Royalty in Our DNA: Black Girls Rock! the Stage, the Screen and the Red Carpet

Debra Martin Chase, left, Regina King, Angela Bassett and Beverly Bond appear onstage at Black Girls Rock 2019 Hosted By Niecy Nash at NJPAC on August 25, 2019, in Newark, N.J.
Photo: Astrid Stawiarz (Getty Images for BET)

As the cameras panned the audience at the 2019 Black Girls Rock! ceremony, which aired on BET Sunday night, the breadth of black beauty was absolutely breathtaking. Every age, shade, style and shape were represented, making Angela Bassett’s statement that “We were present for each other tonight,” all the more poignant as black women both present and watching from home passionately cheered her—and each other—on.


“When you’re told you’re not good enough, you tell them, not only am I good enough; I’m more than enough,” said Bassett. “When they say, “send her back home, you tell them, I am home; I am the foundation of what we call home. When they tell you that you’re angry, or nasty, you tell them they’re mistaken. This is me; this is me being resolute and standing firmly in my truth. And when they say you’re not beautiful, you tell them that you are a descendant of royalty; you are a queen,” she concluded.

But the night’s celebration of the power of black women began on the red carpet, where some of our royalty showed up in their finest to honor each other and treat us to some impromptu black girl magic (in four bars, no less) as they greeted red carpet host Jessie Woo.

Ciara, Remy Ma, and Issa Rae all came with the slay, as per usual, but among the best of the night? India.Arie, who has thankfully never been “the average girl from the video,” but has become one of our favorites in style evolution, giving us full-on classic Hollywood bombshell glamour as she took the Black Girls Rock! stage to woo us with some “Steady Love”—complete with a very sexy thigh-high slit. C’mon, legs!

India Arie
Photo: Jemal Countess (Getty Images for BET)

“The future is female, but it is present, and we are here to rock it out tonight,” said BET Head of Programming Connie Orlando. And rock it out, we did; check out the rest of the night’s red yellow carpet looks in our slideshow below.


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Maiysha Kai

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. Minneapolis born, Chicago bred, New York built. Nuance is her superpower.