BGR dancers

Students dance during the Black Girls Rock event

Photo courtesy of: Multicultural Programs

BGR Stephanie Sanders

Stephanie Sanders, assistant director in the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, accepts her outstanding faculty award

Photo courtesy of: Multicultural Programs

BGR BSU members

Members of the Black Student Union pose for a picture

Photo courtesy of: Multicultural Programs

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Black Girls Rock honors outstanding women of color

The Ohio University Black Student Union hosted an award show Feb. 23 in Baker University Center Ballroom to appreciate and recognize women of color who have outstanding accomplishments in their time on campus.

Tyla Young, a BSU member and the lead visionary for the program, said that in the spirit of Black History Month she felt that this was something much needed by the Ohio University community.

"It was to address all of the great things that African-American women are doing now that are relevant to our lives here in Athens," said Young. "We all have contributions worth recognizing and that's what this was about."

Modeled after the Black Entertainment Television program "Black Girls Rock" that began in 2006, this student-run program by the same name awarded women in the categories of academics, campus involvement, performing arts, community service, Miss Congeniality, outstanding faculty member, and outstanding graduate student. 

All of the women in each category were nominated by their peers, and winners were recognized individually at the program.

All nominees sat in anticipation as their categories were called, each holding single roses as their gift for being nominated. Claps erupted in the room after each name was announced to celebrate all of the accomplished women.

Shambrion Treadwell, a sophomore theater major, was a two-time winner in the categories of performing art and Miss Congeniality. 

During one of her acceptance speeches she told the audience that many people told her she was a fool for majoring in theater, but being recognized makes her proud of her decision.

"I was honored to be nominated and put into categories with women I admire and look up to and I do everything because I love it," said Treadwell. "African-American women are the most overlooked and underestimated and it feels so good to be uplifted and empowered to continue our hard work."

Other winners included:

Academics: Brittainy Erby
Community Service: Chadonn Cummings
Campus Involvement: Tiarra Comer
Faculty: Stephanie Sanders
Graduate Student: Danielle Echols

In between the announcements of the winners, performances showcased the talents of many students and groups on campus. Athens Black Contemporary Dancers, FACES modeling and MarvelOUs Dancers performed were among the groups that performed for the audience. Various songs and monologs also were performed during the evening.

Former Ohio University administrator Brandi Baker gave the keynote speech. During her speech, she encouraged self love in young women and challenged them to uplift each other and recognize that everyone has something unique to offer the world.

The Black Student Union plans to make Black Girls Rock an annual part of its Black History Month celebration.