it. They would tag us next to BET, The Root, Buzzfeed, and Vox – brands that are big hitters with 7+ years on us. The second turning point is when I started getting inbound emails from big brands wanting to work with us. I knew we were starting to reach beyond our peers in to new spaces.

You’ve been in Silicon Valley and worked in the tech space, but have managed to build Blavity without any venture funding to this point — was that an intentional decision and what was your thought process behind it? 

Yes, it was absolutely intentional, and in a lot of ways necessary.Bootstrapping Blavity has given the team and I the space to build a strong foundation without distractions. Blavity is a reflection of the love and passion of hard working millennials across the country. This reflects Millennials who go to Harvard Law and Spelman, contributors who are Rhodes scholars, community organizers, poets and investment bankers. Before I could take anyone else’s money, I wanted to not just tell the story about how Blavity could be a huge business, but also show the story. We’ve successfully accomplished that goal. 

So many studies show millennials obsess over celebrity and pop culture — what kept you from positioning Blavity as an entertainment news platform? 

Celebrity culture and gossip would get us website clicks, but I just don’t feel like it makes the world a better place. I want to spend my time creating, developing and challenging new ideas that will truly drive the culture forward. 

My Sista’s Business….Channing Dungey

 

Channing Dungey Named ABC Entertainment President

COURTESY OF ABC

Channing Dungey, executive VP of drama at ABC, has been named entertainment president of ABC, replacing Paul Lee, who was ousted in a power struggle with Ben Sherwood, president of Disney/ABC Television. She’s the first African-American to head programming at a major broadcast network. Dungey will now report directly to Sherwood.

“Channing is a gifted leader and a proven magnet for top creative talent, with an impressive record of developing compelling, breakthrough programming that resonates with viewers,” said Sherwood. “We thank Paul for his many accomplishments at ABC and his devotion to the ABC brand, and we wish him continued success in the future.”

Dungey, who’s been with the network since 2009 (and its affiliated studio since 2004), is credited with developing many of the Alphabet’s successful dramas, including “Scandal,” “Quantico,” “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD,” “How to Get Away With Murder” and “American Crime.”

Dungey said: “I’m thrilled and humbled that Ben has entrusted me with this tremendous opportunity. And I am truly grateful to Paul for being a valued mentor and friend. I’ve had the great honor of working alongside the talented team at ABC for many years and look forward to starting this exciting new chapter with them.”

Lee has held the position of entertainment president since 2010, having moved over from ABC Family. “Leading ABC has been a fantastic experience,” he said. “I’m especially proud of the incredible team I built and the strategic, creative vision we established and successfully executed for both the network and studio.”

As part of the transition, Patrick Moran, executive VP of ABC Studios, will now oversee day-to-day operations. The well-liked exec is poised for a career boost as well. His contract is up at the end of this season, so a title bump is likely. He’ll now report directly to Sherwood, so a layer has been removed.

Dungey began her career as a development assistant for Davis Entertainment at 20th Century Fox. She then became story editor at Steamroller Productions, where she worked on the development and production of such films as “Under Siege” and “On Deadly Ground.” Following that, she joined Warner Bros. as a production executive, helping to develop films including “Bridges of Madison County,” “Heat,” “The Matrix” and “Practical Magic.”

“My Sista’s Business”…Erika Lewis

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(L-R) Grits & Biscuits founders: Maurice Slade, Erika Lewis, and Alzo Slade

What’s not to love about Grits & Biscuits? As the hottest (literally and figuratively), event series in the country, it’s one of the very rare occasions where people of all ages can twerk like nobody’s watching with their favorite Dirty South music as the soundtrack. What kicked off six years ago as a way for three southern transplants to bring a bit of home to the Big Apple, has now grown into an aspirational brand that travels the country, giving its loyal followers a chance to drop it low while leaving the stress of everyday life at the door. With tickets that sell out within minutes, Grits and Biscuits is definitely that party you don’t want to miss.

