Posted on 1 Comment

#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

Posted on Leave a comment

Vivica A. Fox Shares Update on Longtime friend Regina King

“She is surrounded by so much love y’all. Our community is right there for her.” – Vivica A. Fox

“I was with Regina King last night and she’s alright…” actress Vivica A. Fox recently spoke on her show Cocktails With Queens and gave viewers an update on how her longtime friend Regina King is doing since losing her son Ian Alexander Jr. to suicide last week. “This has been absolutely one of the longest weekends I’ve ever had in my life. It’s like I can’t stop crying.” Vivica said on the show while holding back tears.

“She is surrounded by so much love y’all. Our community is right there for her.” Our love and support go out to Regina King during this difficult time. Scroll down to watch full video. -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode™ 👑 👑💜💜

Actresses Vivica Fox and Regina King via Essence.com.

Posted on Leave a comment

A Night w/ Umar Bin Hassan @ Petra’s!

Poet Umar Bin Hassan of The Last Poets
Poet Umar Bin Hassan of The Last Poets
Official Petra’s event flier for Poet, Umar Bin Hassan of legendary spoken word group The Last Poets.

Umar Bin Hassan of legendary spoken word group, The Last Poets will be performing at Petra’s bar in Charlotte, North Carolina on August 21st, 2021. Special guests performing on August 21st include Bluz Rodgers, Tony McCullough, Antonio Diaz plus other invited guests to be announced. Should be a night filled with some beautiful people! When I asked my dad for a quote about him performing at his upcoming show on the 21st, he replied:

“Yeah, I’m excited about it. I’m excited about it. Okay?” -Umar Bin Hassan

For more information about this show please contact Jibril Hough @ 704.258.0304. -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode <3

Posted on Leave a comment

#Brandy and #Monica Take Us Down #MemoryLane With a Record-Breaking #Verzuz Battle!

Brandy and Monica in "It All Belongs To Me" official music video

Brandy and Monica in
Brandy and Monica in “It All Belongs To Me” official music video

It was “Ladies Night” this past Monday, August 31st, when music legends Brandy and Monica put their differences aside and came together for one night only to perform their classic R&B hits for Verzuz. The battle which was streamed live on Instagram and Apple Music broke the internet with more than one million viewers tuning in to watch the two superstars battle it out classic for classic! Of course these two divas 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 to wish the ladies well while rocking her own alma mater Howard University on a relaxed-fit sweatshirt. The only thing that would’ve made the night complete for us is if Mekhi Phifer would have came out and made a special appearance for the duo’s Grammy award-winning single, “The Boy Is Mine.” It never happened, but it was still a very memorable event!

Check out some cool footage from the Verzuz battle below. Looking forward to the world tour ladies! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode <3

Posted on Leave a comment

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!!!✊🏾

Posted on Leave a comment

#JazzLegend #Thelonious #Monk Turns #100!

Screenshot 2017-10-10 11.58.56
Thelonious Monk performing at Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem. Photo courtesy of Bluenote.com.

Today is the centennial birthday of American jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk. So, you know Brooklyn Girl Code had to write about it! Thelonious (Sphere) Monk (named after his maternal grandfather) was born in Rocky Point, North Carolina on October 10th, 1917. To many, Monk is considered to be one of the forefathers of modern jazz. And today on his 100th birthday, Thelonious Monk is still one of the most-recorded jazz composers in history falling second to Duke Ellington. This record is one that we may not see broken for a long time to come. Monk who stood out from the crowd for his unique sense of fashion, was a true genius on the piano and could woo his audience even if he played wearing only shorts. Monk started playing piano at the young age of six after moving from North Carolina to the Big Apple in 1922 with his family. As a youth, Monk played the church organ and later began taking his musical career more seriously serving as the house pianist at Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem. A world-renowned venue that is known as the birthplace of Bebop music. Monk’s noted influences included Duke Ellington, James P. Johnson and his mentor Mary Lou Williams. After an incident with the New York City Police involving Monk and his friend Bud Powell in 1951, Monk had his New York City Cabaret Card revoked and couldn’t play at many N.Y.C. venues for several years. This forced the jazz legend to take his musical talents over to Europe.

