DEF LEPPARD lead guitarist Phil Collen joined the iconic queen of funk Chaka Khan on stage during the Black Girls Rock! 15th-anniversary fundraising gala, which streamed on June 18 on the newly launched BGR!TV network.
The virtual gala, powered by Microsoft, was an illustrious celebration of black girl magic featuring additional musical performances by Grammy-nominated virtuosos Alice Smith and Maimouna Youssef, a.k.a. MuMu Fresh; D.C.'s all-woman go-go band BELA DONA; Grammy Award-winning gospel singer Tasha Cobbs Leonard; and celebrity DJ Aktive. The event was hosted by esteemed actress Tatyana Ali and hip-hop icon MC Lyte, with appearances by acclaimed actor Wood Harris, Grammy Award-winning artist Estelle, and more.
Asked in a new interview with The SDR Show how the Khan collaboration came about, Collen said: "[American DJ, businesswoman, producer, writer and former Wilhelmina model] Beverly Bond has got this thing that she created years ago called Black Girls Rock!, and it's empowerment for women of color, girls of color, that don't get a say. It's hard enough for a woman; it's even worse for a black woman, growing up and all these other things. So they just give a voice and they give empowerment and they give inspiration to young women of color.
"I'm the father of three black girls," he continued. "I have three daughters. Their moms are black. They're considered black women or little girls. So it's close to me. My wife is black.
"I've known Beverly, and my wife Helen has worked with her for years. This has come about [when she said], 'We're getting some acts, and it'd be great if you played guitar with Chaka.' I was, like, 'Oh my God. She's one of my idols.'"
When the event was first announced, Bond said: "Fifteen years ago, I created Black Girls Rock! to honor black women and to counter societal norms that too often marginalize our voices, images, and contributions. Black Girls Rock! triggered a seismic paradigm shift that exponentially elevated the stories, leadership, accomplishments, and inclusion of women of color. I am humbled by the tremendous global impact this movement has made in the lives of millions of women and girls.
"After fifteen years of advocating for black women's visibility and power, it's a fitting evolution to launch our own OTT network, BGR!TV. Owning our narrative whilst fostering black economic empowerment and equity is critical for our liberation. As the proud owner of this new media platform, I'm now able to scale my efforts to create content that reflects our audience and provide more opportunities for content creators and storytellers.
"I'm grateful to Microsoft for leading by example in its support of black women-owned businesses. Their sponsorship of this year's fundraising gala is a testament to how allyship looks in action. Our 15-year anniversary fundraising gala is headlined by the incomparable Chaka Khan and many other amazing artists will be joining us to punctuate this momentous milestone."
Chaka Khan said: "It is an honor to support Beverly Bond and this amazing organization and movement that she has built. I am so excited to headline Black Girls Rock!'s 15-year anniversary fundraising gala during the launch of BGR!TV, which will continue to be an inspiration to all generations, lifting legends, and making sure that black women's enormous contributions to society are acknowledged."
The Black Girls Rock! 15th-anniversary fundraising gala benefited the advocacy and philanthropic work that Black Girls Rock! continues to pioneer via its 501(c)(3) programs and initiatives.
Phil Collen takes a SUPER SEXY SOLO with Chaka Kahn on Black Girls Rock Awards show!
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Posted by Lorelei Shellist on Saturday, June 19, 2021