This Sunday “BLACK GIRLS ROCK! 2011” returns to BET, celebrating some of the best and brightest women of color.

Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King were amazing as the co-host with chemistry and charm!  Regina hosted in 2008 when the awards were still an intimate and non-televised event. “It’s wonderful to celebrate women openly and pay homage to the spirit that connects us all, and I will keep coming back,” she told me then, and has stayed true to her word.

The awards are the highlight of my year. I was so blessed to attend the taping again this year and absorb the amazingness of icons and sheroes from Mary J. Blige to Angela Davis. Especially since I wasn’t even sure I would be going until the day before!

Maybe it was my southern upbringing, but when I first came to NYC I waited for the invitations for my social life instead of being proactive on how I wanted to spend my time. I was fortunate to have great friends and a “cool” job, so concerts, dinners and parties came my way. And that lifestyle had me spoiled.

One of the biggest milestones and blessings thus far was being laid off with my team exactly two years ago today! I had an extraordinary experience at my first job and leaving it gave me a chance to not let life happen to me and decide where I wanted to go and how I would get there. I also had the reality check that no one was going to deliver my dreams to me. I had to get up each day and make them happen. I am better, stronger and smarter for it.

I covered the Black Girls Rock Awards back when they weren’t a big production. When the awards headed to BET last year the usual confirmation wasn’t as easy. It took more hustle to get there, making me appreciate the privilege even more. I was back in the driver seat of my life and experiencing my personal favorites Ruby Dee and Jill Scott in the same night was proof I was on the right road. I took that boost into 2011 where I saw myself doing workshops at my parents’ Alma Mater, seeing Jill Scott perform her new album, lunching with the ladies of the Links, and yet again attending Black Girls Rock! – all of which took some elbow grease and a smile to make happen.

When I stopped waiting to be invited, my life opened up. This is why I rock!

Tune in to the awards Sunday on BET at 8pm!

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