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2017 ‘Black Girls Rock’ honorees celebrate empowerment

“Black women make me feel invincible.” -@saintrecords #BlackGirlsRock

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‘Black Girls Rock’ hits BET airwaves on Tuesday

Golden Globe-winning actress Taraji P. Henson will host “Black Girls Rock! 2017, airing at 8 p.m. Tuesday on BET.

Recorded on Aug. 5 before a live audience at the Performing Arts Center in Newark, N.J., the awards program is now in its ninth year. It was created by philanthropist Beverly Bond and celebrating the contributions of Black women in the fields of music, entertainment, medicine, entrepreneurship and visionary aspects.

“Celebrants” for 2017 honors include Congresswoman Maxine Waters (Social Humanitarian), actress Issa Rae (Star Power), Black and Missing Foundation Inc. founders Natalie Wilson and Derrica Wilson (Community Change Agent), Grammy Award-winning songstress Roberta Flack (Living Legend), businesswoman Suzanne Shank (Shot Caller) and “Black-ish” star Yara Shahidi (Young, Gifted and Black).

While accepting her award earlier this month, Rae, best known for her web series “Awkward Black Girl,” said, “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.

“I was the best me, and I’ve only ever tried to be that,” she said. “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!”

In her powerful acceptance speech, Waters, a Democrat in California, said, “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 [care] how high you think you are, if you come for me, I’m coming for you.”

Performers at the evening of empowerment include Anthony Hamilton, India Arie, Ledisi, Sza, Tasha Cobbs Leonard and Tyrese. The star-studded roster of presenters includes Maxwell, Wood Harris, Tiffany Haddish, Robin Thede, Anthony Anderson, Jay Ellis, Anika Noni Rose, Jussie Smollett, Ne-Yo, Laz Alonso and Rutina Wesley.

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