Posted on Leave a comment

#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

Posted on Leave a comment

#PeppaPig Gets Savage on Twitter & Takes Shots at Kanye West’s New Album #Donda !!!!

Kanye West gets Trolled by Peppa Pig
Kanye West gets Trolled by Peppa Pig
Kanye West gets trolled by popular British cartoon Peppa Pig.

They say when you’re on top that everyone is going to come for you! Well surprisingly cartoons are not exempt from this group! Kanye West dropped his highly-anticipated tenth studio album Donda this past week and Peppa Pig was caught trolling the Chicago rapper in a now-deleted savage and sassy tweet! The popular British animated pig who is no stranger to music also recently dropped her sophomore studio album titled Peppa’s Adventures: The Album. Peppa Pig’s album (which we’re sure is way more kid-friendlier than Kanye’s) was given a higher rating (6.5) by Pitchfork. Unfortunately, Kanye’s Donda album only received a 6.0 rating by the publication.

Well, it didn’t take long for Peppa Pig to let the world know on Twitter that her album was rated higher than Yeezy’s! Peppa Pig got into savage mode real quick taking shots at Yeezy for the whole world to see! Shortly after Peppa Pig’s official twitter account posted the tweet, it was deleted. Still, this has to be the funniest thing we’ve seen all week and we had to share.

Moral of the story… don’t mess with Peppa Pig and her music! Check out the bossy tweet from Peppa Pig’s official Twitter account below! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode <3

Peppa Pig's official Twitter Account trolls Kanye West's 'Donda' album on September 1st, 2021.
Peppa Pig’s official Twitter account trolls Kanye West’s ‘Donda’ album on September 1st, 2021.
Posted on Leave a comment

#Women In #Music: Art Vs. Business

Rapper Cardi B Performing at the 2021 Grammy Awards.

In today’s monetized music business, women are pushing the envelope and shattering traditional glass ceilings that were once set in place to keep men on top. With so many women in the industry currently making moves both in front and behind the camera, it’s becoming more and more obvious that music may be the surest way to skip all the loop holes and go straight to the top in corporate America. But who gets taken advantage of now that the women are becoming the leaders?

One of the main discussions in the music business today is the over-sexualization of women. From Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion‘s racy “WAP” performance at this year’s Grammy Awards receiving FCC complaints to Rihanna and Beyonce respectively showing off their bare bodies to promote their clothing lines, there’s no doubt about it, sex in the music business is “a thing.”

Rappers Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B give a racy and controversial performance at the 2021 Grammy Awards.

I guess the real discussion might be, can you succeed in the music business while staying true to yourself? Especially in today’s industry when it seems the female artists are often baring it all with hopes to become a household name. It actually still may be very possible. Ethiopia Habtemariam, a music executive who was recently promoted to Chairman & CEO of classic American imprint Motown Records is proof of this.

After joining Motown Records just seven years ago in 2014, Ethiopia Habtemariam rose through the ranks of corporate America while overseeing some of today’s most popular artists like Lil Baby, City Girls and Vince Staples. Habtemariam made it to the tippy top of the music industry where the bosses reside and she didn’t have to be overly sexual or twerk anything in front of any camera.

Motown Records CEO & Chairman Ethiopia Habtemariam.

Then you have Mona Scott-Young, a Haitian-American television and music executive who is responsible for creating the popular reality television series Love & Hip-Hop that has garnered a lot of attention over the years for perpetuating a bad image of hip-hop artists. Mona Scott-Young recently made the news for claiming that she gets way more criticism than her white male counterparts (i.e. Ryan Seacrest, Andy Cohen) due to the fact that she’s the only Black woman in her position. The interesting thing about Mona Scott-Young’s story is that her Love & Hip Hop show actually creates a platform for up-and-coming music artists to be seen. It was Love & Hip-Hop that introduced Cardi B to the world right before the sex-driven, Bronx-born rapper took the music industry by storm. So, can we be that mad at Mona Scott-Young for the image that Love & Hip-Hop portrays? Cardi B is undeniably one of the most successful hip-hop artists in history to date. Who knows if she would have reached this pinnacle without being featured on Love & Hip Hop? It’s almost like a double-edged sword.

