Giovanni Powell takes a video of Jebrail Dempsey for the Black Girls Rock promotional video. Photo by Talyiah Dickens.
Somewhere listed among the oldest event posts on your myUMBC account is an invitation to history in the making: the first ever Black Girls Rock Award Ceremony.
This ceremony was established to honor the dynamic and powerful black women here at UMBC and will be hosted by The Lambda Kappa Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. The purpose of this night is to shed light on the many achievements of black and brown women that are oftentimes omitted from our day-to-day conversation. With this event, they are not merely part of the conversation, but are the main topic.
You have probably seen a hashtag or heard the phrase “Black Girls Rock” before now. Before the ceremony, came a movement. Black Girls Rock is a nonprofit organization that has been committed to empowering girls through leadership, education and positive identity development since 2006. Founded by celebrity DJ Beverly Bond, its massive success has led to the creation of an award show that is nationally broadcast on the Black Entertainment Television network. Each year notable athletes, artists and community leaders come together to host and support this rare occasion. This year mark its eighth show since its debut in November 2010.
Moreover, this year marks the fourth Black Girls Rock Awards at UMBC. The event shows appreciation for the women of color both inside and outside of the organization. Students are encouraged to nominate a candidate for the following awards: Trailblazer Award, Visionary Award, Young Black and Gifted Award, Community Change Agent Award, Social Humanitarian Award and The “Rock Star” Award. Each of the six awards acknowledges a student or faculty member that has made a positive impact on campus or in their community. Everyone is invited to submit their anonymous nominations through an online link. Finally, on the night full of festivities the recipients will be announced and will be honored through an artistic presentation. But the giving does not stop there.
There is an interesting twist to the 2018 Black Girls Rock Awards that everyone is sure to enjoy. Members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., have created a promotion video featuring black women in dance, music, art, science and much more. Many of these familiar faces are captured doing what they love. Junior chemical engineering major Kelsi Lawson is seen co-hosting a radio segment. Junior biology major Reyan Abdelmoniem is seen practicing her violin. And even the Associate Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Ms. Lisa Gray, is captured behind her desk in the Student Life office. The list goes on.
An award hardly seems enough to recognize the excellence black women demonstrate in classrooms, communities and in the lives of others, but this program aims to inspire the world to look towards black women and their achievement.
The Black Girls Rock award ceremony will be held in the Skylight Lounge on April 28, 2018 from 7-11 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online.