The second annual Black Girls Rock! event will air on BET in November. The event was founded by Beverly Bond and is an inspiring show that showcases the best talent, the beauty and the brilliance of Black women across the globe. The event aims to promote self-esteem and self-worth to young women of colour. Beverly Bond started the event with the dream of changing young women’s outlook on life and broadening horizons so we can all achieve self-empowerment.
This show may pay homage to US females predominantly, but let’s not forget about our Black British stars and success stories who have inspired and enlightened us all, whether it was with their music, acting, sporting achievements, song writing or breaking news.
In honour of this, Flavour and BET International have decided to compile our own Rock List and we want your votes. Here are 10 UK black females that you can vote for now. But before you make your decision, below is a summary on why each lady rocks to help you with your choice.
Ms Dynamite has been on the UK music scene for over a decade and is still going strong. The MOBO and BRIT award winner chooses to write music that empowers women, as opposed to sexualising them. She says of her work: “Everything I do I really think about and comes from the inside. But I’ll try my hardest to make the next album different, just to keep evolving with new sounds and styles.”
British comedian and actress Tameka Empson is currently most popular for her fun loving role on Eastenders. However, the British bombshell is just as famous for her work on the hit show ‘3 Non Blondes’ and her theatre roles. The larger than life comedian is not all fun and games though – she knows what she wants. Her advice for success? “Be strong and know yourself first.”
2008 X Factor winner Alexandra Burke not only has the big voice, but a big personality. The singer from London battled it out with many strong contenders for her place at the top – and her duet with superstar Beyonce was one that will always be remembered as epic. It looks like Alexandra is in the music biz to stay: “I want my music to be fun, to be uplifting and to be bold. I want it to reflect my personality. I want it to be in your face, I want it to be a beast.”
The gorgeous actress Naomie Harris is most famous for her starring role in ‘The Tomorrow People’ as well as her featuring in ‘The Pirates of the Caribbean’ and is rumoured to be the next Bond Girl. Not just a beauty, the intellectual actress also attended Cambridge university which she found tough when she couldn’t fit in. Despite this she values education and her favourite line from her film The First Grader is: “”Learning never ends until you’ve got soil in your ears.”
Christine Ohuruogu MBE is an award winning British athlete. She is the current olympic, former world and commonwealth champion, specialising in the 400 metres. Her victory in the Beijing games gained England their 50th Gold medal. The world class athlete has endured a lot of drama over her career but stays charmingly positive and humble, saying: “When I won the gold medal I didn’t realise what I’d done. When I retire I’ll look back on it all. It is hard to see it before then.”
The young model Jourdan Dunn was discovered in Primark in 2006 and life has never been the same for the beauty from West London. A record breaker, the model became the first Black model to walk the Prada runway in over a decade. Jourdan was also named the ‘Best Model of the Year’ at the British Fashion Awards. Refreshingly frank, Jourdan wants the modelling marketing to broaden their horizons, after all: “’London’s not a white city, so why should our catwalks be so white?”
Alesha Dixon rose to stardom as part of a three piece band, Misteeq. The rapper and singer then married MC Harvey and the world supported her when the marriage broke down due to his infidelity. She launched her own solo career, became a high class video girl for the likes of Pharell and began presenting Strictly Come Dancing and most recently at the 2011 MOBOs. Over the past 10 years, this girl has become an unstoppable force, saying: “When you are knocked down you have two choices – stay down or get back up, stronger.”
Misha ‘B’ Bryan is a young lady with a very big voice. The 19 year old from Manchester rocked her X Factor audition this year with Aretha Franklin’s R.E.S.P.E.C.T, wowing the judges and making the audience fall in love. The young lady has endured a fair share of drama whilst being on the show, but we love her for being the most talented out of the contestants and for staying strong when it seemed some were against her. Life hasn’t always been easy for Misha. She spoke of her past and her struggle: “I realised that I could either channel my life into music or go into a darker place. I had got to a cross-roads in my life – and I chose to change. I wanted to make a difference and make good things happen.”
Estelle has been on the music scene for a long time. Making a name for herself with her hit single ‘1980’ she soon soared to success, collaborating with Kanye West, Rick Ross and working with John Legend, making a name for herself in the states as well. Estelle says: “I don’t want to sell in the short term; I want people listening to my music for the rest of their lives.”
South Londoner Charlene White is a journalist and newsreader, currently working on ITN news and ITV London. The media head has also written for the American paper New York Post as well as presenting on BBC Radio 1xtra and other stations. Phew. The journalist inspires all of us with the realisation that no matter what colour you are, you can make it into mainstream media and be respected and appreciated. Charlene spoke of her career journey: “You do have to work extremely hard. But I would never complain about it because I enjoy the thrill from it. I never realized how much of an effect we can have, as journalists, on people’s lives.”
So what are you waiting for? Vote for one of these inspiring ladies now to decide which of these Black Girls Rock the most and stay tuned to BET Sky Channel 191 to see who is honoured on the night.
Black Girls Rock! premieres on Saturday 12th November @ 8pm
For more information visit www.blackgirlsrock.org