So, what goes into producing such an unforgettable experience for hundreds (and sometimes thousands!) of guests? Just in time for Grits & Biscuits’ annual Block Party here in New York City, I got to chat with Erika Lewis, the beauty and brains behind the brand, to get the inside scoop on how she and her partners create magic that just can’t be duplicated:

In Her Shoes: Congrats on six years of Grits & Biscuits! I’m sure it has been an eventful ride. What’s one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned on this journey?

Erika: One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that my gifts are not easy. For a long time I assumed that things that are “easy” for me are also easy for everyone else. In this process I learned that this isn’t true, and that I have the ability to create spaces that bring people joy. What I create with Alzo and Maurice is something that is special and not easily replicated. For that reason, I say my gifts are not easy.

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In Her Shoes: What’s your secret to juggling a successful career in media with being the beauty and brains behind one of the most popular event series in the country?

Erika: When I was looking to make a career change back in 2012, the parties were still growing and I decided to add Grits & Biscuits to my resume. It was important for my next employer to know that E.Z.MO Breezy was a part of my skill set, it was not going anywhere and I needed them to appreciate it. That is my secret. I can’t imagine working two full-time jobs without the support of my colleagues on both sides. My day job appreciates how I am able to bring my whole self into my work. My faith is also very important to me. If I didn’t have that to lean on, I’d probably go crazy.

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In Her Shoes: How did you and the fellas land on the name Grits & Biscuits?

Erika: The name and concept came out of a friendly conversation between my business partner, Alzo Slade and me back in 2009. After listening to a CD (yes, a CD) of southern hip-hop that a DJ friend of his sent him from Texas, we started discussing the idea of a southern party. I mentioned in jest that the name needed to be something that immediately made you think of the south and Zo replied without hesitation, “grits.” I loved it. But then he said “it needs two names, because all good parties have two names, like Jump & Funk” so he suggested “Biscuits & Grits.” I didn’t care for it as much as “grits,” so we switched the order and the rest is history.

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In Her Shoes: What are some of the challenges and opportunities you’ve faced as the only woman on the Grits & Biscuits team?

Erika: I have to say that the challenges have been very few. I have been fortunate in my partnership. Going into it, I did have a brief moment where I was concerned with going into business with two brothers. After the first event we sat down and laid out the values of the business, which was a huge step. What we learned from this meeting was that we’re all on the same page in terms of the direction we’d like to take Grits & Biscuits. There was an alignment of values and respect for each other’s skill set. We all have an equal voice and with three partners, majority always rules.

With the Slade brothers being the face of the organization, sometimes you need a woman’s perspective to help them see the other side of things. The men I’m working with respect women, so I’ve never felt that being the only one on the team has presented a challenge. In fact, it has been a complete asset.

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In Her Shoes: If you had your pick of one artist to grace the Grits & Biscuits stage, who would it be and why?

Erika: I always appreciate women having a voice on our stage. Last year’s performance by Trina on our fifth anniversary was like a dream come true. If I could think of one more act I’d love to work with it would have to be Outkast. Why? Because it’s Outkast and “The South Got Something to Say.”

In Her Shoes: What are the top three pieces of advice you’d offer someone who wants to make her mark in a male-dominated field?

Erika:

  1. Incorporate your values into your work.
  2. Make sure there is trust, friendship, and respect in any partnership.
  3. Your audience is not thinking about whether or not your field is male-dominated. They just want your product or service to exceed their expectations and consistently make them smile.

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In Her Shoes: What’s next for Grits & Biscuits?

Erika: The Grits & Biscuits Block Party is this weekend. A few tickets are still available at gritsandbiscuits.com so we hope to see you there!

My Sista’s Business…Monique Rodriguez

Mielle Organics is a hair and skin care company that uses all natural ingredients. Since inception, Mielle Organics’ products have taken the hair care market by storm. After mere months, Mielle Organics has been widely recognized for its results-driven products and excellent customer service.

Meet the Founder

http://www.mielleorganics.com

Mielle Organics founder and CEO, Monique Rodriguez has over nine years of experience as Registered Nurse. Her science background and focus on health from the inside out inspired Monique to share her regimen of healthy, tailbone-length hair with the masses. She is passionate about inspiring women in business and entrepreneurship. Monique resides in Indiana with her husband Melvin, COO of Mielle Organics, and their two beautiful daughters, Mia and Mackenzie.

