Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and Pinky Promise presents sixth annual Black Girls Rock award show


Tori Love, junior majoring in Athletic Training, presented a spoken word poem titled 'Dear Black Women' at the Black Girls Rocks Award Ceremony. 

The Black community of Central Michigan University gathered at the Black Girls Rock (BGR) Award Show to award Black women who make a difference on campus as leaders.  

The Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and Pinky Promise presented the show with the theme of Black Women as Goddesses. Presenters compared Black women to goddesses who are set to accomplish great things at a predominantly white institution (PWI). 

The BGR Award ceremony showcased Black women on campus who were nominated by supporters for being emerging leaders, scholars, and more. The link used to vote displayed each category and voters had to input the name of one person in each category who they felt matched the description the best. 

The top four people in each category gained the opportunity to become nominees. Their names, major, and written description of why they should be chosen to win is displayed on the BlackGirlsRockAwardShowCMU Instagram page. 

The Following Awards, including winners and nominees are presented below. The winners are in bold:

The Athena Award for Emerging Leader:

  • Aaliyah Howard, Sophomore, majoring in Sociology
  •  Tatiana Mason, Sophomore, double majoring in Broadcasting and Cinematic Arts and Theatre Interpretation
  • Makayla Osborn, Junior, majoring in Cultural Global Studies and Teaching Birth
  • Camila Watkins, Sophomore, majoring in Broadcasting and Cinematic Arts

Charis Award for Creative Expression:

  • Isysess Davis, Sophomore, majoring in Theater and Interpretation
  • Morgan Hurley, Sophomore, majoring in Public Relations
  • Alayna Jones, Sophomore, majoring in Broadcasting and Cinematic Arts
  • Tatiana Mason, Sophomore, double majoring in Broadcasting and Cinematic Arts and Theatre Interpretation

Soteria Award for Humanitarian:

  • Jordyn Dean, Senior, majoring in Family Studies
  • Tiara Cherry, Sophomore, majoring in Applied Business Communications
  • Mya Morris, Senior, majoring in Psychology
  • Ku’Juana Quinn, Junior, majoring in Sociology

Sophrosyne Award for STEM:

  • Jada Grandy, Senior, majoring in Production Design Engineering Technology
  • Dasia Myles, Senior, double majoring in Neuroscience & Psychology
  • Clarisa Smith, Senior, majoring in Mechanical Engineering 
  • Destiny Taylor, Sophomore, majoring in Chemistry 

Scholar of the Year:

  • Mya Grant, Junior, majoring in Environmental Studies
  • Aaliyah Howard, Sophomore, majoring in Sociology
  • Riley Robinson, Junior, majoring in Graphic Design & Studio
  • Chelsea Wysinger, Senior, majoring in Psychology

Athlete of the Year:

  • Katelyn Claxton, Junior, majoring in Early Childhood Education
  • Jada Grandy, Senior, majoring in Product Design Engineering Technology
  • Sydney Harris, Freshman, majoring in Psychology
  • Kaitlynn Rush, Junior, majoring in Health Administration

Best Dressed:

  • Jada Gardener, Sophomore, majoring in Entrepreneurship
  • Mimi Mphoka, Junior, majoring in Nursing
  • Genesia Thompson, Senior, majoring in Sociology and Public and Non-Profit Administration

Businesswoman of the Year:

  • Tia Dowdell, Freshman, major is undecided
  • Quentaisja Edwards, Senior, majoring in Psychology
  • Sheila Knowles, Sophomore, majoring in Photojournalism
  • Jakara Shaffer, Senior, majoring in Exercise Science

Faculty of the Year Award:

  • Jewel Larkins, Assistant Director for Mentoring Initiatives, two-time CMU graduate in 2017 and 2018
  • Dr. Shawna Patterson, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer
  • Dr. René Shingles, Professor and Internship Coordinator
  • Dr. Reneé T. Watson, Vice President of Student Affairs

All Around Woman Award:

  • Kanessa Duncan, Senior, majoring in Child Development and Family Studies
  • Ku’Juana Quinn, Junior, majoring in Sociology
  • Azuare Singleton-Moton, Senior, majoring in Photojournalism
  • Genesia Thompson, Senior, majoring in majoring in Sociology and Public and Non-Profit Administration

Aaliyah Howard, a sophomore at CMU and winner of the Scholar of the Year Award, said she feels “very satisfied” with her win. 

“I try so hard with my academics, and I continue to strive to get all A’s especially because I am a very busy individual as I am a LAS Scholar, Impact Mentor Coordinator, event coordinator for Black Girls Rock, and much more,” Howard said. “This is a great accomplishment as it lets me know that what I’m doing on campus is not going unnoticed.” 

