It’s only March, but so far it’s been a good year for continuing the conversation of the representation of Black women in the media. For a quick recap, Mya Taylor was the first transgender woman to win a major award. Then, a misinformed and unwoke writer tried to come for #Blackgirlmagic, but no one was having it. We’re not even half way through the year and the celebration of Black women is in full swing, and in one week, the Black Girls Rock! Annual Awards Show returns with Tracee Ellis Ross as host.
At this year’s show, some of the Black women being celebrated are Amandla Stenberg, Gladys Knight, and Shonda Rhimes, and the founders of Black Lives Matter. Last year FLOTUS appeared and delivered a speech. This year Rihanna will be awarded the Rock Star of the Year. I’m hoping that FLOTUS will appear again or Sasha and Malia will appear to give us some of their Black girl magic.
To have a night that celebrates the achievement of Black women across professional industries is exactly what we deserve, and we need more nights like this so that more Black girls and women can openly love who they are.
We’ve learned from awards shows that relying on others to love Black talent, power, and brilliance is not working. For two years in a row, the Academy Awards didn’t nominate people of color. Instead they stuck with the same people and delivered the same tired explanation that there happened to be no people of color that were worthy of being nominated for a major award. Then at the Grammys, people of color are rarely nominated for Album of the Year and very rarely are rap songs nominated for Record or Song of the Year—unless of course you consider Iggy Azalea worthy of being nominated for Record of the Year for “Fancy” in 2015.
We need our own award shows with host who are dedicated to positively representing Black lives in the media and don’t feel forced to include one or two Black people as tokens. If the award shows happen to include Black actors or actresses, some of them feel the need to belittle Black issues while cracking a smile. Yes, I am looking at you Chris Rock.
Why should we keep participating in awards shows that don’t want us? We know the answer—we shouldn’t. The same way that Black women have broken away from mainstream white feminism because it has often excluded cis and trans women of color, we need to break away from white award shows that want to celebrate the same white people over and over again as if no other talent exists.
On April 5th, join me in taking a stand against the racism in award shows by watching the Black Girls Rock! celebration. This night is our night where we get to celebrate all of the accomplishments that we have made as Black women.
Plus, I’m sure Tracee Ellis Ross will be representing with the curl pattern perfection.