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#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.

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Audrey Jackson Is Making Sure the Legacy of #PopSmoke Continues Through His #ShootForTheStars Foundation!

#BrooklynGirlCode creator, Aziza Hassan (left) with Audrey Jackson, mother of rapper Pop Smoke in Brooklyn on April 10th, 2021. Photo courtesy of #BrooklynGirlCode.

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.

Audrey Jackson, mother of rapper Pop Smoke poses in front of a portrait of her son in Brooklyn on April 10th, 2021. Photo courtesy of #BrooklynGirlCode.

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!

Jamel Oakman for Renayssance Entertainment interviewing Audrey Jackson at The Brooklyn Estates in Brooklyn on April 10th, 2021. Photo courtesy of #BrooklynGirlCode.
Audrey Jackson, mother of rapper Pop Smoke getting ready to speak with the media in Brooklyn on April 10th, 2020. Photo courtesy of #BrooklynGirlCode.
Fun times in Brooklyn with friends! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode <3
At this year’s 2021 Billboard Music Awards, Pop Smoke won several awards for his posthumous album Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon. Pictured above is Pop Smoke’s mother Audrey Jackson at the BBMA’s on May 23rd, 2021 along with a family member holding all her son’s trophies.
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First Annual #TLPBlockParty to Honor Legendary Spoken Word Group ‘The Last Poets’ Goes Down This Weekend In D.C.!

If you’re planning on being in or near the D.C. area this weekend then you may want to drop by popular eatery Bus Boys and Poets on Sunday, May 19th for an epic event!

Team Triumphant Presents: “The Last Poets Block Party!” A tribute to The Last Poets. The first annual Last Poets Block Party will honor and commemorate the inception of the legendary spoken word group, The Last Poets who formed fifty years ago in Harlem, New York. The Last Poets are credited with creating the Spoken Word music genre which would later form into modern-day Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop artists scheduled to perform at the block party this Sunday include Brooklyn’s own Talib Kweli of Black Star, Smif N Wessun, Black Alley plus several other talented artists!

It all goes down this Sunday, May 19th at the famous Bus Boys and Poets cultural center in Washington D.C and #BrooklynGirlCode will be there!

For tickets please contact Sabriyah Hassan @agave718 on Instagram, curator of the first annual Last Poets Block Party and we’ll see you this weekend at #TLPBlockParty! #PowerToThePeople!!!✊🏾