By Ada Taylor
Meter Staff Writer
There is no better way to celebrate Women’s History Month at Tennessee State University than to reaffirm that Black Girls Rock! This is exactly why the 9th Women of Legend and Merit Awards and TSU’s Distinguished Lecture Series featured Beverly Bond, president and CEO of Black Girls Rock. Not only is she an outstanding role model, but she has made it her mission to build up young girls to be the role models of the future.
When Ashley Parmer, the current Editor-in-Chief of The Meter asked Bond how she got the idea for such a wonderful program, she says that this was not always her intentions for Black Girls Rock. In fact, it actually began as a cool t-shirt design. Her initial idea was to stack the names of inspiring black women into the design, but she realized that there were so many names that were not being given their due credit. She understood that our community needed an award show to honor these women, and as she says “not just the video vixens, because we are so much more than that.”`
Bond knows this first hand, as she got her start in the industry as a female DJ. In fact, her feminist position stems from the misogyny she experienced during that time. Not only was the content of the music blatantly disrespecting black women, but it appeared as if everyone was okay with it. This got Beverly Bond to thinking about how this was affecting the mindsets of children. To her, it seemed as if not only was so much of the culture being disregarded, but young boys and girls were starting to believe the images they saw. Without any alternatives available, all of those who were impressionable enough would live their lives convinced that the stereotypical video vixen is what being a black woman means.
After coming to this conclusion, Bond decided not only to honor the women of the past, but to uplift black girls to rock the future as well, and thus the mentoring program was born. Although the awards show has now reached the television screen, which will air on BET on April 5, she makes it clear that that was never the goal. “The reward is in the work” says Bond. “I started with one mentee, and we now have over 500 worldwide… You just have to love what you do.”