By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, [email protected]
From Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Madame C.J. Walker, Oprah, Beyoncé, Michelle Obama and others, it does not take Women’s History Month, to know that Black girls have always rocked, yet the District got an extra reminder when the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts hosted the three day inaugural “Black Girls Rock! Fest,” from March 8-10.
Kicking off Black Girls Rock! Fest on International Women’s Day, Black women and their appreciators from various races and genders came to celebrate with a “Welcome Party” in the Kennedy Center’s atrium. As the event was free and open to the public, hundreds gathered in the atrium for fun festivities such as grabbing food and drinks, taking photos and videos with friends at a booth and dancing the night away to the sets of special guests DJs Beverly Bond and MC Lyte.
“I’m here because it’s Women’s International Day. I just want to be around all this good energy and it just feels good to be amongst all these beautiful women,” Taneaka Parker told the AFRO while waiting to take a photo with a friend.
The following day participants gathered in the Terrace Theatre for a book talk and panel discussion with Beverly Bond, singer Jazmine Sullivan and writer and activist Michaela Angela Davis.
The final night of the festival concluded with a concert featuring Sullivan, Maimouna Youssef a.k.a. Mumu Fresh and a surprise performance by go-go band Bella Donna.
It was a weekend of fierce, Black women convening to celebrate their magic and discuss forward movement. The Black Girls Rock! Fest website describes the weekend as an “immersive live experience that celebrates, empowers and elevates women and girls of color.”
From speaking to women at the welcome party, it became very apparent that Black Girls Rock! Fest lived up to its goal of celebrating, empowering and elevating women of color, who were decked out in their most fly trendsetting clothes, hairstyles and makeup to show how much they truly rock.
Some of the women shared what the phrase “Black Girls Rock” meant to them.
“Black girls rock for me is just all about being authentic. Being true to yourself and being comfortable with who you are,” Parker said.
“Black girls rock means Black girls and women recognizing the divinity within themselves- and really tapping into that, and having faith in that, and moving forward and taking action with that,” said entrepreneur and digital marketer Anisha Malik. “[Black girls rock] is a lifestyle. Entrepreneurship, owning your time, being clear how you want to spend your time, how you want to make your money, adding to the conversation and evolving in whatever field you’re in and serving- that’s a big deal too.”
“Black girls rock means to me that we are unapologetically proud, brilliant and smart and we are the trendsetters. We’re actually the mothers of everything,” said Wendi Cherry, who is a certified holistic health coach. “I coach specifically Black women. I coach them to be there most authentic and healthy selves by tapping into the goddess within.”