Came across a quote the other day by W. Clement Stone that reads, “You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success, or are they holding you back?”
This mantra shared via email as a mantra to motivate the staff, in an attempt to foster team building and reinforce the concept of success, instead sparked a few heated discussions. At the core of the differing stances were individuality versus community—”Look, I made it, not WE made it.” That begets haves versus have nots, that begets us versus them, that begets crabs in a barrel. Any of those sound familiar?
Tried to leave race out of the equation, but no can do. Recent events that made front-page headlines reveal that as a people we’re splintered, to say the least. We may need to reinforce the notion “it takes a village to raise a child” and make tangible efforts to put the ideal into practice. Let’s amend that. More of us need to make moves.
Sister Beverly Bond has been putting the work in with her brain child, Black Girls Rock! Since 2006, Black Girls Rock! has been dedicated to the healthy development of young women and girls. Using a hands-on approach, the organization builds the self-esteem and self-worth of young women of color by changing their outlook on life, broadening their horizons and helping them empower themselves through mentorship, arts education, cultural exploration and public service.
The year-round job is highlighted by the Black Girls Rock! awards. After a hiatus last year, the show returns with a bang. The much-deserving celebrants and award recipients for 2015 are as follows:
Cicely Tyson—Living Legend Award
Ava DuVernay, film director (“Selma”)—Shot Caller Award
Dr. Helene D. Gayle (president of CEO CARE USA)—Social Humanitarian Award
Erykah Badu—Rock Star Award
Nadia Lopez (educator/principal Mott Hall Bridges Academy)—Change Agent Award
Jada Pinkett Smith—Star Power Award
Just as important and prestigious an honor is the Making A Difference (M.A.D) Girls, and they are Kaya Thomas, Chental-Soing Bembry and Gabrielle Jordan. Making the night much more special for the young ladies and the audience was the appearance of first lady Michelle Obama. In addressing those in attendance at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, simple and heartfelt statements such as “No matter who you are, no matter where you come from, you are beautiful” and “I am so proud of you. My husband, your president, is so proud of you. We have so much hope and dreams for you,” resonated most with the live and, hopefully, the viewing audience. This year’s Black Girls Rock! awards will be shown Sunday, April 5, 7 p.m. Pacific Time/6 p.m. Central Time on BET.
In the same vein, June 11 to 14 in a first-time collaboration, the Apollo Theater and London’s Southbank Centre present the WOW—Women of the World Festival in New York, featuring performances, talks, mentoring sessions, music, film and debates that celebrate the talents of women and girls from all walks of life and all parts of the world. The highlight of the weekend promises to be the Black Women Rock concert Saturday, June 13, 8:30 p.m., featuring Macy Gray, Jessica Care Moore, Joi, Tamar-Kali, Res, Yahzarah and Steffanie Christi’an.
Over and out. Holla next week. Until then, enjoy the nightlife.