Madison Montgomery prepares for Black Girls Rock award ceremony

Award show "by Black girls for Black girls" returns to in-person format

In 2019, Madison Montgomery attended her first Black Girls Rock award ceremony as a freshman.

“It was magical,” she said. “As a Black girl, to see all of the Black women in the room and to see what they're doing on campus.”

She did not know at the time that three years later, she would spearhead the ceremony during her final year at CMU.

The annual award show shines a light on Black women on campus, like Montgomery, honoring their accomplishments and recognizing their important impact at the university.

“In some circumstances as a minority on a campus, it can seem like you have a harder path to go down to get into leadership positions or to be able to really make a change or to be heard,” she said. “As a freshman, going to (Black Girls Rock) allowed for me to get dressed and feel pretty and feel important. It allowed for me to see all of what I could do and how much further I could take it.” 

During COVID-19, Black Girls Rock hosted two virtual ceremonies, but Feb. 27 will be the first in-person ceremony since 2019. Delta Sigma Theta, Pinky Promise and Phenomenal Brown Girl collaborated to host the free event.

“Ultimately, the vision was to have an event, especially after the pandemic, to bring people together to have a room full of love, and inspiration,” Montgomery said.

A social hour before the event starts at 6:30 p.m. where people can enjoy refreshments, network and share ideas to improve CMU.

The award ceremony begins at 7:15 p.m. The Bovee University Center Rotunda will be donned with interstellar decorations to compliment the stars of the event: Black women.

Montgomery invited President Davies, administration and several different campus organizations to attend.

“If you have a business, bring your business cards," she said. "If you have a dream you want to see or have a vision for the campus, bring ideas."

The event will also feature two keynote speakers who will discuss setting goals, mental health and supporting the Black community.

Attendees are encouraged to wear shades of brown to the event, themed “Planet Her”.

"Black women feed this Earth," Montgomery said. “They're out of this world, really."

Each award is named after a planet. Montgomery encourages all CMU students and faculty to attend and celebrate the award recipients.

“This is definitely an award show by Black girls for Black girls,” she said. “But I think that it's also important - as we're shining light and encouraging black women - to also show the campus what we're doing to try to inspire other minorities to do something for them.”

The following 10 awards will be presented at the event:

Mercury: Scholar of the year

Moon: Humanitarian

Jupiter: Businesswoman of the year

Mars: Athlete of Year

Neptune: Creative Expression

Uranus: Emerging Leader

Sun: S.T.E.M.

Saturn: The Faculty of the year

Venus: Best Dressed

Pluto: All around woman

Nominees were accepted from the CMU community through Engage Central. A second voting round was cast for the top five nominees in each category and winners will be presented at the event on Feb. 27.