Later in his life, Thelonious Monk became more introverted and performed less for sold out crowds. But, thank goodness his music career spanned over thirty years (1940s- 1973) because otherwise, we would have never been blessed with Monk’s musical genius and prowess. Long after his death, Thelonious Monk is still influencing American music and culture and will continue to do so. Happy 100th Birthday to a real American jazz legend! Watch footage of Thelonious Monk playing with his band in Norway and Denmark in 1966 below via YouTube.

Thelonious Monk and fellow Jazz musician John Coltrane.
Thelonious Monk sitting on his thrown! I3
Posted on 2 Comments

Organized Noize Speak On Putting Southern Hip-Hop on The Map, Bringing Creativity Back to The Game & Their New Critically Acclaimed Self-Titled EP

Cover Art for the new 'Organized Noize' EP

Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 10.57.41 PM
Legendary Atlanta Production trio Organized Noize on the cover of their new self-titled EP ‘Organized Noize.’ From left: Rico Wade, Ray Murray and Sleepy Brown

Have you ever listened to TLC’s mega hit “Waterfalls?” Have you ever played your Stankonia CD by OutKast so many times that it just completely stopped working? Perhaps you’ve sung En Vogue‘s 1996 hit “Don’t Let Go (Love)” or Xscape‘s 1995 song “Keep It On The Real” at the top of your lungs so high that you completely lost your voice? If you’ve found yourself doing any of these things then more than likely you’re a fan of legendary Atlanta production trio Organized Noize. Organized Noize which consists of Rico Wade, Ray Murray and Sleepy Brown have been producing some of your favorite hits since the early 90’s. This past May 5th, the trio released their first collaborative self-titled EP, Organized Noize. The EP features appearances from Atlanta’s own 2 Chainz, Big Boi, Cee-Lo GreenJoi and others. Although the album only consists of seven tracks, Organized Noize did an excellent job of getting their musical point across. Consciously aware songs like “We the Ones” and “Why Can’t We” that tackle all the political and cultural tensions currently taking place in America in addition to psychedelic tracks like “Kush” and “Awesome Lovin’” where the trio show off their trademark sound would give any music lover a musical high. I had the huge opportunity to interview Organized Noize last week during one of their press days. We spoke about the group’s upcoming projects, their 2016 Netflix documentary The Art of Organized Noize and some other things.

Speaking with the three young men, you’re initially thrown back by their humility. I myself didn’t know Sleepy Brown was even a producer. All these years I assumed he was just a background singer/hypeman for legendary hip-hop duo OutKast. Many people are used to seeing Sleepy Brown alongside OutKast in some of their more popular music videos like “So Fresh, So Clean” and “The Way You Move.” So, after finding out Sleepy Brown was responsible for producing all this awesome music, I was truly impressed. However, after speaking with him it makes perfect sense. Sleepy Brown’s father, Jimmy Brown was also involved in music and was a lead vocalist in the 1970’s funk band Brick. Brown also credits his dad for being a huge inspiration in his musical career. Although Brown is often compared to the late great hip-hop artist Nate Dogg because of their similar jazzy, melodic song hooks, he tells me he doesn’t mind the comparisons at all and is actually honored. As far as musical influences, Sleepy Brown says Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes and the Commodores are his top three faves. Pretty decent top three!

Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 11.01.14 PM
Organized Noize’s Sleepy Brown & Big Boi performing on ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’ on April 24th, 2017.

