It’s hard to believe it’s been one whole year since Brooklyn rap phenomenon Pop Smoke (born Bashar Barakah Jackson) passed away. The young, talented rapper was just getting his feet wet and becoming a huge force to be reckoned with in the music world when he was taken away from us during a home invasion in Los Angeles, California on February 19th, 2020. Popular for his slick dance moves and unique rap voice, Pop Smoke was gaining traction and fame all over the world and he wasn’t letting his foot off the brakes. Although his passing was a huge loss to Hip-Hop and his family and friends, of course, Pop Smoke’s mother Audrey Jackson is making sure that her son’s legacy lives on through his Shoot For The Stars Foundation. The foundation created by the late rapper is a non-profit foundation that aims to inspire inner-city youth to reach their goals despite living in difficult circumstances.
On April 10, 2021 #BrooklynGirlCode along with Renayssance Entertainment got the opportunity to speak with Pop Smoke‘s mother Audrey Jackson and discuss her plans for her son’s foundation. The event held at popular Brooklyn spot, The Brooklyn Estates was apart of a full spa weekend hosted by Miss Jackson for mothers of hip-hop artists who lost their children to violence. The private event turned out to be a huge success drawing popular media outlets like News 12 Brooklyn and Fox News. Audrey Jackson is a very kind woman on a serious mission to keep her son’s legacy alive and she won’t stop until her mission is complete! Check out the full exclusive interview with Jamel Oakman of Renayssance Entertainment below.
For more information on the Shoot for the Stars Foundation visit shootforthestars.org. Long Live Pop Smoke!
Brother Malcolm (born Malcolm Little) passed away on this day, February 21st 1965 in Harlem, New York at the Audubon Ballroom. Born in Omaha, Nebraska on 1925, Malcolm X (later becoming known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) would go on to become a leader for Civil Rights for Black people all over the world. Black Panther Fred Hampton once said, “You can kill the revolutionary but, you can’t kill the revolution!” It all makes sense now. -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode. ❤
November 30th, 2020 marked the 96th birthday of politician, teacher, author and activist Shirley Chisholm. Although she is not mentioned as much as she should be when discussing American politics, Chisholm was an extremely important figure in the American political system.
Shirley Chisholm became the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress where she served seven terms (1969-1983). In 1972, Chisholm became the first African-American candidate for the Presidency of the United States of America. As well as the first woman ever to run for the Democratic Party as a presidential nominee.
However, in 2005 (only 15 years ago) when Shirley Chisholm passed, there were no national memorial services or even a nationally-televised special to honor her. Why? Chisholm single-handedly paved the way for all of today’s top political figures including fellow Brooklynite Ruth Bader Ginsburg who recently passed in September 2020.
In 2015, ten years after her death, Chisholm was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2019, Shirley Chisholm State Park opened to the public in East New York, Brooklyn . The state park created to honor Chisholm in her hometown is the largest state park in New York City stretching 407 acres. Now all we need is a giant-sized statue erected in Washington D.C. to honor Chisholm who was a giant-sized figure herself.
Let’s start celebrating our heroes while they are still here living and breathing! Shirley Chisholm was a true Brooklyn girl with a vision! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode ❤
Today marks the 84th birthday of Black Panther Party founder, political activist Bobby Seale. Bobby Seale was born in Liberty, Texas on October 22nd, 1936. The oldest of three children, Bobby Seale moved to Oakland, California with his family when he was eight years old. Seale would later go on to form the very controversial, but very important Black Panther Party along with Dr. Huey P. Newton in Oakland in 1966. The party which eventually dissolved in 1982 aimed to inform and educate African-Americans on their civil rights and provide free food to residents in inner-city communities.
