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#BrooklynGirlCode™ Event Recap #NYCMenTeach Presents: A #HipHopCypher !!!

NYC Men Teach: A Hip Hop Cypher official event flier.

It was a star-studded event this past Friday when NYC Men Teach presented: “A Hip Hop Cypher.” Everyone bought their best rhymes and poetry to the cypher while some of today’s top Hip-Hop artists and influencers stopped by to drop some beautiful gems for the next generation of Hip-Hop artists. Celebrities who were in attendance included Big Tigger of BET’s Rap City, the lovely Free (formerly of 106 & Park), Philly’s own Freeway who was celebrating 19 years of his debut album Philadelphia Freeway; News anchor/activist Dr. Marc Lamont Hill who dropped tons of Hip-Hop knowledge on us, DJ Whutever and Umar Bin Hassan of legendary spoken word group The Last Poets who served as the elder for the evening’s festivities.

Everyone bought their A-game to this successful and positive event. What a way to cap off Black History Month 2022! Thank you to the moderators Nathaniel Smith, Vincent Deas and DJ Faro who kept us dancing to the hits all night! Special shoutout to all the great people over at NYC Men Teach for putting together such an informative and insightful event! Keep educating! -xoxo

Event moderator Vincent Deas as well as famous rappers Freeway, Big Tigger and Free were all in attendance!
Featured Poet for the night Umar Bin Hassan of The Last Poets and Event Moderator Nathaniel Smith.
Miss Free Marie giving some insight on the music industry.
Big Tigger holding it down for the Hip-Hop pioneers.
Philadelphia’s finest, rapper Freeway showing some love in the cypher.
News Anchor/ Activist Dr. Marc Lamont Hill spreading all of his Hip-Hop knowledge!
What a fun night shared with family and friends!
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#GoodMorning from #BrooklynGirlCode™ ☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️

Photo courtesy of Rashidaaz Instagram.

You know the vibes … #NowBlasting🎶 #MovedToMiami #RoddyRich #LilBaby #HipHop #GoodMorning from #BrooklynGirlCode™ ☕️☕️☕️.

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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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#JazzLegend #Thelonious #Monk Turns #100!

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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