Meet The Ladies Of Black Girls Rock 2011

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Beverly Bond brings Black Girls Rock back to BET for it’s second airing, a night filled with beautiful women with honorable achievements. This year’s Black Girl’s Rock 2011 honorees included many familiar faces and new ones also. To help keep track, we’ve complied a list of who received an honor and what it was for continue reading to learn more!

1. Taraji Henson: Star Power
Taraji won an award for her ‘star power’ and brought the room to tears during her acceptance speech. She touched on being a single mother in Hollywood and leaving a legacy as a black actress.

Taraji grew up in Washington, DC and worked a part-time job to put herself through college and in 1995 she graduated Howard University. After acting in moving films such as “Baby Boy,” “Hustle and Flow,” “The Karate Kid,” “A Family That Preys,” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” throughout her roles she is able to connect viewers to screen easily, making her more than perfect fit for this years award.

2. Laurel J. Richie: Shot Caller
As a graduate of Dartmouth College, Laurel J. Richie, is the face of female basketball, as the president of  the WNBA and currently resides in NYC. Richie was selected as president because of her undeniable skill to create award-winning campaigns that transform brands and drive business while maintaining the day to day tasks of operations.

Before winning the courts Laurel was the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the Girl Scouts of the America where she was in charge of the brand, marketing, publishing and the overall revitalization of the brand. Not only has she been honored by Black Girls Rock, Laurel was named as one of the 25 Influential Black Women in Business by the Network Journal, is a YMCA “Black Achievers Award” recipient, a Ebony Magazine’s “Outstanding Women in Marketing and Communications” recipient.

3. Tatyana Ali: Young, Gifted And Black
Tatyana, who was born in Brooklyn in 1979, was honored for her talents as a young actress turned scholar/education activist and showcased her killer new haircut during her acceptance speech. It was after her time on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” that  Tatyana applied to college and was accepted into Harvard University where she completed her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and African-American Studies. Since finishing college, Tatyana has gone on to advocate for our youth speaking at many schools encouraging education and leadership for the past 15 years. Her passion for acting still burns as you can catch her in the third season of TV One’s “Love That Girl” which airs Monday’s at 8pm.

4. Imani Walker & Malika Saada Saar: Trailblazer

Imani Walker and Malika Saada Saar are co-founders of “The Rebecca Project.” “The Rebecca Project for Human Rights” is a national policy and legal organization that fights for public policy reform and justice for unfortunate families. They work on many areas of reform on a state and national level, they work towards addressing the prison system on women who give birth incarcerated. This dynamic duo believes that families should have the right to raise their children with dignity and work nationally and locally to accomplish this among many other issues for our community.

5. Pastor Shirley Caesar: The Living Legend Award
Pastor Shirley Caesar, birth name Shirley Ann Caesar, has served as a minister for over six decades and boasts a voice that is distinct and powerful. She is a native of Durham, North Carolina, and began her career touring with the female group, the Caravans.While singing lead in the group on hits like “I Won’t Be Back” and “Holy Boldness” she then found her own group, Casear Sings and occasionally performs with former members of Caravan and Reveland Cleveland over the years. In 1982 Shirley was inducted in the Gospel Hall of Fame and was the first woman to sing Gospel at Harvard University. Shirley has won 11 Grammy’s, 18 Dove Awards and 14 Stellar Awards in addition to the Living Legend Award from Black Girls Rock to name a few honors. Paster Casear is a Delta Sigma Theta and married to her husband since 1963 and currently pastors Mount Calvary Holy Church Word in Raleigh, NC.  Beauties, how can you rock any harder than this!?

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6. Angela Davis: Icon
Angela Yvonne Davis, activist, author, and lecturer, born in 1944 in Birmingham, Alabama and is a respected civil and human rights activists and was a member of the Black Panther Party and Communist Parties in the 1960s and 1970s. During her time with the Black Panthers, she was once placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” list for kidnapping and murder and had to live as a fugitive before being captured and serving a number of months in jail, she was found “not guilty” in 1972 by the jury during her trial.