In his later years, Seale wrote a few books, starred in popular television documentaries and became a college professor teaching Black Studies at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA (where my Temple Owls at?!). At 84 years old, Bobby Seale is still on the move educating and empowering. Happy Birthday to a true American Legend! And thank you for coming together with Dr. Huey P. Newton to form the Black Panther Party because two intelligent Black men are better than one! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode.🖤
We made it to the weekend once again! And with all the dull, solemn, tired energy going around these days, I thought it would be nice to post a bright image from a trip I took back in 2012 to Puerto Rico (pre-social distancing). It’s hard to stay motivated and excited in these times but it’s also very important to do so. So, when you’re getting ready for work, etc. this upcoming week remember to try to add a little bit of bright color to a really dull world! Enjoy your Sunday! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode 💖
So word on the street is Robert Pattinson is set to play The Batman in the new Matt Reeves film that is set to be released by Warner Bros. Films in late 2021. However, last week Page Six reported that Robert Pattinson was recovering from Covid-19. Well if this is true, we really hope that he gets well soon because #BrooklynGirlCode is a known supporter of anything related to The Batman and Gotham City! Page Six reported that the Twilight actor who was once engaged to Uk singer FKA twigs had fallen ill during production causing everything to come to a hault. Other acclaimed actors who are set to be featured in the new The Batman film includes Jeffrey Wright, Zoe Kravitz, Colin Farrell and others. Who’s your favorite Batman of all time? Let us know! Get well soon Robert because we’re really looking forward to this film!! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode ❤
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It was Ladies Night this past Monday, August 31st when music legends Brandy and Monica came together for the night to perform their classic R&B hits for Verzuz. The battle that was streamed live on Instagram and Apple Music broke a record with more than one million viewers tuning in to watch the two superstars battle it out classic for classic! And the ladies definitely came dressed to impress! Brandy played it cool and casual in an eccentric Libertine “Prince of Chintz” blazer. While Monica stunned in an adorable retro-style Fendi oufit designed by fashion designer Baba Jagne. However, the best part of the night had to be the official check-in from Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris who called in and wished the ladies well while rocking a sweatshirt from her own alma mater Howard University. The only thing that would’ve made the night complete for us was if actor Mekhi Phifer would’ve came out for “The Boy Is Mine!” It never happened, but still, it was a very memorable event! Check out some cool footage from the Verzuz battle and some throwback videos from Monica and Brandy below. Looking forward to the tour ladies!-xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode ❤
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Legendary Basketball Hall of Fame Coach John Thompson passed away surrounded by family at his Arlington, Virginia home on August 30th, 2020. In 1984, with the assistance of NBA legend Patrick Ewing, Coach Thompson became the first Black coach to lead an NCAA Division I basketball team to the national championship beating the Houston Cougars in the finals.
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During his tenure with the Georgetown Hoyas (1972-1999), Thompson lead his team to a 596-239 (.714) winning record. Thompson who was a Washington D.C. native was also a two-time NBA champion playing for the Boston Celtics alongside Bill Russell from 1964-1966. In 1988 at the Seoul Olympics, Thompson served as the head coach for the Unites States Men’s basketball team.
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Under Thompson’s instruction, retired NBA player and 2016 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Allen Iverson would go on to set the Georgetown University record for highest career scoring average (22.9 points per game). In 2017, Patrick Ewing took over as head coach for the Hoyas. However, it’s obvious that no one will ever make the same mark in Georgetown that Coach John Thompson made. Rest well to a true sports legend!
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The ABC network will be honoring the life of actor Chadwick Boseman tonight in a special Sunday evening presentation. The network will be playing the Black Panther movie in its entirety on Sunday night beginning at 8pm EST. The Black Panther will be followed by a special presentation on the actor’s life. The presentation will begin tonight at 8pm EST. Chadwick Boseman who passed away on August 28th from complications due to colon cancer was a native of Anderson, South Carolina. Boseman was only 43 years old but in his short time here, he starred in several feature-length films including 42 (2013); Message from the King (2016); Captain America: Civil War (2016) and 2018’s blockbuster hit Black Panther where he immortalized the character of T’Challa, King of Wakanda. Make sure to tune in to ABC tonight. Rest In Power to Chadwick Boseman!