My Sista’s Business….Kyemah McEntyre

Teen Designer Featured In ‘Vogue’ + Artist Gets MET Showcase

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In exceptional black girl news, we have two amazing stories to share.The first is about Kyemah McEntyre, the New Jersey teen who was made famous last year for designing a dashiki-inspired dress for prom. While she wasn’t the most popular girl in school, the internet loved the gown; and apparently so did the fashion world.

In addition to being a student at Parsons School of Design in New York and having a capsule line of her own, the 19-year-old will be featured in three major magazines. “Your girl has a full feature in Glamour Magazine, Allure Magazine aaaand Vogue for the celebration of natural hair and natural beauty,” she announced on Instagram.McEntyre’s feature will be a part of Dove’s #LoveYourHair campaign, where she shows off her beautiful afro. “Woah there. That’s me, flexing my curls and natural face on page 84, in Glamour Magazine. Dove got it right, #LoveYourHair,” she said in another Instagram post.

Next, up is the remarkable Cliffanie Forrester, an 18-year-old NYC-based artist who’s work is being featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“This piece was inspired by a missionary trip I took last summer,” Forrester said in a statement about her oil-canvas painting on the Met’s website.

Adding, “When I was creating Uganda I struggled to re-create the color scheme and contrasts from my references. I fused the background with the foreground in cool tones so that references I used appear seamless in the painting. I was pleased with the results. I am appreciative of the skills I thought I never had.”

Forrester is currently a senior at the High School of Art and Design in New York City, and her work is a part of the P.S. Art 2016: Celebrating the Creative Spirit of NYC Kids exhibition open until October 23.

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/style-beauty/fashion/news/a42678/kyemah-mcentyre-designs-naturi-naughton-bet-awards-dress/

 

My Sista’s Business…Latasha Williams

Latesha Williams

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Latesha Cards for All People

By In Her Shoes Contributor: Lenora Houseworth

Latesha Williams may not be a household name just yet, but you’ve more than likely engaged in a hilarious and possibly heated night of 90’s trivia with friends thanks to Black Card Revoked, her hit card game with a cult-like following. I heard about Black Card Revoked late last year and had an opportunity to experience it first hand at a New Year’s Day brunch hosted by one of my fabulous friends. We had the time of our lives debating (ummmm…arguing!) over topics like Boys II Men vs. Jodeci, what we eat on our grits, and who rocked the best afro back in the day. With fun categories like According to Mama, Black Card Revoked is the best thing that ever happened to game night and is sure to be the highlight of backyard BBQs this summer from Brooklyn to the Bay. In Her Shoes contributor, Lenora Houseworth, caught up with Black Card Revoked co-founder, Latesha Williams to learn more about her journey from working in sports alongside LeBron James to being the beauty behind one of the fastest growing card games in the country. Here’s what she had to say:

In Her Shoes: Through your company you’ve created the card game “Black Card Revoked,” which is pure hilarity. What experience do you hope the game will bring to those who play?  

Latesha: I hope to reinvigorate game night by disrupting spades, bid whist and dominoes as the games of choice for people of color.  I feel confident in the fact that we serve up a lot of laughter and enjoyment. It’s a beautiful shared experience for family and friends.

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In Her Shoes: You have worked with huge sports and entertainment companies like IMG and LeBron James’ marketing company, LRMR Management to name a few. What gave you the push to branch out and become co-founder of Cards For All People?

Latesha:  I needed to learn more.  I needed a new adventure to help me develop and mature as a professional.  When you listen to your soul and follow the signs around you, they lead you down the path you’re supposed to travel.  I listened to my instincts and knew I wanted more.

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In Her Shoes: After working with several major companies, what lessons have you learned and applied to your own business?

Latesha: Authenticity sells itself.  When you build a business from an authentic place, it will allow others to naturally connect.  My partner Jay and I (in addition to our families) are every bit of the fun and laughter you get when you play Black Card Revoked.

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In Her Shoes: Your company’s following is quite engaged with the brand on social media. How has social media helped your business grow?

