Photo credit: Denis Makarenko /

Janet Jackson, Mary J Blige and the late Aretha Franklin were among the black women honored at this year’s Black Girls Rock Awards in New Jersey.

Is it just us, or do the awards get bigger and better every year? Other big names included dance pioneer Judith Jamison, supermodel Naomi Campbell, Lena Waithe, and Me Too founder Tarana Burke. A powerful list of women if ever there was one!

As expected, the red carpet arrivals were dynamic thanks to the unrivaled fashion choices, but the ceremony itself – in particular, the powerful speeches – were the real highlight.

A particular favorite moment was when Phylicia Rashad presented the Star Power award to Mary J Blige…

“Now that I am here, I know I have been rocking for years,” Mary J Blige said as she accepted her award.

“You all know that I have had my fair share of ups and downs. I have faced a lot of obstacles — some humiliating and embarrassing times.

“Because of you, I have come out on the other side each and every time.”

The audience also erupted with applause when Ciara presented the Rock Star award to Janet Jackson, who gave the most phenomenal acceptance speech…

“Black girls rock now more than ever, and girls, all I can say is rock on,” Janet Jackson said.

When she’s right, she’s right!

Black Girls Rock airs on September 9th – mark your calendars!