Tatiana Mason, a sophomore and winner of the Emerging Leader and Creative Expression Awards, she said she felt very appreciative of those who nominated and voted for her. 

“I’m just really thankful for the opportunity, and even being nominated was a great experience because there are so many talented Black women and good leaders on campus,” Mason said. “I feel that I would’ve been happy for anyone who won because I feel that we’re all making positive impacts in the community.”

After the Humanitarian award was presented, Rampage Dance Team performed a praise dance.

Jayda Davis, the president of Rampage, said it was her idea to create a praise performance. As she discussed the contemporary style of dance to her e-board, Davis said it worked out great for the team because a few members were praise dancers. 

“The contemporary dance that we chose to do tonight really focused and connected with our ancestors and our past to represent Black History Month,” Davis said. “Through praise dance, we focused on showing strength through our movements and facial expressions."

Destiny Taylor, a sophomore and winner of the Black Girls Rock STEM Award, said she feels truly supported by the Black community on campus. 

“Winning this award really shows me how all around of a woman I am because I’m really known on campus for dancing, but after winning the STEM award, I feel I am creating the space for Black women to dance and study hard," Taylor said. 

During an intermission, Creating Havoc Around Our Steps (CHAOS) step team held its first performance. 

Morgan Hughley, a sophomore majoring in Public Relations and member of CHAOS, said after performing for the first time, it meant a lot to her and her team that she did her best. 

“Although I was nervous, I believe my team and I made our coach so proud,” Hughley said. “To see her in tears made me feel that we did so good and we will only continue to improve as our next performance is coming up soon at the African Student Association fashion show.” 

Ku’Juana Quinn, a junior majoring in sociology and winner of the All Around Woman award, said that she is beyond honored to have another opportunity at being nominated. 

“Last year, I was nominated for the Humanitarian award and All Around Woman award, but I told the committee to take my name off because I never let myself see if I could’ve reached the others,” Quinn said. “Now I feel as I have come full circle and recognized that I am worthy and still aimed to make my mark on campus.

“This is a moment I will forever be grateful for.”

Genesia Thompson, senior double majoring in Sociology and Public and Nonprofit Administration gives an acceptance speech after winning the Aphrodite Award for Best Dressed. 

Quentaisja Edwards, president of BGR, and a senior majoring in psychology, said that BGR creates a safe space for women of color to come together. 

“I only hope that in the future that this organization continues to thrive and prosper, so Black women can uplift one another during events like this and beyond for our community,” Edwards said. 

Mariah Thompson, a member of BGR and sophomore double-majoring in computer engineering and electrical engineering, said she thought the ceremony was overall a very beautiful event. 

“I really liked the decorations and I’m glad that the people who won and those who were nominated had a chance to come out and be recognized for all that they do as Black women on campus.”  

Mya Morris, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. who hosted the BGR awards, said she and other members of Delta, along with Pinky Promise, started planning the event in November. 

“The biggest obstacle we had was booking a room, we had a different date and it got approved, then we we’re told we couldn’t do it anymore, so we had to push everything back,” Morris said. ”However, I was very happy about the overall turnout, and I was very nervous to host, but I feel everything went good.

“The food is gone, people seemed like they had a good time."

Dr. Nikita Murry, director of Diversity Education at CMU, speaks to the crowd about overcoming a low high school GPA to becoming a doctor on Sunday during the Black Girls Rock Ceremony. 

Nikita Murry, the director of diversity education, was appointed by The Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. to serve as the keynote speaker at the award show. Murry spoke about her experiences in high school and having under a 2.0 GPA. 

She said she was told by her high school counselors that she wasn't college material. That inspired Murry to earn her doctorate. 

“Black Girls Rock is a fact, Murry said. “It doesn’t matter where you are from, or when you are standing with your sisters and brothers to say Black Girls Rock and Black Males Rock.

“There is magic in creating and giving back positively in us all.”

Brianna Pruitt, a sophomore from Saginaw, said everything Murray said was powerful. 

"After hearing Dr. Murray’s speech, I learned the importance about being a goddess and knowing that being a goddess is a superpower, even though sometimes you have to be resilient no matter what difficulty you may face in the future.”

Tori Love, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc, said that she admired how Murry learned to step into her inner goddess to seek help when she needed it the most. 

"It touched a little close to home for me as she is one of my (sorority sisters) and just continued to encourage me to continue to step into my inner goddess," Love said.