Rihanna Honored At “Black Girls Rock,” Hillary Clinton Praises “Strong Black Women Leaders” In Speech
At the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Rihanna was the ceremony’s last honoree. “Thank you so much for celebrating us in a world that doesn’t celebrate us enough,” Rihanna told the crowd. In her acceptance speech she noted, “‘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.” The singer also added, “Hopefully one day I’ll be raising my own little black girl who rocks.”
Clinton was on hand to introduce “Black Girls Rock!” founder Beverly Bond. The presidential candidate shared, “My life has been changed by strong black women leaders.” She went on to describe black women as “changemakers and pathmakers and groundshakers,” while also acknowledging the struggles many still face. “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,” she said.
The evening’s other honorees included Shonda Rhimes, “The Walking Dead” star Danai Gurira, “The Hunger Games” actress Amandla Stenberg, and Gladys Knight. There were also performances from Brandy, Monica, Andra Day, Corinne Bailey Rae, Knight, and more. Lupita Nyong’o, Kelly Rowland, Erykah Badu and even Cissy Houston were among those in attendance.
Tracee Ellis Ross, who hosted the event, kicked off the ceremony with a performance that paid tribute to not just Rihanna, but also Beyoncé, Janet Jackson, and her own mom, Diana Ross. The festivities were taped and will air as a special on BET on Tuesday.