On Saturday, October 13, 2012, extraordinary women of color came together for BLACK GIRLS ROCK! 2012, an evening commemorating the achievements and accomplishments of women and girls from diverse fields -- ranging from entertainment and business to social activism. Co-hosted for a second consecutive year by Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King, BLACK GIRLS ROCK! 2012 honored actress Kerry Washington,Grammy Award-winning music legend Dionne Warwick, accomplished singer-songwriter Alicia Keys, captivating songstress Janelle Monae, human rights activists Dr. Hawa Abdi and her daughters and iconic editor, writer and journalist Susan L. Taylor. Star-studded performances fromAlicia Keys, Brandy, Keyshia Cole, India.Arie, Ciara, SWV and others set the stage for an inspirational and entertaining show, which airs today, November 4, 2012 at 7p.m./ET exclusively on BET.
To kick off the festivities, Alicia Keys -- backed by an all-female drum line -- marched down the theater aisles singing her hit anthem "It's a New Day," as the audience rose to its feet. Keys then followed up with a stirring performance of her 2012 smash "Girl on Fire," for an electrifying and momentous show opener. Fashionable co-hosts Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King took the stage to welcome the crowd and introduce Eva Longoria, who presented her long-time friend, actress Kerry Washington,with the coveted Star Power Award.
The evening was marked by inspiring, motivating and encouraging words from the celebrants, including Young Gifted and Black Award recipient Janelle Monae, who moved the audience with memories from her youth and ended her earnest and emotional speech with a charge to the next generation of female leaders: "Perfection is often the enemy of greatness. I did not have to change who I was to become a Cover Girl. Always be you," said Monae.
Alicia Keys accepted the Rock Star Award from presenter Gabrielle Union and credited her mother and grandmother for being such strong, motivating forces in her life. And in the spirit of a new generation of legends in the making, international songstressMarsha Ambrosius bestowed music icon Dionne Warwick with the Living Legend Award.
2011 BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Star Power Award recipient Taraji P. Henson paid it forward by presenting the Inspiration Award toSusan L. Taylor, celebrated writer, magazine editor and journalisT. Taylor, who recounted her 37-year career at Essence Magazine, encouraged young women to stay true to themselves, keep the faith and strive for the best life has to offer.
The Social Humanitarian Award, presented by Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King, was awarded to 2012 Nobel Peace Prize nominees Dr. Hawa Abdi and her daughters, Dr. Deqo Mohamed and Dr. Amina Mohamed -- also known as "the Saints ofSomalia." Dr. Deqo Mohamed accepted the honor in her mother's absence and charged the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! movement to continue spreading its message of empowerment not just domestically, but internationally.
Captivating musical performances from Brandy, Keyshia Cole and SWV were featured throughout the evening, entertaining the crowd and adding to the spirited occasion. Following a performance of her two latest singles "Sweat" and "Sorry," R&B Princess Ciara rocked the house with throwback hit "1, 2 Step," which featured a surprise guest appearance by the legendary Missy Elliot. Adding to the evening's power-packed performances was soulful songbird India.Arie, who dedicated a heartfelt rendition of her anthem "I Am Not My Hair" to television anchor and cancer survivor Robin Roberts.
For the first time in BLACK GIRLS ROCK! awards show history, a distinguished group of men took the stage for the first-ever, all-male tribute. Actor Idris Elba entered the stage to an overwhelming and thunderous reception and introduced R&B croonersEric Benet, Anthony Hamilton and newcomer/BET Music Matters artist Luke James, who sang a soulful version of the O'Jays classic, "Wildflower."