For one night only the nuisance of a traffic jam on the Bronx’s Grand Concourse was not the result of a Yankees game and could be forgiven for a good cause: Black Girls Rock. On Saturday, the glitterati sauntered across the red carpet and filled the borough’s landmark venue New York Loews Paradise Theater to commemorate the third annual Black Girls Rock (BGR) Awards, which premieres on BET, Sunday, Nov. 4 (8 p.m. EST/7 pm CST). Founded in 2006 by former model and celebrity deejay Beverly Bond, the non-profit organization’s empowers young girls through arts education and its star-studded ceremonial tribute pays a respectful nod to Black women that are helping shape America and their communities through their philathropic efforts and career accomplishments. It was a celebration worthy of a marching band.

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As the house lights descended and festivities kicked off, the rumble of drum rolls served as a musical prelude to Alicia Keys’ grand entrance. Flanked by dancers in military-inspired garb that complemented her own black-and-gold ensemble, the Grammy winner and BGR honoree marched down the aisle belting her latest anthem “Girl on Fire” from her upcoming album of the same name before joining eight drummers and a total of five dancers, two adults and three children, on stage. Following Keys’ performance the evening’s cohosts Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King welcomed the crowd but not before Ross slipped. The statuesque comedic actress quickly prevented an embarrassing fall that would have surely gone viral. Taking it all in stride, the stylish duo laughed it off, did a “rewind” by playfully exiting the stage in reverse, and reemerged without a falter causing an eruption of laughter.

With the tone set, Eva Longoria took center stage to present actress, political activist and star of ABC’s new hit drama “Scandal”, Kerry Washington, with the Star Power award. The diminutive “Desperate Housewives” starlet acknowledged that Washington, a Bronx native, has made television history as the first black woman in 38 years to secure a leading role on a prime-time dramatic series (in 1974 actress Teresa Graves starred in ABC’s short-lived series “Get Christie Love”). During her acceptance speech, the George Washington University grad and Obama supporter said she learned the importance of having control of her political power from her parents. She encouraged and reminded women that as a collective their success renders infinite possibilities. “The night sky is never lit up by one star but by billions of stars. Rock your star power. Be bold, be bright and be blessed.”

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