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 upbringing—having 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.