Honoring the Activism and Creative Work of Black Women

At this weekend’s BET Awards, Solange Knowles honored Women’s March on Washington co-organizer Tamika D. Mallory with the Shine a Light Award. Mallory, a tireless pursuant of justice for women and people of color, also received $10,000 to continue her work.

“This past week, we have been reminded of just how much work needs to be done,” Knowles said while presenting the award—a reference to the recent acts of police violence and the Black victims of police brutality denied justice who came to the forefront last week. She asked everyone to join her in a moment of silence to honor those victims. After sharing Mallory’s activist background and upbringinghaving been raised by parents who were founding members of the National Action Network—Solange also highlighted the importance of Mallory’s work. “Her efforts in helping to organize the Women’s March was, as she states, ‘to ensure that Black women’s voices were upheld, uplifted and that our issues were addressed and heard,'” Knowles said.
“Tamika ensured just that.”

After Solange concluded her speech, Mallory proudly raised her fist.

Solange returned to the stage later that evening to accept the Centric Award for her song “Cranes in the Sky.” In her acceptance speech, Solange highlighted the power and importance of representation in the media. “I just want to thank BET for my teenage years, giving me images of queens like Missy Elliott and Lil’ Kim and Aaliyah and Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill,” said Solange, “and showing me those images and letting me know that the sky’s the limit.”

This year’s BET Awards shed light on various crucial topics—including the powerful organizing done by African American women around the country and how much is left to be done in the fight for racial and gender justice.


Ciarra Davison is a former Ms. Editorial Intern who graduated from UCLA, where she studied English and wrote for the Politics section of FEM Newsmagazine. After a year and a half of traveling and working throughout Europe, Central and South America, she now lives in Washington, D.C., where she reports on the ground for Ms. She works to bring underrepresented stories to light, and in her spare time, enjoys hiking towards waterfalls and dancing while cooking.