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Black Girls Rock! Honors Shonda Rhimes, Amandla Stenberg and More

Black Girls Rock! Honors Shonda Rhimes, Amandla Stenberg and More

This year’s Black Girls Rock! event was held on Friday. The organization honored several distinguished black women, among them Shonda Rhimes, Danai Gurira (“The Walking Dead”), Amandla Stenberg (“The Hunger Games”), Gladys Knight, Rihanna and the women behind the Black Lives Matter movement.

Rhimes was awarded the Shot Caller Award, given to a strong woman leader. The creator of hit shows “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away with Murder” offered a message of empowerment when accepting her award, declaring “Your slates are blank, your paths are clear and your stories are whatever you decide they’re going to be.” The award-winning writer, director and producer recently made her debut as author, publishing the book “Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person.”

Gurira and Stenberg were awarded the Star Power Award and the Young, Black and Talented Award, respectively. Gurira is an actress and playwright with two productions currently playing in NYC. Women and Hollywood recently called her the Playwright of the Moment. Stenberg was recently announced as the star of an upcoming Black Lives Matter-inspired film. Stenberg is featured in this month’s Interview magazine alongside other young actors the magazine dubs “The New Progressives.”

The iconic Knight was awarded with the Living Legend award for her achievement in music and film. The Empress of Soul told The Hollywood Reporter, “It is the best award, the greatest trophy that I’ve ever received. More than a Grammy. More than so many other awards that I’ve gotten that I appreciate.” 

Rihanna was honored the last award of the night — the Rock Star Award. The singer thanked her mother and grandmother for their strong presence in her life. Keeping to the theme of the event of looking towards a hopeful future for young black women, Rihanna added, “Hopefully one day I’ll be raising my own little black girl who rocks.”

The event also honored Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors, the three women behind the Black Lives Matter movement, with the Community Change Agent Award. Their influence on contemporary conversation about racial and ethnic inequality and systemic oppression is incalculable.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made a brief appearance at the awards speaking to the legacy of black women, and highlighting issues connected with the Black Lives Matter movement. Clinton stated, “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 added, “All of our kids, no matter what zip code they live in, deserve a good teacher and a good school, a safe community and clean water to drink.”

The event will be televised on BET April 5. 

Watch Rhimes deliver an inspiring TED Talk about her Year of Yes below.

[via The Hollywood Reporter]

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