“I really love the positive energy that the Madison Black Women Rock event exudes — the relationship building ... the positivism,” says Corinda Rainey-Moore. “I’m at a point in my life where I don’t want the negativity. I don’t want anything to bring me down. I love this group of women who have this ‘can-do’ attitude. They believe that they can do anything and that empowers other women to believe that they can do anything, too.”
Nine leading ladies are on a mission to prove that black women [and girls!] do indeed rock in the Greater Madison area as they will co-host the 2nd Annual Madison Black Women Rock Awards Celebration on Saturday, Nov. 9, 5-10 p.m., at the Marquis Ballroom.
The Madison Times sat down at Cargo Coffee with six of the Madison Black Women Rock Planning Committee members — Jacquesha McFarlane, Jacquelyn Hunt, Lisa Peyton Caire, Nia Enemuoh-Trammell, Keetra Burnette, and Corinda Rainey-Moore. The other planning committee members are Vanika Mock, Lakendra Adesuyi, and Kiah Calmese-Walker.
“This will be an amazing event. You will walk into the Marquis Ballroom and find lush pinks and blacks and silvers … bling and sparkle,” McFarlane says. “The ambience will be elegant and empowering. It will be welcoming, too. There will be a red carpet. They will take pictures.
“Hopefully, you will take pictures,” McFarlane adds with a smile. “We have a great program for the night and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Hosted in tandem with Black Entertainment Television's fourth nationally televised installment of the Black Girls Rock concert and awards show, Madison Black Women Rock aims to inspire African American women and girls to pursue their passions while recognizing and supporting one another’s achievements. Under the theme 'Madison Black Girls Rock - A Celebration of Sisters Who Are Getting It Done!', the event will empower local Black women and girls by showcasing and celebrating their many positive contributions to family, community, business, as well as their creative endeavors.
“It’s a cross-generational event. There will be women of varying economic statuses; people of all different types of backgrounds. Last year was such an eclectic group of women. We rocked. It was awesome,” says Hunt. “I’m out in the community a lot with just regular people — people who are not connected in any professional capacity — and they are so excited about this event.”
Last year's inaugural Black Girls Rock event was held at the Hotel Red downtown and was a big success. “The thing that I liked the most about last year’s event was the positive energy and the connections and the bonds that were established among black women in the city of Madison,” Burnette says. “It was also great to see the new faces that I saw that I had never seen before. I also got to learn about all of the wonderful things that the nominees had done that I otherwise would not have known about. I thought, overall, it was very successful.”
Black women and girls are often overlooked for the many roles that they play and the countless achievements and contributions they make daily not only for their families and their neighborhoods, but for their community.
“Last year’s event was a celebration of connection, sisterhood, awareness, and appreciation for all of us. It was a celebration of true sisterhood and I had never felt that before in Madison,” Burnette says. “We hope to build upon that great experience for this year’s event.”
At the end of last year’s event, the women put out a call to action for everyone to meet somebody that they didn’t know that night, connect with that person, and schedule regular check-ins. “So, this year it will be cool to see how many people actually did that,” Burnette says.
“People walked out of last year’s event thinking that they couldn’t believe there were that many black women in Madison,” Peyton Caire adds. “Our hope is that the ladies make long-term connections.”
At the 2013 Madison Black Women Rock, awards will be presented in seven categories to black women and girls nominated by their peers for leadership and commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of others; working to address and solve pressing community concerns; balancing motherhood, work, and volunteerism; and making exceptional strides in advancing themselves and others in meaningful ways. The award segment will be followed by a celebration of the many accomplishments of the awardees. The nominees will know that they have been nominated but they won’t know who won until they are announced.
“That’s why this event is so important because it does give hope to women who may not normally have the confidence to step out there and say, ‘I have an idea. I have a vision. I have a dream,’” Peyton Caire says. “Here you are surrounded by women, you are hearing stories, you are seeing women getting awards who aren’t necessarily known across Madison but you are learning about what the significant work they are doing. And you are thinking, ‘if she can do it; I can do it, too!’
“It’s a beautiful thing to see in a city where we don’t see a lot of black women leading and creating,” Peyton Caire adds. “This breaks the whole notion that we, as black women, can’t create…. [that we] can’t be in the forefront.”
While last year's event was free, admission to this event is $25. Admission includes entertainment, salad, appetizer platters, unlimited non-alcoholic beverages, goodie bags, and networking with 200 of Madison's leading ladies. Food will be catered by the Marquis Ballroom.
“As fabulous as last year’s experience was, we really wanted to be more intentional in delivering an experience that Black Women Rock deserves,” Burnette says. “We don’t want to discount ourselves to ourselves. We have to be used to supporting each other and recognize that this is something that we should save for if we need to. It’s an investment. It’s not something that you will see every day. It’s something that you might see in Madison maybe 2 or 3 times a year.”
There will be a few scholarships available for women who absolutely cannot afford this event, but they really want the women to invest in Black Women Rock. The event will raise money for Nehemiah’s Real Artists at Work (RAW). “All proceeds will go to development of youth that participate in that program,” Burnette says. “They do fantastic work.”
It will be a night of inspiration and fun, but an important part of the event will be networking.
“All black women need to come to this event. You will meet women here that you’ve never met before and the relationships will turn into a long-term thing,” Peyton Caire says. “It will be a great networking event.”
“If you want to do well; be around people who are doing well. If you want to move forward in your career or in your aspirations, be around other people who are doing some of the things that you like to do so that you can connect with them and understand what it took for them to get there,” says Hunt.
“As African American women, we harshly judge each other. Sometimes, we forget when we get there to come on back and help bring other women up,” she continues. “Because someone was there to bring us up, we have to go back and help. I think this event is one of the catalysts of many that helps to bridge that.”
It’s a movement to build that sisterhood of black women so they can not only support each other, but to show the community that they are much more than what they might see on TV. This year, Madison Black Women Rock are gathering at a bigger venue. There are 200 seats available and the ladies are expected to sell out. “We are capping it at 200 women even though we could fit another 50 or 60 people in there,” says Enemuoh-Trammell. “We want people to be comfortable.”
Someday, as it continues to grow, the women envision the event being held at a huge place like the Alliant Energy Center or Monona Terrace. “We have enough women to fill the seats at those places,” Burnette says. “Hopefully, we can bring all of this together to build towards this larger initiative which is to build the foundation of a stronger base of all black women in Madison.”
The 2nd Annual Madison Black Women Rock Awards Celebration will take place on Saturday, Nov. 9, 5-10 p.m., at the Marquis Ballroom, 6220 Nesbitt Rd. in Fitchburg.
To register, donate online, or for details and instructions for award nominations, visit www.mbwr2013.eventbrite.com . Questions and other inquiries should be emailed to email@example.com.