First Lady Michelle Obama speaks during a taping of the Black Girls Rock award ceremony at the New Jersey Performing Arts Centre in Newark. Picture: Julio Cortez

Newark, New Jersey -

Michelle Obama mixed her message of education for girls with one of empowerment for black women, declaring “Black girls rock!” at the annual awards show of the same name.

The first lady was the most heralded participant at the 5th annual event, which honoured Jada Pinkett Smith, Erykah Badu, Cicely Tyson, Ava DuVernay, Nadia Lopez and Helene Gayle.

Obama told the audience to ignore voices that suggested that they were “not good enough.” She celebrated the achievement of three young black women also honoured and said education was the key to their success.

Obama went to Princeton and Harvard. She said she wouldn't be where she was had she not taken her studies seriously, and she implored young black people to do the same.