It all started with one simple question in 2006. How can we create messages in the culture and in media that empower Black women?
The search for an answer led Beverly Bond to an idea for a t-shirt. On legal paper, she began to write the names of every woman she could think of who ROCKED—from Harriet Tubman to Sojourner Truth to Rosa Parks to Beyoncé. By the third or fourth page, she stopped. Looking at the names, Beverly knew she had the seed of something much bigger: BLACK GIRLS ROCK! It was a celebratory affirmation that Beverly knew she needed to share with other Black Women—and she never looked back.
Beverly believes deeply that the more Black women and girls can see themselves reflected in empowering women of color, the more they’ll believe in their own unlimited potential. That belief blossomed into BLACK GIRLS ROCK!—a multi-faceted and multi-generational community dedicated to providing spaces where Black women and girls can gather virtually and physically to celebrate and uplift one another, share inspiration and knowledge, and own their magic.
Since its inception, BLACK GIRLS ROCK! has charted new paths around positive identity development by providing programs that support critical thinking, leadership development, sisterhood, innovation, civic engagement, and career exposure. This commitment manifests across the BGR! organization in the BLACK GIRLS LEAD! Leadership Conference, the BGR! Annual Award Show, BGRFest!, Community Empowerment Talks, BGR! Book Clubs, and BGR! Tech Groups.
With a village of supporters—from kids to grandmothers—Beverly wants the next generation of girls to see the possibilities of who they can become, and for BLACK GIRLS ROCK! to continue to be a rallying cry and a movement that affirms the truth of Black women and girls.
BGR! BOOK CLUB
During the early years of her youth empowerment programs in New York City, Beverly hosted book club events to improve literacy rates among young girls. Hoping to reach even larger audiences, she recently launched the BGR! Book Club, a new BLACK GIRLS ROCK! initiative created together with Microsoft. The program is a way to promote girls’ empowerment, literacy, leadership. It offers an online space where young people can learn from one another, Black women authors can share their work, and participants can meet like-minded girls from all over the country.
Each month, the club highlights a new thought-provoking book from different genres, and hosts a live virtual event via Microsoft Teams featuring the book’s author in conversation with a BGR! Alumna. The large community of alumni provides an opportunity for girls who have graduated from BGR! programs to work with the BGR! movement.
These intergenerational connections play in important role in inspiring the next generation. And for Beverly, it’s gratifying to witness the brilliance of girls she mentored at the age of 13 as they transition into young adulthood.
“There was something so powerful about Danyel Smith’s book Shine Bright and the way she used her gift of writing and journalism to uplift other women. It inspired me to figure out ways that I can do the same.”
“I took so much away from Becoming by Michelle Obama about becoming who I am, what my journey looks like, who I'm shaping up to be, and that it’s OK to go through the hard challenges of life because they're not permanent.”
“Sula by Toni Morrison and Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid shaped the way I saw myself as a young black woman, and my expectations of myself when it comes to how I measure up to society, standards and the norms of womanhood”
“Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs was profoundly impactful for me. Jacobs made the journey and challenges of a girl escaping slavery still so relatable today.”
Beverly is acutely aware of how much work still needs to be done in the area of youth empowerment, but it hasn’t stopped her from seeking out bold, brave, and adventurous solutions. She’s made it her mission to find new and innovative ways to imbue Black women and girls with the self-confidence, leadership skills, and affirming experiences that are critical to developing the next generation of leaders.
As a former model and celebrity DJ, Beverly Bond witnessed firsthand the marginalization, stereotyping, and limited opportunities that women of color experience in her industries. Her personal journey of observation, resistance, and eventually affirmation led her to take a stand and shift paradigms around the representation of Black women in media and society.