Blazing trails in music, entertainment and social entrepreneurship industries, Beverly Bond is a dynamo in true form; solidifying her as one of the most honored DJ’s and social innovators of our time.
Building the philanthropic organization, Black Girls Rock! She found her purpose foreseeing a vision to empower black women everywhere. And since 2006, what started as a modest t-shirt idea, quickly developed into a major televised movement.
Check out our one on one with Beverly Bond and what she had to say about creating her brand, advice to young entrepreneurs and what female artists today she considers a Black Girl That Rocks!
Photo Credit: Getty Images
How did Black Girls Rock get started?
I started in 2006. Originally it was going to be an idea that I had for a t-shirt. I was designing this t-shirt and writing down the names of so many black women who rocked; both currently and in history, and as I’m looking at these names of Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Nikki Giovanni, Alicia Keys and Kerry Washington, I remembered thinking this is just too big. This is bigger than me and this t-shirt.
It’s an affirmation to women, and I felt obligated to showcase this to the world and present an awards show to honor these incredibly powerful women who are continuing to make waves in history, yet go unrecognized in comparison to other women.
What was the message that you were trying to create?
Well I thought it was a disservice for the women who go unrecognized, and more so a disservice to our girls to not see how great we are. And if they don’t see how great they are, do they know how great they can become. That’s the reason I started it and I wanted to get that message across. I never looked back from that point. I knew that this was powerful, necessary and needed.
You were a DJ and extremely big in the entertainment industry. What did it mean for you to create this brand?
Well being in the industry, I was alarmed by some of the things that were being said and taught to our children; not just our girls but also our boys. I was considering how this was affecting our children, their relationships, self esteem and the way boys looked at our girls. How is this affecting the way boys are treating our girls and how girls are treating themselves. You see all of these things happening, hear all of these wild stories and you cannot pretend as if media messages don’t affect the way our children are brought up.
How would you define a “black girl that rocks”?
I wanted to give our girls a choice and say, “ let me show you what greatness really looks like,” Black Girls rock. I define that as having high standards, integrity and excellence. Let’s define that as understanding the importance of sisterhood, and understanding the importance of services; and that you are not here alone. Let’s define that as finding your spiritual purpose in life and that we are all here for a meaning.
Partnering up with BET, how did you get them on board with your vision?
Well, when I started BGR! back in 2006, I knew Stephen Hill from when I was a DJ at 106&Park and I asked him if he would be on my host committee. I was trying to get names of people I knew in the industry and Stephen was like “go ahead and use my name,” not even knowing what it was. So he came to the awards show and he wrote me back afterwards and said, “Beverly I’ve never been so inspired and so honored to have my name associated with something.” So that’s where the conversation began and over the years I always knew that BGR message needed to be on Black Entertainment Television! I felt that’s where the message was needed the most.
What advice do you give to young black women who want to start their own businesses and take the entrepreneur route?
I absolutely think it’s important to explore what it is they want to do. You have to be ready to invest your own time and money; so time management is important, figuring out how you’re going to invest your business is important, finding allies who believe in your mission and your vision is going to become important and making sure you have a plan. It needs to be a well thought out plan, and focus and vision. I think that’s what got me here; the passion, the focus and the mission.
How do you feel about black women portrayal in reality TV?
I think there are many messages that are really dangerous and harmful to our young women, and harmful to the importance of sisterhood. I find that women can be your best allies, and if you teach girls at a young age that women are your enemies and you have to fight them, do you know all of the resources there about to lose by taking this approach towards women?
Do you watch shows like Basketball Wives?
I have seen it in the past, I don’t know what’s happening right now. I do try to make sure I’m aware of what’s happening in the world because I don’t like to speak on what I don’t know but actually I’ve been so busy in my own world, I don’t know what’s happening. Why, something new? [laughs!]
Nothing new at all! You’re not missing out! But who are some female artists out now that you think rock? Who motivates you of our generation?
I didn’t think so! Artistically, I think Janelle Monae is a great example of a black girl that rocks. She’s so passionate about her craft and her art. She has meaning in message behind her work. Beyonce’s work ethic is incredible, Jill Scott and Ledisi. Love Kerri Washington and Regina King. There are so many great women.
Are there any other projects you have coming up?
I’m constantly working on creating. I do have other television projects that I’m working on. I just inked a new deal with BET and part of that is a development deal so I’m excited about that. You guys are actually the first to know that! Also, just expanding the BGR programs and empowering more girls and expanding our camps, there’s just so many things in the works for this.