"When things get hard, that's not always a sign that you're doing something wrong. It's often a sign that you're doing something right."
On April 5, BET aired the 2015 "Black Girls Rock" Awards, celebrating black girls and women who — well, they rock.
Ciara, Jill Scott, and Faith Evans performed. Women like Nadia Lopez, Jada Pinkett Smith, Erykah Badu, Ava DuVernay, Cicely Tyson, and Dr. Helene D. Gayle took home awards honoring them for their many achievements.
Still, the moment of the night had to be when First Lady Michelle Obama took the stage to give a supremely inspiring speech.
Yes, black girls do rock.
She described some of the challenges that young black women face, especially regarding social expectations.
She touched on her own experience growing up with these expectations...
...and the moment she decided that no, she wasn't going to just accept the labels put on her.
She wasn't bossy. She wasn't loud. She was herself.
She spoke of what it's like to overcome hardship. And she offered a message that people of all genders and races can relate to.
Her speech was touching and spoke to challenges both universal and specific to growing up as a black girl.
There are things that those of us who aren't black will never be able to understand about growing up in that environment with those specific social expectations.
There is value in young black girls being able to look up and see someone like Michelle Obama telling them how awesome they are.
There is so much value in feeling represented in the world.
That's why these events are so important.
She ended her speech after inviting the three M.A.D. Girls (Making a Difference) to the stage to highlight the positive work young black women are doing every day.
Chental-Song Bembry is an author and illustrator, Gabrielle Jordan founded ExCEL Youth Mentoring, and Kaya Thomas is a vlogger and advocate for tech education.