For the first time, Beverly Bond, the founder of Black Girls Rock! has responded to a controversial #WhiteGirlsRock hashtag that popped up on Twitter recently.
The popularity of the hashtag began last month, when BET’s annual Black Girls Rock! aired. A series of tweets, arguing over why it’s necessary (or not), along with a ton of racial tweets exploded. While the discussion hasn’t ended, Bond has penned a response on The Root, sharing her perspective. Check out a few excerpts.
When I heard about the “#whitegirlsrock” hashtag that trended on Twitter, my immediate reaction was, “Well, duh! Of course white girls rock. Are they unaware?” White women’s beauty, talent, diversity and worldly contributions are affirmed everywhere: on billboards, on television, in magazines and in textbooks.
As a humanist, I believe that we all rock. My issue is that the commentary that followed the “#whitegirlsrock” hashtag was not even about affirming dynamic white women. Instead, it was about critiquing or even punishing black women for having the nerve, the audacity and the unmitigated gall to love and affirm ourselves!
It’s insulting and quite nervy for a social media mob to attack a platform that affirms positive images of black women and girls in an attempt to belittle a movement that uplifts and celebrates our lives and legacies—yet to also remain silent about the plethora of damaging media messages directed toward black women and to blatantly ignore the social issues that black people endure.
I started Black Girls Rock! because the overwhelming social disparities within black communities and the toxic media messages targeted toward our youth has yielded a generation of black girls crippled by a lack of critical literacy, self-worth and positive identity development. I started Black Girls Rock! because I knew that we needed to hold our sheroes up as shining examples of excellence so that future generations of girls can continue to see positive role models who are proof of the dynamic women that they can also become.
From the suffragist movement to the civil rights movement, social change organizations and programs have been born out of sheer necessity. Because of the severe need that I observed, I created a platform where black women across the world can be seen in our beautiful and rich complexity. It is a space where black girls can rock in remembrance of our sheroes like Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Bessie Coleman, Lena Horne, Shirley Chisholm, Rosa Parks and Nina Simone!
The show Black Girls Rock!, which airs on BET, salutes those who stood on the frontlines and who endured unfathomable horrors while fighting for liberation. We celebrate the women warriors, past and present, who are crusaders for justice and champions of our people, our communities, our families, our race and our gender. And like the dynamic legends of our past, I know black girls will continue to rock because, as Iyanla Vanzant said in her 2010 Black Girls Rock! Awards acceptance speech, “We have no other choice!”
Click here for Bond’s full response.