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
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!
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.
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.
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!
#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™ 🏀 ❤️
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™ 🖤
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?!?!
It was a crazy and very eventful Summer ’18 to say the least! While some people attributed all the weird and wild events to Mercury Retrograde, others claimed it was just the weather. Either way, #BrooklynGirlCode was there for every weird and wild news happening that occurred.
From the tragic news of Aretha Franklin’s passing to the craziest summer challenges (The Shiggy and Ray J Hat Challenge), we got it covered! Check out #BrooklynGirlCode’s biggest news stories of Summer 2018 below and let’s hope that the Fall 2018 season will be a little less chaotic!
We think this one might’ve shocked us the most. After announcing their official marriage in Las Vegas earlier this summer, singer Faith Evans and producer Stevie J had everyone asking questions. Like, “Whaaaaat?” But if they are happy and in love then we are happy for them! We can expect to see Faith Evans appearing on several episodes of the upcoming season of Love &HipHop: Atlanta, as well. Congrats to the couple!
Faith Evans featuring Stevie J, “A Minute”
After having a big Hip-Hop battle with Drake earlier in the summer, Pusha T decided to put the diss tracks on hold and marry long time girlfriend Virginia Williams. Celebrities in attendance included Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and his brother Malice who performed the nuptials. Sweet! <3
Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz decided to join in on the summer wedding trend and married his long time girlfriend Kesha Ward in a lavish ceremony in Miami, Florida on August 18th, 2018. Celebrity guests in attendance included Lil Wayne, Kanye West and his wife Kim Kardashian (again). Congrats to the lovely couple!
2Chainz and his mother dancing at his wedding in Miami, Florida on August 18th, 2018
When the temperature rises, you know what that means! People are heated and hands are going to get thrown! There were a few battles this summer, but we’re just going to go over the juiciest ones.
Cardi B and Nicki Minaj disappointed the “Upper Echelon Society” of New York City earlier this month by getting into a huge fight at the Harper’s Bazaar Icons party at the Plaza Hotel during New York Fashion Week. This was a long time coming with these two Hip-Hop Divas. So, #BrooklynGirlCode wasn’t surprised at all.
After surprising the industry with her sudden marriage to Stevie J, Faith Evans wanted to make some more headlines and decided to get into a fight with long time rival, hip-hop soul queen, Mary J Blige. Allegedly, the two got into it at a party in the Hamptons being thrown by music mogul Puff Daddy. Both ladies later denied the allegations.
In good news, after watching Cardi B and Nicki Minaj go at it in public, Meek Mill and Drake decided to end their little quarrel and make up on stage in front of their fans. Awwww!
THE SUMMER’S BEST CHALLENGES:
Do the Shiggy! After a young popular blogger from Queens, New York made a dance video to Drake’s song, “In My Feelings” and posted it on Instagram, the whole world went nuts! Everyone was doing The Shiggy and Shiggy himself became an overnight celebrity!
Drake, “In My Feelings”
The Ray J Hat Challenge: Actor/singer Ray J Norwood decided to get in on all the challenge fun and had everyone wearing their hat in different ways after a video of him sporting his cap all kinds of ways went viral.
When we found out earlier this summer that Lezley McSpadden (mother of Michael Brown) was running for Ferguson, Missouri City Council, we were overjoyed! After losing her son so tragically back in 2014, McSpadden decided to be apart of the movement to stop police violence and get involved in politics. We hope she wins!
Golf legend Tiger Woods came out of hiatus and shocked the masses by taking second place at the 2018 PGA Championships. Get ’em Tiger!
Colin Kaepernick made headlines when he partnered with Nike to promote his “Take a Knee” movement. Whether upset with Kaepernick or extremely happy for him, everyone was talking about it!
A young Naomi Osaka became the new U.S. Open Tennis 2018 champion, upsetting one of the greatest athletes of all time, Serena Williams.
“The Queen of Soul”
Aretha Franklin, “Won’t Be Long” (Steve Allen Show 1964)
Hip-Hop Artist, Mac Miller
The Carters did what they know how to do so well All Summer Eighteen… make that money $$$$$!!! Their On The Run II Tour broke ticket sale records and grossed millions!
And to cap off our biggest summer ’18 news stories, actor Geoffrey Owens of The Cosby Show fame got caught red-handed working as a cashier at Trader Joe’s. And believe it or not, it ended up working to his advantage! Movie mogul Tyler Perry offered Owens a recurring role on his hit show, The Have and the Have Nots. Go Figure!
See you all next summer (2019) for more hot and interesting news stories! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode <3
#BrooklynGirlCode will be heading to Philly this weekend to watch the lovely young ladies pictured above and the rest of the Division I Temple University Women’s Fencing team win at the 38th Annual Temple Open! The event which is the largest collegiate individual meet in the country will be held this year at the Liacouras Center located on Temple University‘s main campus. It’s always a joy to see the next generation of young Temple fencers compete and win knowing that I once was in their spot, fighting hard to get every touch to beat my opponent as well as my record from the previous season. Fencing is not an easy sport to compete in, however, the joy from winning each bout tops everything!
Dr. Nikki Franke who is currently in her 46th year at Temple is looking to lead her ladies to 1st place in every women’s individual event this weekend and judging from the past years, this is very accomplishable. Coach Franke, who was once my coach while I attended Temple has a stern but lenient way of coaching her fencers to victory that proves to work year after year after year. Good luck to everyone competing this weekend at the 38th Annual Temple Open. #BrooklynGirlCode will be in the building! “][“Uuu baby!!! <3
“Tiger Woods y’all! Tiger Woods y’all! Tiger-Tiger-Tiger-Tiger-Tiger-Woods y’all! Heeeey Tiger Woods y’all.” – Actor Chris Rock in Paramount Picture’sDown to Earth (2001)
The man with the golden club is back! Golfing legend, Tiger Woods was back in his glory this week when he returned to the golf course at the Hero World Challenge currently taking place in NASSAU, Bahamas. Woods had been on hiatus from competition due to a back injury that required two major surgeries. However, this past Thursday, the golf legend was in great shape and ready to go! Tiger Woods is actually wearing double hats at the tournament as he is competing as well as hosting the unofficial PGA Tour which benefits his Tiger Woods Foundation. So far, so good. Woods is currently tied for ninth at the Hero World Challenge and has the rest of the weekend to get back to his favorite number one spot as the challenge concludes on Sunday, December 4th. Let’s see if he can pull it off. You can follow the Hero World Challenge here for updates and adjusted scores. Let’s get it! Yaaaay Tiger!:)
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