By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. Editor
For the second year in a row, BLACK GIRLS ROCK! (BGR!) teamed up with the Kennedy Center for a stellar lineup of events to empower Black Girls of all ages in all their glory. The 2020 BGR!FEST will be held at the Kennedy Center from March 5-8, and is sure to be a four days jam packed with programming centered around Black women.
“We hope to inspire and empower Black women by celebrating them in all of their power, glory, and genius,” said Simone Eccleston director of the Kennedy Center’s Hip Hop Culture and Contemporary Music program. “Our goal is to be a part of that ecosystem that helps to support them by creating moments of community and fellowship where we can share our stories, love one another, and simply see and be with each other.”
The Kennedy Center and BLACK GIRLS ROCK! is hosting the second annual BGR!FEST March 5-8. (Courtesy Image/Photo)
The celebrated DJ and CEO of BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Beverly Bond created BGR!FEST as an extension of BGR! in order to offer complementary entertainment and empowerment events in addition to the original platform.
With several performances, parties and panels there are activities for Black girls and women of all ages. Since last year’s festival was a major success, Eccleston promises that the 2020 BGR!FEST will be bigger and better.
“This year the Festival has expanded in length and scope, increasing from three to four days and from three to 10 events. The programming has been designed so that you can truly spend a day encompassed by Black girl magic and Black woman genius,” Eccleston said.
Black girl magic will be in full effect as part of the BGR!FEST Concert Series on March 6 and 7 with multi-Grammy award winning singer and emcee, Ms. Lauryn Hill, headlining and vocal powerhouse Alice Smith opening both days.
In addition to the star-studded concert, there will be the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Unplugged “Secret Shows,” March 5-7, which is a series of intimate late-night concerts featuring surprise performers in the Kennedy Center’s new Club at Studio K. There’s also the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! “Who Rocks Next” Millennium Stage performances by singer Victory Boyd and emcee ill Camille.
Music is not the only focus of the four-day festival, as inspiration and empowerment is also a key focus of the event. The BGR!FEST “Empowerment Speaker Series,” will feature: “Power” actress Naturi Naughton; #MeToo founder Tarana Burke; Chief Brand Officer at MACRO Stacey Walker King, CEO and founder of Salter Financial Management Toi Salter; former NASA deep space engineer and founder of CEEK.COM Mary Spio; cannabis enthusiasts and entrepreneur Mary Pryor; and CEO and founder of Because of Them We Can Eunique Jones Gibson.
Following the collaborative goal for both the Kennedy Center and BGR!, which is to inspire young people, there will also be a private event at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts featuring alum and celebrated singer Mumu Fresh.
“The Kennedy Center has had a longstanding relationship with Duke Ellington and given the goals of BGR!Fest and our Education team, this collaboration was a natural fit,” Eccleston explained. “With Mumu Fresh as an alumn and all of the other incredible participants being invested in nurturing our young people, the collaboration with Duke Ellington is about creating a moment for talented young people, essentially the artists of the future, to have intimate access and engagement with artists who have walked the path that they aspire to.”
The weekend of Black girl magic wraps up with the International Women’s Day Closing Party and Jam Session featuring Bond DJing along with her celebrity friends.