Some major celebrities gathered Saturday night to celebrate the accomplishments of black entertainers, philanthropists, business owners and others at the Black Girls Rock 2017 event in New Jersey.
Hosted by “Empire” star Taraji P. Henson, BET’s annual event, held at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey, brought out top stars from “Black-ish” star Yara Shahidi to Congresswoman Maxine Waters. Also recognized were music legend Roberta Flack, pop star Solange, and “Insecure” creator and star Issa Rae.
The event, created by philanthropist Beverly Bond, also featured stellar musical performances from SZA, Anthony Hamilton and Ledisi, along with a musical tribute to Flack.
Although the event won’t air until August 22 on BET, we’ve collected the most inspirational quotes from the evening’s acceptance speeches to get you feeling empowered before you can watch the full show.
Read our favorites below:
“Once I learned to like me more than others did, I didn’t have to worry about being the funniest, or the most popular or the prettiest,” she said. “I was the best me, and I’ve only ever tried to be that. So I want to thank the black girls rock for honoring the version of me that I hope will only improve and I’m a black girl who rocks baby!”
“Celebrate your successes,” the Living Legend recipient said while receiving her award. “Learn through your mistakes. Be grateful forgive and persevere. I always say and I’ve always said, somewhere in my comment to other people love is a song. Love is a song. Each of you has a song in your heart and you keep singing that song, whatever that looks like.”
Congresswoman Maxine Waters:
“I am you and you are me. We have power we have endurance. We can do things that others have told us we can’t do. I don’t care how big you are. I don’t how high you think you are, if you come for me, I’m coming for you,” the Social Humanitarian awardee said.
“When I was a young girl, I was searching and searching and searching for language to articulate who I was and what I felt like inside and I wanna tell the young black girls who might be watching out here that I’m still searching,” the Rock Star honoree said. “And I don’t always have it. Don’t always have it figured out. There have days when I feel very insecure and I feel like I failed. There are days when I feel so [expletive] weird and alone but I get up and I want you to know that you…