Mayor of New Orleans Mitch Landrieu, Black Girls Rock! Founder Beverly Bond, First Lady of New Orleans Cheryl Landrieu, My Black is Beautiful representative Verna Coleman-Hagler and local UNCF representative during “Imagine A Future” scholarship presentation (Photo by Chris Mitch)

*Proctor & Gamble’s (P&G) My Black is Beautiful (MBIB) returned to the 2012 Essence Music Festival — the preeminent African American community education and entertainment weekend event — as one of its major sponsors.  The top consumer champion used the time to kick off its latest Black initiative that takes place over the next 3 years partnering MBIB with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and Black Girls Rock! (BGR!) to challenge the African American community to assist in the creation of a “Beautiful Future for Black Girls” campaign.

The new initiative is “designed to positively impact the lives of one million black girls over the next three years.”  Imagine a Future will document the current state of Black beauty with an in-depth look at the influences – people, fashion, music, education, pop culture – and provide tools and resources to foster a greater sense of self and confidence within the next generation of young Black girls.

“My Black is Beautiful represents a community of over 600,000 strong who come together based on shared experiences and the desire to celebrate everything that makes black women beautiful,” said Linda Clement Holmes, P&G, chief diversity officer and senior vice president, global business service.  “The launch of Imagine a Future reflects a natural evolution of our mission to focus on both black women and girls. We are thrilled to partner with UNCF and BGR! to bring this new initiative to life through the development of much needed solutions for our young black girls based on the must-have conversations about beauty, self-worth and empowerment.”

During the festival, the trio of top organizations announced their agenda that will include several exciting opportunities for young girls throughout the country.  P&G’s MBIB distributed six book awards totaling $3,000 to Black female students through the UNCF Empower Me Tour book award sweepstakes. Additionally, one New Orleans-based Black female student received a $5,000 academic scholarship.

“The Imagine a Future initiative is right in line with our mission to give African American students a fighting chance to succeed both academically and personally,” said Dr. Michael Lomax, president & CEO, UNCF.  “We truly believe in creating strong minds, and we know the emotional health of our students is also a key success measure for them as they enter the post-college world. It is with great enthusiasm that we partner with Black Girls Rock!, as well as My Black is Beautiful to offer solutions for girls so they can become self-sustaining, happy leaders.”


Mayor of New Orleans Mitch Landrieu, UNCF’s Monica McCluney, Black Girls Rock! Founder Beverly Bond, First Lady of New Orleans Cheryl Landrieu, My Black is Beautiful representative Verna Coleman-Hagler, local UNCF representative and Social Media maven & MBIB ambassador Beverly Smith during “Imagine A Future” scholarship presentation (Photo by Chris Mitch)

Last month, BGR! hosted their second annual Queens Camp for Leadership & Excellence in upstate New York in which fifty dynamic teenage girls between the ages of 13 and 17 from various socioeconomic and geographical backgrounds experienced a two-week summer intensive camp featuring workshops and activities that fostered self-confidence, leadership, sisterhood and community service.

“At Black Girls Rock!, we are committed to youth empowerment, mentorship and the positive portrayal of black girls and women in media,” said Beverly Bond, founder and executive director, BGR!  “We’re so excited to take the Black Girls Rock! movement to the next level by collaborating with both My Black is Beautiful and UNCF.  Together, we will reach and broaden the lives of black girls through enriching educational opportunities as well as uplifting once-in-a-life time experiences that help give our girls a sense of pride, purpose and possibilities.”

P&G’s MBIB campaign was launched six years ago to fuel a national conversation about African American beauty while encouraging women to become catalysts for change in their communities. The campaign has proved successful in building an engaging online and offline community of Black women that celebrate everything that makes them truly beautiful.  As a proud sponsor of the EMF, P&G leverages this engaging, high-traffic event to create unforgettable experiences with its supporting brands: CoverGirl Queen Collection, Pantene Relaxed & Natural, Clairol Professional, Crest and Oral-B, Olay, Gain, Bounty and Charmin.

One of the unforgettable events hosted by P&G’s MBIB was a charming dinner with social media socialite and MBIB ambassador Beverly Smith on Thursday, July 5, 2012 at the posh Rambla Restaurant in the International House where the inaugural Imagine a Future scholarship from MBIB and administered by UNCF was presented to New Orleans First Lady Cheryl Landrieu for her organization Girl-Up NOLA.  Six additional $500 book award scholarships were distributed throughout the weekend at the MBIB booth to sweepstakes winners.

Smith was also the official greeter at P&G’s MBIB booth which was the place to be seen for celebrities in support of the brand’s mission to” illuminate the powerful beauty and uniqueness of women of color.”  Celebrity stopovers included Faith Evans, LeToya Luckett, The OMG Girlz, Eva Pigford, Cynthia Bailey, Tisha Campbell Martin, Coco Jones, Carl Thomas, Raheem Devaughn, Eric Roberson, June Ambrose and Toya Wright (nee Carter) and the cast of WE TV’s “Braxton Family Values,” who all kept the booth buzzing with style!

To learn more about Image a Future initiative and MBIB activities at Essence Music Festival, consumers are encouraged to visit: www.myblackisbeautiful.com or www.facebook.com/mbib. Consumers can also join the movement on Twitter @MBIBMovement.


About Procter and Gamble
P&G serves approximately 4.4 billion people around the world with its brands. The Company has one of the strongest portfolios of trusted, quality, leadership brands, including Pampers®, Tide®, Ariel®, Always®, Whisper®, Pantene®, Mach3®, Bounty®, Dawn®, Fairy®, Gain®, Charmin®, Downy®, Lenor®, Iams®, Crest®, Oral-B®, Duracell®, Olay®, Head & Shoulders®, Wella®, Gillette®, Braun®, Fusion®, Ace®, Febreze®, Ambi Pur®, SK-II®, and Vicks®. The P&G community includes operations in about 80 countries worldwide. Please visit http://www.pg.com for the latest news and in-depth information about P&G and its brands.


About UNCF (United Negro College Fund)
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities across the country. UNCF supports education through scholarships and other programs, by supporting its 38 member colleges and universities, and by advocating for the importance of minority education. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 21 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. The UNCF logo features the torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at www.UNCF.org.


Founded by celebrity DJ and Philanthropist, Beverly Bond, BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ is dedicated to promoting positive images of women of color in mass media.  BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, that has been dedicated to the healthy development of young women and girls since 2006.  BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ Inc. seeks to build the self-esteem and self-worth of young women of color by changing their outlook on life, broadening their horizons and helping them to empower themselves. For additional information on BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™, visit www.blackgirlsrock.org.

Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings based in the New York City area.

audrey j bernard

Audrey J. Bernard