Why can’t black women be presented in a positive light on a regular basis?

By: Taren Vaughan

Sisters and reality TV shows…My, what a horrible combination. Since the debuts of shows like “The Flavor of Love” and “Bad Girls Club”, the way that we brown girls are being displayed on television has become down right embarrassing and damn near predictable to say the least. Based on the previews alone, you already know when at least one sister is going to cut up on a show before it even airs. As these shows serve to satisfy our guilty reality TV pleasures, there is a serious question that must be asked: Where are the shows that do more than constantly show black women cursing each other out and fighting over washed-up celebrities (Sorry Flav)? Well Thank God for the brilliance of Beverly Bond, we sisters have now had a chance to see ourselves reflected in a more positive way.

“BLACK GIRLS ROCK!” Inc. began as a non-profit organization in 2006 that focused on developing young African American females into powerful community leaders and women of empowerment. But Bond felt like it was due time for viewing audiences to see just how influential, inspiring and gifted women of color can be, thus leading to the birth of the “BLACK GIRLS ROCK!” awards. BET’s Debra Lee must have felt the same way as it became a televised event, making its worldwide debut on November 7th, 2010.

Now this show was a far cry from what people are used to seeing from us. Yes, this was not your typical display of black women on TV. No hair pulling, cat fights or indecent exposure going on in this one. And the infamous booty shaking moments and stripper dancing that we are so well known for were definitely nowhere to be found. Instead, everyone got a chance to see strong, uplifting sisters be praised for the things that they have done and all the lives that they have touched along the way.

Hosted by actress Nia Long, “BLACK GIRLS ROCK!” honored black women of all age groups. The one thing about this show was that it did not only give hard working celebrities a time to shine. Oh no, it didn’t stop there. Young African American women who founded organizations and started programs within their communities were acknowledged for all the great things that they have done as well. Throughout the show, various actresses, philanthropists, singers and community leaders were acknowledged for their contributions. One of the most memorable moments of the show had to have been when Ruby Dee was honored for all of her successes as an Award-winning actress. If it weren’t for this woman, there would be no Taraji P. Henson, Angela Bassett or Kimberly Elise. For the younger generation, actress KeKe Palmer was given an award as well. Beyond her outstanding performance in “Akeelah And The Bee”, Miss Palmer has really made little black girls across the globe believe that they too one day could be the next True Jackson, VP of a major fashion company. More star appearances included musical performances from Keyshia Cole, Jill Scott, Monica, Marsha Ambrosius and many more. The show brought us sisters from all areas of entertainment imaginable; black women who shine regardless of who is paying attention or not.

With all these beautiful, intelligent and gifted black women out here, why did it take so long for a show like this to surface? I don’t know about you but it has been long overdue for sisters to have something that focuses on the positive things that we can bring to the table. Empowerment and personal growth is what we all should be striving towards. Not a lead role in the next Lil’ Wayne video. After the airing of “BLACK GIRLS ROCK!”, maybe we will see the emergence of more positive shows centered on African American women. Hell, with any luck, maybe a great TV series could be in the making. With all the trashy shows that we wind up on and become the headliners for, Lord knows we need it.

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