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All off Black Excellence were in attendance for last night’s 2016 Black Girls Rock. This year’s ceremony took place at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center located in Newark, NJ. There were performances by Monica, Jazmine Sullivan, Brandy, Andra Day, Marsha Ambrosius, Corrine Bailey Rae, Imani Uzuri, and Ms. Lauryn Hill ❤

With the hilarious Tracee Ellis Ross hosting, it was bound to be a VERY great night. Ms. Ross stepped out while doing parodies to songs like Queen Latifah’s “U.N.I.T.Y”, Rihanna’s “Work”, and Beyonce’s “Formation”. And she did it all in a hot red jumpsuit.

Courtesy of (left to right: Rihanna, Shonda Rhimes, Gladys Knight, Danai Gurira, Beverly Bond, Tracee Ellis Ross, Debra Lee, Amandla Stenberg, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi)

This year’s honorees were Rihanna (Rock Star Award), Gladys Knight (Living Legend Award), Danai Gurira (Star Power Award), Amandla Stenberg (Young, Gifted, and Black Award), Shonda Rhimes (Shot Caller Award), and the Founders of #BlackLivesMatter: Alicia Garzia, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors (Community Change Agents Award).

All honorees gave AMAZING speeches and powerful messages. But some that stood out were: Amandla Stenberg: “My blackness does not inhibit me from being beautiful and intelligent. In fact, it is the reason I am beautiful and intelligent. And you can not stop me.”

Alicia Garzia and Opal Tometi: “Black Lives Matter isn’t anti-police, its pro-American.”

And to top of the powerful messages were from the founder herself, Ms. Beverly Bond: “We’re told our black isn’t beautiful but our features are on other women….why do I have to get permission from you to affirm me?” (Amen, somebody!)

Courtesy of BET (left to right: Haile Thomas, Maya Penn, and Marley Davis

Last but certainly not least, although they weren’t given the chance to go on stage, there were some young girls that definitely ROCKED!

Miss Haile Thomas is the founder and executive director of the HAPPY Organization, which is a fun opportunity and way for kids to engage in affordable nutrition education and classes. She is currently training to become a certified health coach.

Miss Maya Penn is a young philanthropist, environmental activist, author, inspirational speaker, and eco-designer. Since a young age, Maya has taken her passion for the environment and used it to build Maya Ideas, an eco-friendly clothing and accessories business.

Finally, Miss Marley Davis is an 11-year-old  girl who’s goal is to help kids discover books. She started the #1000BlackGirlBooks book drive and works with GrassRoots Community Foundation, with whom she collected 1000 books to donate to children. (You go girls!)

I think its safe to say that the awards show was filled with so much inspiration and power that all black girls walked into work and school like

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(Insert black power fist emoji) ❤