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NBA legend Vince Carter announced his retirement on June 25th, 2020 after a record-breaking 22 seasons in the league! Although fans were sad to see the Daytona Beach, Florida native officially throw in his towel, Carter leaves the league on a high note becoming the only NBA player to play 22 seasons in a four decade span (1998 to 2020). Well-known for his unique slam dunk style, Vince Carter earned the title “Vinsanity” and “Air Canada” while playing for the Toronto Raptors in the late 90’s. As a young girl growing up in Brooklyn I can attest to being a huge fan of Vince Carter and having his poster hanging on my bedroom wall.
#ThankYouVince for all your sportsmanship and best of luck with your media career! Check out Vince Carter’s podcast “Winging It With Vince Carter” via The Ringer currently streaming. -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode™ 🏀 ❤️
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You couldn’t have told me three months ago that this would be the state of the 🌍 today! Everyday it seems like something new is threatening our normal lives. It feels like we’re living in the Apocalypse. As humans and as a Black woman —especially, I’m aware of struggling and facing adversity first hand. But I’m also aware that my ancestors have been through much worse. The events that are currently taking place in America are a clear reminder that we have a whole lot of work to do and that we have to keep pushing. This is what makes us who we are! So please stay strong and keep striving because there is a higher power stronger than all of this chaos! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode™ 🖤
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The year was 1968. In Harlem and all over the world an uprising was occurring due to the major events that had taken place earlier in the decade. For African-Americans, it seemed like all hope had been lost. All of our prominent leaders had been either erased or shot down by mysterious forces.
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Enter The Last Poets: A talented yet enraged group of young musicians and poets who with their politically-charged raps were on a mission to raise African-American consciousness by any means necessary! Although laced with serious lyrical venom, The Last Poets’ impact on pop culture alone would resonate for decades to come and would sow the early seeds for what would later become the juggernaut we know today as Hip-Hop music!
To call yourself a musician or an artist in today’s world and not be aware of The Last Poets and what they did for the music culture and American culture—period is an atrocity (in my opinion). You better do your research! And with all that is going on in the world right now, this is the perfect time to do it!
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The Last Poets dropped their groundbreaking self-titled debut album in 1970 with very little promotion and marketing. However, due to the buzz that the group had already achieved from their peers in the music industry as well as in the streets, the album would go on to do well. ‘The Last Poets’ classic debut album forever changed the musical landscape and broke ground for spoken-word artists world-wide.
On May 19th, 2020 @ 7pm EST, we will be celebrating The 50th Anniversary with an epic livestream event! Video Music Box, UHHM and Seeds of The Last Poets presents: “Bridging the Gap: An Evening of Conversation w/ The Last Poets.” The virtual event hosted by legendary VJ Ralph McDaniels of Video Music Box will feature appearances from Rakim of Eric B. & Rakim, Chuck D of Public Enemy, Chubb Rock, Doug E. Fresh, Jessica Care Moore, KRS-1, Black Thought, Jadakiss and many more! You don’t want to miss this!
Just hit the link below to reserve your tickets for next Tuesday’s epic livestream event and enjoy the show! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode™ ✊🏾🖤🎵🎶
#TBT’s to #Coachella 2018 when social distancing was an unknown verb… 😢 It was the best of times and what a time to be alive! Who would’ve thought that just two short years later the whole world would be a different place? Thank goodness for pictures to help us hold on to all the special memories for a while. Check out some of our best photos from Coachella 2018 aka “Beychella.” While we quarantine, we’ll just close our eyes and imagine we’re there. Better days ahead! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode™
Photo taken by Aziza Hassan for #BrooklynGirlCode™ at the 2018 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival
It was a Sunday Funday for Brooklyn Girl Code this past weekend when we spent the day at the Brooklyn Bridge Fencing Club with NowThis Sports! NowThis, a progressive American media website founded in 2012 by Huffington Post co-founder Kenneth Lerer and former Huffington Post CEO Eric Hippeau is known all over the world for its informative video content. NowThis Sports, a subsidiary of NowThis News will be highlighting the extraordinary sport of Fencing in a new video project and Brooklyn Girl Code’s very own Creator/Editor Aziza Hassan was requested by the video producers to be featured in the new video! But, it does make sense since Aziza is a Brooklyn Girl that loves to fence! 🤺
We’re so excited to see how this cool project turns out and we’ll be sure to let our loyal readers know as soon as it is released. But, until then, check out some cool behind the scenes footage from the shoot this past weekend in Dumbo, Brooklyn. Hey…. Is Brooklyn in the house?!?!
“My girl’s like candy, a candy treat
She knocks me high up off my feet
She’s so fine as can be
I know this girl is meant for me!”
The year was 1982. Ronald Reagan was President of the United States. The average monthly rent was $335.00. The cost of a gallon of milk was $1.35 and you could own your very own Ford Mustang for just $6,572.00! But, the biggest news was happening right in Boston. Four young teenage boys ranging from the ages of 13-15 years old that called themselves “New Edition” were blowing up the R&B charts with their hot new single “Candy Girl.”
The song, officially released on November 14th, 1982 proved to be an instant classic. The official video for “Candy Girl” released in April of 1983 showcased New Edition singing the young, fun lyrics inspired by Jackson Five‘s 1970 song “ABC.” There was no doubt about it. “Candy Girl” had all the girls checking for Ronnie (Devoe), Bobby (Brown), Ricky (Bell), Mike (Bivins) and Ralph (Tresvant)!
“Candy Girl” would eventually peak to #1 on the R&B and UK Singles Charts. The song was the first hit single released off New Edition’s debut album Candy Girl(1983 Streetwise Records) but it most certainly would not be the last from these talented young men!
Check out the official video for “Candy Girl” below and take a ride with #BrooklynGirlCode in our first ever #TBT #TimeMachine! Thank us later! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode ❤
So many great things happened in the world of sports this past week, that we had to spread some of the love over here at Brooklyn Girl Code! Florida native, Sloane Stephens won her first U.S. Open title on Saturday, September 9th beating out Madison Keys who was the No. 15-seed. With this win, Stephens becomes the lowest ranked player (No. 83-seed) to ever win a women’s singles title at the event. Tennis great Rafael Nadal kept the winning spree going winning his third U.S. Open title (2010, 2013, 2017) on Sunday, September 10th beating out No. 28-seed Kevin Anderson in the men’s single final at the world famous Arthur Ashe Stadium. The two champions celebrated their well deserved titles with friends and family all week long. Check out some cool photos of the champs below.
While Sloane Stephens was celebrating her first U.S. Open win this past Saturday, my wonderful sport of Fencing was celebrating its own day! “World Fencing Day” which was created by the FIE (International Fencing Federation) in conjuction with the IOC (International Olympic Committee) celebrates the solidarity of the sport of Fencing all over the world. Fencing is most definitely a sport that is played in hundreds of countries worldwide. So, this day was long overdue. However, as a Fencer myself, I was delighted to see the sport finally get its own day! Check out some really cool pics of all the international Fencers celebrating “World Fencing Day” below.
Lastly, but certainly not least, one of my all-time favorites, seven-time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady got inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. McGrady, who I always looked at as one of the more humble players in the NBA, gave an awesome enshrinement speech alongside his legendary players and peers at the ceremony held in Springfield, Massachusetts on Friday, September 8th. Watch the video below! Nothing but champions over here at Brooklyn Girl Code baby! Congrats to all the winners and honorees from this past week!
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Hey friends! Despite what everybody says, I know Rihanna still loves her Chrissy Poo and vice versa. After I saw a post about Rihanna and Drake’s abrupt split earlier this week in the IBTimes and then Chris Brown trying to lure Rih-Rih back in with gifts, I had to make a gallery. So, in honor of #TBT and #FlashBackFriday, I’ve compiled a whole bunch of pictures of #Chrihanna (Chris Brown and Rihanna) and their long-standing on again/off again epic relationship. Just hit each image below in my #Chrihanna gallery to take a trip down memory lane all courtesy of #BrooklynGirlCode™💋 Enjoy! -xoxo
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Yassmin Abdel-Magied is not your average 25-year-old professional. She has already established herself as a successful mechanical engineer, author, youth advocate, political commentator (her exclusive TEDx video titled What does my headscarf mean to you? has garnered 1,948,952 views). Plus, she almost became an official Formula One race car driver due to her love for fast cars but decided to put that career on hold and focus on her Youth Without Borders foundation that she founded when she was only sixteen.
On our initial meeting in a small patisserie in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, Yassmin comes off as super humble. The vibrant colors in Yassmin’s Hijab or Kimar (head scarf worn by Muslim women) make the beautiful features in her face stand out even more. In addition to all this, Yassmin’s huge smile brightens up the already sun-drenched patisserie. After finally getting our coffee and finding two available seats, Yassmin and I formally introduce ourselves to one other. After speaking briefly about my Fencing career which Yassmin seems to be interested in, I begin to ask her a whole slew of questions. I’m the most impressed by Yassmin’s modesty. Although she has achieved a lot more in life than most people her age, her journey is one of endurance, patience and strength that started all the way back in her native land of Khartoum, the capital of Sudan.
Yassmin’s family, originally from Khartoum, migrated to Australia when Yassmin was just a young girl. When Yassmin and her family arrived to Australia in the early 90’s, they were one of only two Sudanese families in the region and had to acclimate to all the strange new ways of the Aussies. However, it was Yassmin’s mother, an architect herself, who always instilled in Yassmin to never forget where she came from. These words of wisdom would carry Yassmin through the more difficult times in her life.
The first question that comes to mind after engaging in conversation with Yassmin who seems so joyful and upbeat is — why mechanical engineering as a career? Yassmin obviously has the talents to be anything she wants but chose working on an oil rig as her full-time job (gotta keep your day job). Working on the oil rigs sometimes leaves Yassmin far out in the middle of the vast ocean for months at a time where she is often the only woman around several men. Once she explains to me that she comes from a family of engineers and architects and that the challenge of working on the oil rigs is what excites her, it starts to make more sense.
So now, the next question that comes to my mind is what does someone do to bring them joy and break the monotony of being away from family and friends for months at a time? “I love listening to music while I’m out on the rigs!” Yassmin replies boisterously. This makes perfect sense because if I know anything, it’s that music brings you joy no matter where you are in the world. When I ask her what particular artists she enjoys listening to, she shocks me when she answers that she adores popular 80’s singer/songwriter Tracy Chapman. The late 80’s was the time that Chapman was prominent in music and Yassmin had not even been born yet. I was definitely born and can recall this time clearly because I remember playing my mother’s Tracy Chapman cassette tape over and over again until the brown tape popped. However, Yassmin Abdel-Magied wasn’t even a thought when Tracy Chapman was on top of the charts, so this just goes to show how ahead of her time she is.
Yassmin also mentions Drake (of course), Janelle Monae, and a few other popular artists that she enjoys listening to, to keep her up while out on the oil rigs. She then asks me who some of my favorite artists are and I reply with the usual, Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z and Nas. I also tell her that I enjoy listening to all types of Trap music and that more recently I’ve been listening to Nigerian-American artist, Jidenna. After promising to exchange our favorite music playlists online at a later time, Yassmin wishes me well in all my future endeavors and rushes off to her next appointment. Still, the short time that we got to meet and chat about our lives over coffee in that small patisserie on a warm summer day in Brooklyn brought memories that will last a lifetime.