Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

Can't stop, won't stop
Y.U.N.G. Harlem founders Tiffany Bender and Alize Beal

Last month, while I having dinner with my best friend, Alize Beal, I got the phone call from BET that our non-profit, Y.U.N.G. Harlem, would be honored at this year’s Black Girls Rock. We screamed, danced, jumped around and landed square in the middle of the floor after bumping heads.

We started YH humbly enough, in my living room, sitting sprawled on the floor, chomping on popcorn. Four years later, we are being recognized not only by our community but by a national network focused on the empowerment of Black culture. “Where did we go right?” She asked, rubbing her bruised forehead. We had every obstacle placed in front of us, growing up in Harlem. Teen pregnancy, unemployment, sexually transmitted diseases– and those are the better outcomes!

So, how did we get so lucky? And then it hit me. We do everything we want to do, every day. I think subconsciously we fear that at any moment we could fall victim to some of the ill circumstances all too familiar in our community, so we chase any dream we dream and cling to it. Diddy’s my hero you know. He’s also from Harlem. And he has the same mentality – do everything you want to do, every day. Of course some days he feels like riding in his mega yacht or private jet …and I still rely on my metro card – but it’s all a part of the dream.

Based on the demographics of you Sweet Lemons, I can only hope that you never have to encounter some of the atrocities seen in my neighborhood – but with that being said, you have an obligation to dream! I’m sure you each have your own emotional, financial, or spiritual obstacles but you owe it to little girls around the world to dream big. And don’t stop.

Black Girls Rock, Swedish, Indian, Asian, Muslim, Latina, African, and European Girls Rock … WE ALL ROCK. So don’t stop ROCKING!


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  • Reply October 17, 2012


    This is SO fabulous, Tiffany! Congrats on your success and nomination for Black Girls Rock.

  • Reply October 18, 2012

    College Prepster

    This. Is. Awesome. So happy to see how amazing everyone is!