BET Networks fifth annual BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ paid tribute to six groundbreaking women in the areas of entertainment, education, philanthropy, and health. Hosts Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King return to the show for their fourth year along with honorees Jada Pinkett Smith (Star Power Award), Ava DuVernay (Shot Caller Award), Cicely Tyson (Living Legend Award), Erykah Badu (Rock Star Award), Nadia Lopez(Change Agent Award) and Dr. Helene D. Gayle (Social Humanitarian Award) as well as 2015’s P&G sponsored M.A.D. Girls Chental-Song Bembry, Gabrielle Jordan and Kaya Thomas.
First Lady Michelle Obama stole the show with an empowering speech on the importance of education, proclaiming that Black girls do indeed rock! The show displayed vivacious vocals and memorable performances from Ciara, Estelle, Jill Scott, Fantasia, Sheila E, Lalah Hathaway, Cheryl Lynn, Alicia Myers, and Kathy Sledge, who ended the night with a surprise throwback medley including “Got To Be Real,” “I Want to Thank You,” and “We Are Family”.
Fans excitedly welcomed Will Smith who presented his wife Jada Pinkett Smith with the ‘Star Power Award,’ sponsored by Chevrolet and shared a steamy kiss on-stage. Afterward, Cicely Tyson, who was presented with the ‘Living Legend Award,’ shared inspiring tales of both triumph and tribulation from her beginnings as an actress.