Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Black Girls Rock! Proud Movement or Racist Stamp of Insecurity?

Long after the award show, the movement, the players and the impact of Black Girls Rock! roll on. It is fair to say that the show which aired on BET in early November was a smash success.  As its predecessor, this show was filled with class, pride, education and positive imaging and kick butt entertainment.

However I couldn't help but feel dismayed about Twitter rants I witnessed concerning the movement and show.  The first by a White male, but I grieved more so because of a Black female respondent. 
The white male tweeted, "Black Girls Rock! #loud #obnoxious sure they rock--not!"  I started to respond and remembered his opinion paralleled his anus and decided against his comment being worthy of mine.  On the other hand the Black Girl's comment was that she didn't appreciate the show because it was racist and displayed how insecure as Black Women we are.

I thought carefully about what the Black Girl wrote.  After all, did she have a point?  I asked myself.  Easily I concluded she did not and that she actually missed the entire point of the Movement for positive self-imaging of women like me, like herself.  Another rant in the same vein blasted BET as being racist in that Black Entertainment Television excludes other races in programming and how would we feel with titles such as White Entertainment Television or White Girls Rock!?

First of all, the declaration that Black Girls Rock is in no way the negation of other women or declaring other women don't rock.   Focusing on Black Girls is countering the racist exclusion of diverse and positive imaging in the media and in the global collective.  Furthermore the movement of Black Girls Rock celebrates the opposite of what many including those referenced above would have us believe about ourselves. 

Without Black Girls Rock, we'd certainly know that [we] are the least desirable women on the planet according to major psychological institutions.  We'd know that we are the least likely to get married or maintain a committed monogamous relationship via major World and National news programs.   Without Black Girls Rock we'd certainly know how to accept full blame for societal ills such as whole criminal communities, abortion billboard claims that criminalize us, poster children for welfare and single motherhood and broken families.  And we'd continue to accept open forums of blatant disdain for black women from some members of our own race while praising and edifying the women of other races. 

As for White Entertainment Television and White Girls Rock, no need.  Black actors and actresses still vie for a presence on major and cable network programming. Some twenty-five years ago, MTV the premier and only music network vehemently and proudly excluded blacks from programming. This exclusion fueled the need for a BET in the first place.     You can read all about it in I Want My MTV by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum, featured in this month's Ebony magazine.  Subtitled, The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution, chronicles the rise of the iconic network and how Michael Jackson saved the it.  Bill Cosby and The Cosby Show did the same for NBC from dead last abysmal ratings and created the line-up for the wildly successful Must See Thursdays.   Even with those contributions, networks and movie houses have systematically minimized the presence of black story lines and roles in front of and behind the camera. 

Newspapers, magazines, television, media outlets and the like don't have to say White Girls Rock, they show it: The Rockettes, The American Ballet, Victoria Secrets, Sports Illustrated Swimsuits and Elle just to name a few. Sprinkles of Black women have appeared in these settings, and I am not implying that Black women should dominate these arenas.  However it is prudent to counter what has historically and presently been used for exclusion to turn it around for inclusion.

 Black Girls Rock! is about the nurturing, fostering and promotion of healthy, complete, well-rounded young women who develop into outstanding amazing women.  It is the antithesis to racist, exclusive, counter-productive stereotypes.  There is enough racism and insecurity to go around.  I thank God that BGR! is not a contributor.

Finally it is never insecure to counter notions in false one-sided images or to use what has been used as exclusion to our advantage of inclusion as part of the global solution.  Black Girls Rock!  To donate directly to the movement click here for direct link.


  1. When people raise the argument of the young man you referenced, saying what if there were a "White Girls Rock" or the like, my question is, what do they think/feel when there are programs, magazines, or shows that don't have any people of color? Are they as equally offended when they only see people who look like them? And are they aware that other cultures/races (Latino, Asian, Native American) also have their own magazines, pageants, and shows? It's not just black people who choose to celebrate themselves when others refuse to include them.

  2. Personally, I think the program (Black Girls Rock) is great. But the name is a disservice and detraction from the cause itself. It places a bulls eye on itself for the very comments mentioned in this post.

  3. Denise I agree with you whole heartedly. Anonymous you make a thoughtful point. However should all names with racial indications be eradicated?

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    1. Toni Staton HarrisApril 7, 2015 at 7:43 PM

      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.