Latesha: Social media is the voice of the people.  We just simply tap into it.  It has been a huge tool in helping us grow the business.  It allows us to interact directly with our consumers.  It gives us instant feedback on direction of upcoming projects.  It allows our brand to have a voice; a funny, nostalgic one that connects with consumers who appreciate the 90s, Black culture and humor.

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In Her Shoes: What is a day like in Latesha’s shoes?

Latesha: My day kicks off with an 8am chat with my partner Jay;  9-11am daily news readings and email;  11-4pm reaching out to various outlets to develop relationships, researching production ideas, managing the customer service team, prepping social media; 5pm-6:30 pm end of day chat with Jay; and by 6:30-7pm I’m usually cooking dinner.

In Her Shoes: Tell us about your Femme Mogul program and the inspiration behind it.  

Latesha: Within my own career I’ve been the only woman of color in too many situations and I always vowed to change that when I had the chance.  I have the chance now.  Interacting with our consumers via social media has introduced me to some of the most charismatic, funny women ever.  If they can make me pay attention and engage, I know they have to ability to sell product.  Empowering other women of color is how we make economic change in our communities.  I’ve been blessed in my own career to come across the most amazing BOSS women in corporate America and in life.  These are women who are the first in their positions; women who taught me how to be poised, confident, yet personable.  One fabulous fashion guru, Rachel Johnson, taught me early in my career how important fashion is to your personal brand & confidence. I want to encourage that type of encouragement, advancement, confidence in any way I can.

Black Card Revoked

Where do you see Cards For All People products in another 3-5 years?

Latesha: I see Cards For All People products reaching a global audience with footprints in key markets like West Africa and The U.K.  I hope to extend our brand into live events, television programming and mobile games.

In Her Shoes: Anything more you want to add?

Latesha: From sports, I learned that you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Life is way too short for regrets so I strive for greatness every moment I can with the hope that someday I’m able to leave my mark on this world for the good of my community and family. I encourage your readers to do the same.

To learn more about Black Card Revoked and to order a deck for your next gathering, visit cardsforallpeople.com today!

Black Girls Rock 2016

TUNE IN TO CELEBRATE A NIGHT OF BLACK GIRL MAGIC WITH

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ON BET TUESDAY APRIL 5, 2016 | 8PM EST

Are you excited as I am…Black Girls Rock 2016 is here…

BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Inc. is 501(c)3 non-profit youth empowerment and mentoring organization established to promote the arts for young women of color, as well as to encourage dialogue and analysis of the ways women of color are portrayed in the media.

Since 2006, BLACK GIRLS ROCK! has been dedicated to the healthy development of young women and girls. BLACK GIRLS ROCK! seeks to build the self-esteem and self-worth of young women of color by changing their outlook on life, broadening their horizons, and helping them to empower themselves. Since 2006, we have enjoyed the opportunity to enrich the lives of girls aged 12 to 17 years old through mentorship, arts education, cultural exploration and public service. At BLACK GIRLS ROCK!, young women are offered access to enrichment programs and opportunities that place special emphasis on personal development through the arts and cooperative learning.

By speaking to the next generation in their formative years about issues of self-worth, goals, and aspirations, the organization reinforces the message that young women need not objectify themselves or relinquish their autonomy. BLACK GIRLS ROCK! has boldly taken on the crisis of our female youth of color here in America head on and understands the need for positive self-images and a strong sense of awareness. WE SEE SOLUTIONS.

Do you know a Black Girl That Rocks, or are you a Black Girl That Rocks? Get your girls together and make it a party tune in and get ready to be moved 🙂

http://www.blackgirlsrockinc.com/

2016 Black Girls Rock! HONOREES

Rihanna
International Pop Icon + Entrepreneur

Rihanna

Rock Star Award

Shonda Rhimes
Award­-winning Writer + Producer

Shonda Rhimes

Shot Caller Award

Gladys Knight
R&B Legend

Gladys Knight

Living Legend Award

Danai Gurira
Actress + Playwright

Danai Gurira

Star Power Award

Amandla Stenberg
Actress + Activist

Amandla Stenberg

Young Gifted and Black Award

Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi