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Rest In Power #NichelleNichols: The Original #BlackWoman in #Tech!

Actress Nichelle Nichols at work on the set of 'Star Trek'
Actress Nichelle Nichols at work on the set of 'Star Trek'
Actress Nichelle Nichols at work on the set of Star Trek.

If you were lucky enough to grow up in the eighties (where my 80’s babies at?) or even the seventies (the 70’s had all the great fashion!) then you know how much of a phenomenon Star Trek once was. Everyone you knew back then either had a parent or an auntie or uncle who was a bonafide “Trekkie.” By the time I was old enough to understand what a Trekkie was, Star Trek: The Next Generation which was a spin-off of the original Star Trek series had already become a huge hit. My mom who was a self-proclaimed Trekkie herself made sure that every television in our home was set to Star Trek: The Next Generation every Sunday night. So, I had no choice but to watch.

Star Trek: TNG had some really fun and futuristic characters (the Klingons were my fave). However, I still found myself more interested in the original series which was still in heavy rotation at the time. The original series featured Nichelle Nichols as Communications Officer Lieutenant Nyota Uhura. Lt. Nyota Uhura was a beautiful Black woman calling some serious shots on a spaceship full of men. As a young Black girl growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y. in the late 80’s, this was so dope to watch. Lt. Nyota Uhura brought so much color and class to the cast and I loved to see it!

Nichelle Nichols as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura on the set of Star Trek. Photo courtesy of CBS.

Nichelle Nichols was born Grace Nichols in Robbins, Illinois in 1932. In 1959, Nichols got her first major role in the Samuel Goldwyn production of the popular play “Porgy and Bess.” After a chance meeting with the creator of Star Trek Gene Roddenberry in 1963, Nichols was able to finesse her way into a lead role on the television show that would later become a huge success. Nichols’ role as Lt. Uhura made her one of the first Black women to have a lead role in a television series in such a highly esteemed position. And although the original Star Trek series only ran for three seasons (1966-1969), the Star Trek phenomenon lasted for decades and Nichelle Nichols was able to influence generations of aspiring Black astronauts. In fact in 1977, Nichols was hired by NASA to specifically recruit more minorities and African-Americans for its space shuttle program. Nichols held this position with NASA all the way up until 2015.

Reuters pays tribute to late actress Nichelle Nichols via Aziza Hassan’s Twitter account.

In this new digital culture, Star Trek is no longer credited for being the first futuristic show of its kind. However, all the new advances in tech today can be attributed to “The Milky Way” in some way, shape or form. The barriers that Nichelle Nichols tore down back in the 60’s made it possible for all women not just African-American women to say, “Hey, I can do that, too!” Rest in power to Nichelle Nichols and thank you for taking the chance given to you to represent Black Women with such grace and beauty because without Nichelle Nichols there would surely be no #BrooklynGirlCode -xoxo!!! 🚀🚀🚀

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#BrooklynGirlCode™ #FlashBackFridays: #EddieMurphy #Delirious

Comedian Eddie Murphy on stage in Washington D.C. filming his hit stand-up TV special Delirious.

Because it’s Friday (Flash Back Friday) and we made it through another terrible work week and because it just wouldn’t be #BrooklynGirlCode™ without the Brooklyn Bad Boy himself… Eddie Murphy!

Hit the link below to watch Murphy’s 1982 critically acclaimed stand-up comedy Delirious that many say was the pivotal film of his legendary career. It’s a blast from the past that is sure to make you laugh!!

***Spoiler Alert*** Content in this film is strictly for adults! Sorry kids! Enjoy the weekend! -xoxo ❣️

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Happy #InternationalWomensDay from #BrooklynGirlCode™ !!!

Special Google banner designed by Thoka Maer displayed on March 8th, 2022 honoring the progress of women worldwide.

I’m so happy The Creator made me a WOMAN!!!

All over the world women are idolized for their strength, courage and their ability to give life to other humans. And although modern technology has changed the way women are viewed, there’s no changing the genuine DNA of SHE! So, if you’re a woman reading this then today is your day! Celebrate your womanhood especially today on International Woman’s Day. Do something ultra-feminine and be happy that The Creator made you a Woman! -xoxo 🌺💕❣️🎁😎

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#BrooklynGirlCode™ #TBT’s: Nina Simone’s “To Be Young Gifted and Black!”

“In the whole world you know, there’s a million boys and girls who are young, gifted and Black. And that’s a fact!” -Nina Simone

It was the summer of 1969. Singer/songwriter Nina Simone was at the height of her career. Simone was performing at the Harlem Cultural Festival in New York City and decided to introduce her new song, “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” to the world. The song which was inspired by Simone’s late friend and famous playwright, Lorraine Hansberry turned out to be the ultimate ode to Black Excellence! The song would later be featured on Nina Simone’s live studio album Black Gold and would also become an unofficial anthem for the American Civil Rights Movement.

In honor of Black History Month, #BrooklynGirlCode is taking a trip back in time to the summer of 1969! Young gifted and black…oh what a lovely precious dream! Check out an exclusive throwback interview of Nina Simone speaking about the song below and enjoy! -xoxo <3

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#CoachFranke Celebrates 50 Years of Coaching Division I Women’s #Fencing at #TempleUniversity

Coach Franke and former Temple Fencer and #BrooklynGirlCode Creator, Aziza Hassan pose at the 2021 Temple Open in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Nikki Franke celebrates fifty years of coaching the Division 1 Women’s Fencing Team at Temple University this year!

Coach Franke and former Temple Fencer and #BrooklynGirlCode Creator, Aziza Hassan pose at the 2021 Temple Open in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Coach Franke (right) and former Temple Fencer and #BrooklynGirlCode Creator, Aziza Hassan (left) pose at the 2021 Temple Open in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

I was a young inexperienced teenager when I walked into Coach Franke’s fencing room in McGonigle Hall for the first time. Looking back now, I didn’t know anything (competitive-wise) about my weapon, Sabre. Coming from Brooklyn, New York and fencing only on a recreational level at the Peter Westbrook Foundation, I had only one national tournament under my belt. But, Coach Franke was still willing to take a chance on me.

This is what makes Coach Franke the great coach that she is, the chances that she’s willing to take on young inexperienced fencers. After transitioning over to Sabre from Foil the previous year at the suggestion of my then coach Mika’il Sankofa, I had to sharpen up my skills asap to prove to Coach Franke that she wasn’t just doing me a favor. Along with the help and support of Zoila Palacio who was the Sabre & Epee coach at Temple University, I went on to become a three-time NCAA Championship competitor as well as an All-American fencer for Temple University. Compared to my teammates back home who were already going on to compete at the 2000 Summer Games in Athens, I was far behind.

However, with the support of Coach Franke and Coach Palacio, I was able to go on and compete and gain high results in several international senior world cups all over the world between the years of 2006 and 2015.

This year makes 50 years that Coach Franke has been coaching up the young ladies at Temple University. I’m so glad that I chose Temple University as my school back in 2000. This is definitely a decision that I never regret. Here’s to 50 more years Coach Franke! Hoot! Hoot! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode <3

Update: Coach Franke will be inducted into the 2022 class of the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame.
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Congrats to #ZailaAvantGarde on Winning the #Scripps National #SpellingBee!!

Zaila Avant-garde shows off her pretty new hardware after winning the Scripps National Spelling Bee on July 8th, 2021. Photo courtesy of Scripps National Spelling Bee Instagram account.

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the word “Murraya” is defined as a genus of tropical Asiatic and Australian trees (family Rutaceae) having pinnate leaves and flowers with imbricated petals. However, to a young 14-year-old girl from New Orleans, Louisiana by the name of Zaila Avant-garde, the word “Murraya” means a whole lot more than that!

On July 8th, 2021 Zaila Avant-garde made history by becoming the first African-American (Jody-Anne Maxwell of Jamaica was the first Black contestant to win the title in 1998) to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee in the competition’s 96 year history. The event which was televised live on ESPN on Thursday evening drew a VIP crowd including First Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden who was there to witness Avant-garde become a national champion! In addition to her spelling talents, Avant-garde also enjoys playing basketball and holds three Guinness World Records for dribbling the most basketballs at one time. She’s amazing! With everything going on in the world right now, it’s little victories like these that are so special.

Congrats to Zaila Avant-garde and all the contestants of this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee. Watch the video of Avante-garde becoming a national champion by spelling the word “Murraya” below. It was the twirl at the end for us! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode <3

Zaila Avant-garde is the winner!!
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Good Luck to the #PeterWestbrookFoundation at the #Tokyo2020 #Olympics Next Month!

Olympian Peter Westbrook speaking to his Fencers at the Fencers Club in New York City.
Olympian Peter Westbrook speaking to his Fencers at the Fencers Club in New York City.
Olympian Peter Westbrook speaking to his Fencers at the Fencers Club in New York City.

“This is a lily white sport. Make no bones about it.” – Peter Westbrook

Peter Westbrook knows all about the sport of fencing. The six-time Olympic bronze medalist has been sending African-American fencers to the Olympic Games for the past two decades. I, myself started fencing at the Peter Westbrook Foundation when I was eleven-years-old and I’ve had the opportunity to know Peter Westbrook not just as an Olympian but as a human being. And trust me — they don’t make them like him anymore!

Next month for the Tokyo 2020 games, the Peter Westbrook Foundation will be sending a quarter of Team USA’s men’s fencing team to compete. This is something no other organization has done to date. Check out the cool news special CBS New York recently did highlighting the Peter Westbrook Foundation below. Good luck to my PWF fencing family at the Tokyo 2020 games next month. I’ve been knowing these Good Men all my life!! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode <3

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“You Can Kill the #Revolutionary But, You Can’t Kill the #Revolution!” – #FredHampton

A young Malcolm X (born Malcolm Little) in Omaha, Nebraska.

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. <3

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#TBT’s: #Two Intelligent #BlackMen Are Better Than One! #HappyBirthday #BobbySeale! 🖤

Black Panther Party founders Bobby Seal and Dr. Huey P. Newton in front of the official Black Panther Party headquarters
Black Panther Party founders Bobby Seal and Dr. Huey P. Newton in front of the official Black Panther Party headquarters
Black Panther Party founders Bobby Seal and Dr. Huey P. Newton in front of the official Black Panther Party headquarters. Photo courtesy of Jason Porter Pinterest page.

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.

Black Panther Party founder Bobby Seale.
Black Panther Party founder Bobby Seale. Photo courtesy of The Washington Post.

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.🖤

Photo of Black Panther Party founder Bobby Seale
Photo of Black Panther Party founder Bobby Seale. Photo courtesy of Moor Info.