Angela is also the founder of “Critical Resistance” which fights to abolish the “prison-industrial complex” a speech in that was given in 1997 and recorded as an audiobook which was the premise to her book with the same title. The prison-industrial complex seeks to address the abuse of companies use to private prisons as remedy to job employment among other issues it serves. She also believes in social justice and now teaches at the University of California Santa Cruz as the Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness; an interdisciplinary Ph.D program, and Professor of Feminist Studies. Angela’s legacy and fight for justice expands beyond this and we highly recommend reading her books to learn more about the revolutionary; “Angela Davis–an autobiography,” “Are prisons obsolete?,” and “Abolition democracy: Beyond empire, Prisons, and Torture.” This revolutionary rocks!

M.A.D (“Making A Difference”) Girls are young ladies who are using their youth as a prime time to affect their communities and the communities of others. Check out the M.A.D Honorees:

1. Leanna Archer

Leanna, Haitian-American, is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and motivational speaker all at the age of 15 while living in Islip Long Island, NY! When you see Leanna, you instantly want to ask what products are used for her shining and long tresses; in response you will find that she’ll direct you to Leanna’s Inc, her line of her natural hair products.

It all began when her great-grandmother made a special pomade for her hair at 9 years young and after getting an overwhelming response on how tamed her curls where she began to sell the pomade independently. To this day, Leanna still shipment from Haiti for the natural ingredients (oils and essences of avocado, sweet almond, rosemary and hibiscus) because after she once she tried ordering from Hawaii and her customers immediately knew the difference.

In 2010, she was able to have sales over 100,000 dollars and took her profits to launch a foundation that feeds over 120 kids in Haiti daily. With the growth of her business her father quiet his job to help her make seminars and meeting and the business benefits from the help of family and friends whenever they can. Thanks for being a black beauty who rocks!

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2. Dyci Manns

An Atlanta native, Dyci Manns, did more than just study and complete example while attending University of Georgia, she began a non-profit, MODEL26 and organization “Book Bags With the Basics.”  Her organization “Book Bags with The Basics” came from her study abroad experience in Belize where she witness children reusing composition books because they could not afford to buy another. Dyci was ready to help change the fate of underprivileged kids by reaching out to family and friends for school supplies and after six months, the Dyci was able to collect book bags with school supplies for over than 1,000 students in Nicaragua, Uganda and the U.S. Wait, Dyci didn’t stop there, she created MODEL26 (Making Opportunities by Developing Emerging Leaders.)

The number 26 stands for Article 26 from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states everyone has the right to education. MODEL26 a program that helps gives college students financial assistance, counseling and access to volunteer programs abroad and is now in Louisiana State University, Clark Atlanta University, the University of Maryland, the University of Florida, Hope College, Purdue University and the University of Central Florida.
 This is why Dyci Manns is a M.A.D girl who rocks!

3. Mari Malek
Born in Wau, South Sudan Mari, twenty-four, is the co-founder the “Southern Sudan Initiatives” which was created to help the lost boys and girls who had to flee Sudan country during the civil war. The issues in Sudan became popular to many after the film, “Lost Boys of Sudan,” was released in 2003 which showcased Sudanese boys who walked for weeks to Ethiopia to refugee camps which were eventually attacked and fled again to Kenya bfore they were able to come into the US.

“Southern Sudan Initiatives” provides clean water, access to health care and educational assistance which are essential for a wholesome way of living. Mari is living in NYC today working as a fashion model and club DJ.The this is how she is rebuilding the Southern Sudan, thanks for sharing your talents and being a beauty that ROCKS!

4. Eden Sanaa
Eden Sanaa Duncan-Smith, who you can find on YouTube singing songs by Etta James or “Perfect” by P!nk, is only 11 years old but that hasn’t stopped her from Making a Difference. She’s an actress/singer who played as Nala in the Lion King and played Raynell Maxon in Fences on Broadway alongside Denzel Washington and Viola Davis.

But, it was after she unfortunately lost Shannon “Skye” Tavarez, her Lion King co-star, to leukemia that she decided to develop a project in memory of her dear friend. Eden created a network called “Angel in the S.K.Y.E” to raise money for leukemia research and is a “pay it forward” is a philanthropic program that honors those who have done acts of kindness for their community, family or friends, by doing unexpected acts of kindness for them in return.

Additionally, she developed a program to purchase Broadway tickets for kids who can’t afford to see live shows. This little Broadway star ROCKS!

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