Next up is Rico Wade who serves as a leader for the group and is also the most outspoken of the three. Rico Wade who can be seen wearing a mask quite often these days says that the mask represents his evolution in music and the group’s alternative style that is well known all over the world. When I ask Rico Wade what initially drew him to hip-hop music, he says that watching the video for “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang and classic cult movies like Breakin’ and Krush Groove made him love the music and culture. Well thank goodness he decided to watch those films because without Rico Wade there would be no OutKast, Goodie Mob, Joi, YoungBloodZ, Slim Cutta Calhoun, Future and many others.

Rico Wade is the one who can be blamed for facilitating all these artists in his mother’s basement back in the early 90’s which is how the Dungeon Family got the idea for their name. Rico Wade was the one who gave all these talented people a safe place to express their feelings through hip-hop music. And since no good deed goes unpunished, the Dungeon Family eventually went on to sell 75 million plus records under Wade’s guidance. No big deal! Music Executive L.A. Reid also credits Rico Wade for introducing him to hip-hop music.

When I ask Rico Wade who his top three producers of all time are he names Quincy Jones, George Clinton and James Brown. Go figure since OutKast’s classic 1994 debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik pretty much served as the group’s Thriller album in that it catapulted them to a much higher level in their music careers. When I ask the group what it was like producing and creating Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik back in the early 90’s and if they knew that the album would take off like it did, Rico Wade responds:

“We had to earn our respect. It was a time when Nas‘ song “One Love” (off his 1994 debut album IIImatic) and Raekwon were getting all the airplay on the radio. People weren’t used to hearing rappers with a southern dialect over hip-hop tracks. So, we had to convince the New York DJ’s to play our stuff.”

Cover art for OutKast's classic 1994 debut album 'Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik.'
Cover art for OutKast’s 1994 debut album ‘Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik.’

Wade’s perseverance paid off and OutKast went on to not only find a place amongst hip-hop’s elite but amongst all of music’s elite. But, it didn’t happen over night. Rico Wade’s influence was heavy and even spilled over to his close family members. A young hip-hop artist right out of Atlanta that went by the name “Future” wanted to excel in music like his older second cousin. Future went on to become a top selling hip-hop artist as well. The only negative repercussion of Future’s success is the heavy glamorization of drugs in his music (i.e., “Mask Off“) that Wade wishes would come to an end. Wade states:

“Future, that’s blood. But, I still feel like he can be more creative in his lyrics.”

Still, Future has done what many other artists have never done in hip-hop. This past February the rapper made history when he became the first artist in any music genre to have two back-to back albums peak at No. 1 on the Billboard charts (FUTURE and HNDRXX). So, you can’t deny Rico Wade’s second cousin his accolades.

Nevertheless, all eras eventually come to an end and with consciously aware artists like J. Cole, Chance the Rapper, Logic and Kendrick Lamar doing big things in music these days, we may see an end to all the “drug rap” real soon.

Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 9.25.45 PM

Finally is Ray Murray who just may be the most humble one out of the trio. Although he’s pretty quiet, he serves as somewhat of a back bone for Organized Noize. He also served as a mentor for Goodie Mobb member Big Gipp who credits Murray for teaching him the art of rap early in his career in the group’s 2016 Netflix documentary The Art of Organized Noize. In the documentary directed by Quincy Jones III, we also find out Ray Murray is a graffiti artist and when I ask Murray if he still does his graffiti when he’s not making music he replies: “What you know about graffiti?” When I ask Murray who his top three producers of all time are, he politely states, “Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Teddy Riley and Rico Wade.”

No doubt Organized Noize has already cemented their position in music history. However, they are not done. With new projects coming up soon including Big Boi’s new album Boomiverse which the trio executive-produced, these guys are back in business. In a time where everything is being recycled in music and originality is almost non-existent, it’s nice to know that Organized Noize is here to bring some creativity back to the game. Purchase the Organized Noize EP here and stay tuned for upcoming news from Atlanta’s legendary production trio via their website http://therealonp.com/. Keep up the awesome work fellas! <3

Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 7.47.20 PM
Photo courtesy of Prince Williams/WireImage