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Black Girls Rock! 2009 Pt.1

What a weekend! It was a total washout here in NYC, but we had a feeling that the rain was worth braving for the 4th Annual Black Girls Rock Awards—and we were right! Anything that requires a cocktail dress is usually a winner in my book, but after Doug E. Fresh had us doing the whoop in our seats, it sealed the night as one to remember. Honored were: Iyanla Vanzant, Dr. Mehret Mandefro, DJ Spinderella, Mary J. Blige, Queen Latifah, Raven Simone, Janelle Monae, Anthony Hamilton, Sonia Sanchez and Naomi Campbell. All were in attendance, fab and rockin’.

Some Highlights:
Janelle Monae’s acceptance speech (pic above) probably made me a fan all over again. She stressed the power of individual responsibility and creativity, and spoke on how she would turn down appearing in the videos of artists that promoted things she didn’t agree with—even when she was trying to get on. She won the “Who Got Next?” award. I think I’m going to have to listen to her EP today.

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Dr. Mehret Mandefro was given the “Community Service” award, and rightfully so. Her work around Black women and AIDS is truly commendable. Check out her story and the documentary on her here.

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It’s Nay-Nay! The Fashionista herself Naomi Campbell breezed in…and out to accept her award. Introduced by industry legend Bethann Hardison, she admitted that she didn’t take any ish, but she’s in it for more brown girls to get noticed. Cellphone or not, she’s Naomi!!

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Hey it’s Melly! Since she’s been down with Parlour since she first hit the scene, I was amped when I found out she was performing. She gave us two songs, and now I can see why she’s been getting rave reviews on her live set. *Praying she makes it and doesn’t get caught in the R&B singer machine* And on that note – WHERE IS Teedra Moses??? Sorry..back to BGR.

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Tracee Ellis-Ross and Regina King were a hilarious combo hosting team. Regina’s been down since day one, but Tracee was new and said she would definitely be returning. Even after that really weird ramble about throwing a bra at Anthony Hamilton…and not wearing one last night…while his young pre-teen son was in the audience….but she was cute though!

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The girls, and reason why Black Girls Rock was founded, performed a spoken word/vocal remix of “Young Gifted & Black.” As expected, they rocked.

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Mary J. Blige accepting her “Icon” award with her grown-woman style that has been years in the making. To be clear, she wants us all to know that she is not the “Queen of Hip-Hop” and that is Latifah’s title. She did remind us that she is the ‘Queen of Hip-Hop Soul.”

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Mary J. Blige and Queen Latifah backstage after Mary received her award. Latifah was also honored and during her acceptance speech where she matched a $25K donation that was given earlier by a donor. Love it when celebs put their money where their mouth is!

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Dr. Sonia Sanchez, who was honored with the “Living Legend” award proceeded to show us why she is the original female emcee. *Bows Down*

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Black Girls Rock founder, DJ Beverly Bond.

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Janelle took us home with a semi-acoustic version of “Sincerely Jane.”

Our girl Qimmah was on the black carpet with Raven and Janelle and more fly girls, so look out for her one-on-one’s later this week! All images are courtesy of Wire Image/Johnny Nunez.

Last 5 posts by Shannon Washington