Success is success is success! However, it’s harder for the older generation of music lovers to accept this brand new world of music. They’re the ones who grew up watching Lauryn Hill do it with such grace and class.

Lauryn Hill was and still is a beautifully talented artist who sold millions of albums and made a lot of money while keeping all her clothes on — a true gem in Hip-Hop. Still whether behind the camera, in the office or on stage at The Grammys, women in music, both the artists and the executives are raising the bar for many generations to come. And we definitely love to see it! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode <3

Singer/Rapper/Songwriter/Actor Lauryn Hill.

Posted on Leave a comment

#PopSmoke’s New Album #Faith Is On the Way!!!

Pop Smoke 'Faith' cover art

Just when we thought summer couldn’t get any hotter🔥🔥, Pop Smoke‘s management team recently announced that the late Brooklyn rapper has another posthumous album dropping for our listening pleasure! The new album, appropriately titled Faith after the tattoo on the rapper’s left eye has a star-studded lineup to boot! All-star features on Faith include Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Chris Brown, Dua Lipa, Tory Lanez, Quavo, Kodak Black, Tyga, Swae Lee, Takeoff, Youngboy Never Broke Again and several others.

Faith is the follow-up to Pop Smoke’s chart-topping 2020 release Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon. Faith is set to be released on July 16th, 2021 and we are ready! Congrats to Pop Smoke’s family on all his recent success. Check out our exclusive interview with Pop Smoke’s mother Audrey Jackson that we featured on #BrooklynGirlCode back in April. Long live Pop Smoke! 💫💫💫

Rapper Pop Smoke
Photo of Rapper Pop Smoke courtesy of Complex Instagram.
Posted on Leave a comment

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!!
Posted on Leave a comment

#TerenceCrutcher

Victim Terence Crutcher with a family member

screenshot-2016-09-20-15-26-34
Shooting victim Terence Crutcher (l) pictured with his father (r). Photo courtesy of Facebook.

On Friday, September 16th, 2016, another innocent unarmed African-American male was killed by gunfire at the hands of another White police officer. This time the location was Tulsa, Oklahoma and the victim was 40 year-old Terence Crutcher. The officer responsible for his death was Officer Betty Shelby who somehow believed that Crutcher had a firearm on him at the time she shot even though the police video clearly shows that Crutcher had both his arms raised. So, what will the outcome of this situation be? Will it be just like all the other murders (i.e. Trayvon Martin, Laquan McDonald, Eric Garner, Michael Brown) that we speak about for several days then stop speaking about right up until the next shooting occurs?

The issue that has to be addressed here is police training! These police officers are being trained improperly or they are not being given enough training prior to being released out into the field to protect and serve! As a result of this, whether it be systemic racism or just poor training, Black men are losing their lives to police officers at an alarmingly high rate in America.

Why are these officers so quick to shoot? Why are they pulling the trigger with no just cause and killing these Black men with no remorse? My idea is that somewhere down the line these officers were either taught to shoot first or specifically taught who to shoot at. Either way, there is something happening or not happening during the police training that has to be addressed in order for this epidemic to end. I feel that police training should be way more extensive, especially since these men and women are dealing with the lives of innocent people. This is not a sport. This is real life. These are innocent people with families and responsibilities who are being gunned down senselessly.

Terence Crutcher was a man who did not deserve to lose his life. Now he will join the countless other Black men who lost their lives at the hands of police officers. God bless Terence Crutcher and his family during this difficult time. Stop the shooting and address proper police training ASAP!

screenshot-2016-09-20-14-35-00
Officer Betty Shelby (R) shot and killed unarmed Terrence Crutcher (L) on September 16th, 2016 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.