3rd Annual Black Girls Rock! Awards

3rd Annual Black Girls Rock! Awards
ESSENCE.COM Nov, 03, 2008

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Singer Erykah Badu, who’s expecting her third child, makes her way inside the New York City event.

“I’m really grateful and thankful to be awarded,” said Badu as she accepted her Rock Star Award. "I don’t take it for granted at all. Before I was a recording artist, I was a teacher, and once I got on stage, it was therapy for me.

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UK sensation Estelle received the Who Got Next? Award and was thankful for American fans embracing her just the way she is.

“Thank you, guys, for letting me do exactly what I do, and just letting me be me,” she told the crowd with her distinct London accent and fly-girl swag.

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Motown Records President Sylvia Rhone continues to support the event, having been awarded the Corporate Award at last year’s gala.

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Iman accepts the Black Girls Rock! Social Humanitarian Award.

“I am Iman. I am African and a drug dealer,” the supermodel-turned-entrepreneur said, on her dedication to improving access to AIDS medications to her home continent.

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Author, humanitarian and former ESSENCE Editorial Director Susan L. Taylor served as the night’s keynote speaker and encouraged women to be kind in their love for themselves and their mates.

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Pam Grier looked fierce while waiting to accept her Living Legend Award. The accomplished actress shared with attendees her journey from tomboy to leading lady.

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Actress and model Kenya Moore makes a fashionable arrival and presented stylist June Ambrose with the Black Girls Rock! Fashionista Award.

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Rhone presents Badu with the Rock Star Award and a kiss.

“Sometimes it’s hard to grow, and definitely hard to grow publicly,” Badu said. "I appreciate you all being patient. It’s so rewarding when you are given something that means a lot from your peers and your elders.

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Actress and newlywed Malinda Williams works her way down the red carpet. She presented the Soul Brother #1 Award with former Soul Food series costar and good friend Vanessa Williams.

“It’s important for us to see ourselves in our inspirational light and to see our role models,” she tells ESSENCE.com.

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Hip-hop artist Teyana Taylor and singer-songwriter-producer Ryan Leslie presented the Who Got Next? Award to Estelle.

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Actress Vanessa Williams was excited to attend the event.

“It’s a mirror,” she tells ESSENCE.com of being in the midst of some of entertainment’s top Black women. "You see yourself and witness others like Iman for other things they do besides what we know them for. They are doing things with their status to make all our lives better. "

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Vanessa, Iman, and Malinda prove Black women definitely rock.

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Actress and host for the night Regina King shows off her svelte physique.

“I’m working these Stuart Weitzmans,” she said of her shoes. “It’s wonderful to celebrate women openly and pay homage to the spirit that connects us all, and I will keep coming back.”

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Singer-songwriter-producer Ryan Leslie is all smiles as he attends the event.

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Black Girls Rock! Founder Beverly Bond brought her third annual awards ceremony to life and deejayed the event.

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Valerie Bell holds up a button of her slain son, Sean, after receiving the Monument Award with his fiancée, Nicole Paultre Bell.

“My son’s death won’t be in vain,” she said. “We will keep his memory alive.”

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Melvin Van Peebles presented Pam Grier with the Living Legend Award.

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Singer Suai serenaded the crowd with a song from her upcoming album. The singer is also set to perform at ESSENCE’s Young Women’s Leadership Conference on November 8.

“Events like this are important to highlight the positive things Black women are doing for our families and jobs, and I’m really excited to be asked to participate,” Suai tells ESSENCE.com.

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Veronica Webb strikes a pose with mentor and friend Iman.

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Makeup artist AJ Crimson joined the festivities, counting many of the night’s guests as clients.

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