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?!?!
On February 26th, The Big Apple elected a new Public Advocate into office. The young Brooklyn native who goes by the name of Jumaane Williams is also a self-proclaimed “Hip-Hop Head” and as far as we’re concerned, Mr. Williams has already started off his term on two good notes!
Congrats to Jumaane Williams on winning the election and all the best to him on his new position in office! Brooklyn wins again! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode™ 😎
Read the original article about Mr. Williams’ big win published in the New York Times on February 27th, 2019 here.
This past Election Day 2018, History was made in the state of Florida. Amendment 4 which will restore the voting rights of convicted felons was passed. Although this amendment had no major impact on this past Tuesday’s election, this will be huge for the state of Florida and the U.S. for future elections including the upcoming Presidential Election in 2020.
In the United States, more than six million convicted felons have lost their voting rights due to their criminal records. Of this six million, over 1.5 million reside right in the state of Florida. Amendment 4 which will go into effect on January 8, 2019 was a long hard fight fought mostly by a 51 year old man by the name of Desmond Meade who is the President of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition.
Meade who was born in St. Croix and relocated to Miami, Florida at the young age of five with his family experienced a bit of trouble during his childhood. This trouble would eventually lead him to being convicted of felony cocaine possession amongst other things. After serving his time and being released in 2004, Meade chose to do better in life and decided to go back to school and successfully obtained his law degree from Florida International University. However, because of his past felonies, Meade was not allowed to sit for the bar exam. This is when Meade began his hard fight to get the voting rights of convicted felons restored.
“This amazing work that we’re doing, it’s shiny and bright now, and there’s a lot of people that want to attach to it. But there was a time when it wasn’t that shiny. There was a time when I was knocking on doors and nobody wanted to answer.”
Well this last Tuesday, November 6th, all of Meade’s hard work paid off when Amendment 4 was passed! Thank goodness Meade made a decision several years ago after being released from prison to do something more positive with his life. Now millions of reformed criminals will have the right to vote because of Meade’s decision! Thank you Desmond Meade for your courage and bravery and congratulations on this huge victory! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode 🖤
Another Memorial Day is upon us! And with all the events going on in the world, it’s hard to take a moment to relax and reflect on what Memorial Day really means to us as American citizens. For some, it’s (paid) time off of work and a well deserved break. For others, it’s all about the family gatherings and cookouts and celebrating another season of summer. All of these traditions are well accepted. However, many might not know that the origin of Memorial Day actually started in Charleston, S.C. (a place where most of my family is from) in the 1800’s and the holiday began to commemorate 200+ Union soldiers that died due to the result of poor conditions at the Confederate Prison Camps in Charleston during the Civil War. The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture posted a great photo on Instagram of a group of African-American soldiers from the war to educate readers on the origin of Memorial Day. NMAAHC stated in their caption:
“Today is the day that our nation takes pause to celebrate the service and sacrifice of our military heroes that gave their lives to secure our freedoms. The earliest commemoration of what would later become Memorial Day, was organized in a former Confederate Prison Camp in Charleston, S.C. on May 1, 1865. The celebration was established by over 1,000 newly freed African Americans, in addition to U.S. Colored Troops regiments and a small group of white Charlestonians. This group came together to honor the 257 Union soldiers that died as a result of the poor conditions of the Confederate Prison Camp during the war. They removed the soldiers from a mass grave that the Confederates made and created proper burial grounds for Union soldiers. Together they sang hymns, set flowers, and gave readings in honor of the soldiers’ sacrifice. #MemorialDay #MilitaryAppreciationMonth #APeoplesJourney #ANationsStory”
Author Sewell Chan also wrote a great piece for the New York Times titled The Unofficial History of Memorial Day. In the article, Chan gets more in depth about the holiday. A great article to check out when you get a free moment from stuffing your face with cheeseburgers. Salute to all of the soldiers who lost their lives fighting to keep us free so that we can all have the opportunity to celebrate these holidays in peace! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode ❤
Have you ever listened to TLC’s mega hit “Waterfalls?” Have you ever played your Stankonia CD by OutKastso 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-LoGreen, Joi 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!
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 Southernplayalisticadillacmuzikback 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.”
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.”
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.
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! ❤