I’ve had the honor of holding down the bass chair for Black Girls Rock! for the past five years and I have to say this past BGR was probably one of thee best shows ever. Led by the incomparable Kim Burse (Beyonce, JLo, Ciara, Monica) the musical portion of the show features performances by some of the top women in the music industry. We’ve backed artists like Patti Labelle, Fantasia, Ledisi, Jazmine Sullivan, Monica, Erykah Badu, Gladys Knight, Traci Ellis Ross, and many more incredible artists. The show shines a spotlight on the work many Black women do in their communities. From Tarana Burke, to Dr. Helene D. Gayle, to young community organizers and activists like Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, BGR! has been honoring the work of African-American women for almost a decade. Special guests like Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and Maxine Waters have been presented with honors and acknowledgement for the work they continue to do to help create an atmosphere for women to foster creativity and activism while shattering glass ceilings globally.
This past show was nothing short of amazing. Hosted by Queen Latifah herself, the show continues in the tradition of honoring the past present and future female leaders of the world. We were graced with the presence of superstar Janet Jackson, Judith Jamison, Naomi Campbell, Mary J Blige, and Lena Waithe. With special performances by new artist sensations H.E.R. and Victory Boyd and a new music debut by Tamia, the night exuded feminine power. My absolute favorite part of the show is the star studded tribute to the late great Aretha Franklin featuring Ledisi, Jazmine Sullivan, Fantasia, Yolanda Adams, Cynthia Erivo, and the legend herself, Stephanie Mills. The power in this for me is that the entire tribute consisted of all female singers AND musicians, paying homage to the woman who taught women what RESPECT meant. How powerful indeed. (The very first rap I ever wrote was called RESPECT). I hope you tune in and I hope it is not lost on you how extraordinary it is to have such a platform for black women to shine. It truly is filled with Black Girl Magic and Black Woman Regal.
I am particularly proud and honored to be part of this show every year. The band, which consists of all women of color, work really hard to bring the musical component to the show alive. And we are all at the top of our game. There are so many moving parts but we all work together to make sure we represent the women musicians who hustle every day to work and be recognized in this industry. We do so at the highest levels of professionalism and musicianship.
So, I hope you’re watching and paying attention because in spite of the visceral hate being spread in this country, we are spreading the love and bringing awareness of all the seemingly impossible things we a can do if we do so as a community.
I hope you enjoy the show and please, give a little love to the band.
Kim Burse (Keys/MD), Cora Coleman (Drums), Divinity Roxx (Bass), Keyanna Hutchinson (Guitar), Crystal Vargas (Percussion), Brittani Washington (Keys), Katty Rodriguez (Tenor, Alto, Baritone Sax), Raynel Frazier (Trombone), Kiku Collins (trumpet), Jackie Coleman (trumpet), Ayana George (BGV), Latayvia Cherry (BGV), Martine Celisca, (BGV) Gabrielle Murphy and Brianna Washington (Assist to MD).