Reel Works Backstage at BET Black Girls Rock!

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On March 31st eight Reel Works students got the chance to watch the Black Girls Rock tech rehearsal just a night before the show broadcast on BET.

“It was such a wonderful experience,” said Fall 2015 Lab graduate Britni Robinson, age 16. “They gave us helpful feedback and information about different types of careers we are able to pursue, and insight on how they work to make sure every one of their performances go on without a hitch.”

Along with bumping into stars like Tracee Ellis Ross and peeking in on Monica rehearsing a new song with her young daughter, students got the chance to speak with several producers who worked on the show. Lynne Taylor, VP Specials at BET kindly took the time out to speak with us, along with other producers and members of the crew, to answer questions, offer advice and stay in contact. We learned about what happens behind the scenes at these events from handling copyright to booking the stars who appeared at the show to ordering the pieces of the set and overseeing those who built it.

This year’s Black Girls Rock event marked the tenth anniversary of the show, and aired on April 3rd. Honorees included musical icons Rihanna and Gladys Knight, writer/producer/showrunner Shonda Rhimes, actress and playwright Danai Gurira, actress, filmmaker and activist Amandla Stenberg, and Black Lives Matter founders Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi.

“I hope to apply their advice to my future in different ways,” added Britni. “It all starts IMG_3792 (1)with investing in yourself.”

Beverly Bond, who founded Black Girls Rock in 2006, is recognized as one of New York’s top DJs. Since the show first broadcast on BET in 2010, Beverly and her cause has earned more recognition. She has been recognized as one of Essence magazine’s 40 Fierce and Fabulous Women Who Are Changing the World, as well as Ebony’s Most Influential Blacks in America.

I know that I’m definitely glad that Beverly started Black Girls Rock. I never realized that there could be an entire show celebrated to women like me. Not only was it great to see black women recognized, but I loved the feeling of being surrounded by so many black women working in the industry. Many of the producers working on the show were black women, not to mention those honored.

“It was totally worth it,” said Juliana Greenidge, Reel Works Fall 2014 Lab student filmmaker, writer and director. I agree – as the field trip came to an end, students got the chance to take away extra memories. Our picture was posted on BET’s Instagram page, and as icing on the cake, we were invited back the very next evening to attend the actual live taping of the event! Big thanks to BET, friends of Reel Works and pioneers in the celebration of fierce women everywhere. It was truly an experience that will be difficult to forget.

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