Cicely Tyson was among the honorees at BET’s “Black Girls Rock” award ceremony hosted by Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King Saturday night at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, N.J. The 81-year-old actress and pioneer shared words of wisdom during her acceptance speech for the Living Legend award. 

The moment anyone tries to demean or degrade you in any way, you have to know how great you are. Nobody would bother to beat you down if you were not a threat.

Jada Pinkett Smith, Erykah Badu, Ava DuVernay, educator Nadia Lopez and Helene D. Gayle, MD., president and CEO of Care USA, were the other award recipients. First Lady Michelle Obama also addressed the crowd, reminding them that, “No matter who you are, no matter where you come from, you are beautiful.”

“Black Girls Rock” will air on BET on April 5.