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#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

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#TBT’s: #Two Intelligent #BlackMen Are Better Than One! #HappyBirthday #BobbySeale! 🖤

Black Panther Party founders Bobby Seal and Dr. Huey P. Newton in front of the official Black Panther Party headquarters
Black Panther Party founders Bobby Seal and Dr. Huey P. Newton in front of the official Black Panther Party headquarters
Black Panther Party founders Bobby Seal and Dr. Huey P. Newton in front of the official Black Panther Party headquarters. Photo courtesy of Jason Porter Pinterest page.

Today marks the 84th birthday of Black Panther Party founder, political activist Bobby Seale. Bobby Seale was born in Liberty, Texas on October 22nd, 1936. The oldest of three children, Bobby Seale moved to Oakland, California with his family when he was eight years old. Seale would later go on to form the very controversial, but very important Black Panther Party along with Dr. Huey P. Newton in Oakland in 1966. The party which eventually dissolved in 1982 aimed to inform and educate African-Americans on their civil rights and provide free food to residents in inner-city communities.

Black Panther Party founder Bobby Seale.
Black Panther Party founder Bobby Seale. Photo courtesy of The Washington Post.

In his later years, Seale wrote a few books, starred in popular television documentaries and became a college professor teaching Black Studies at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA (where my Temple Owls at?!). At 84 years old, Bobby Seale is still on the move educating and empowering. Happy Birthday to a true American Legend! And thank you for coming together with Dr. Huey P. Newton to form the Black Panther Party because two intelligent Black men are better than one! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode.🖤

Photo of Black Panther Party founder Bobby Seale
Photo of Black Panther Party founder Bobby Seale. Photo courtesy of Moor Info.

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#BrooklynGirlCode’s #TBT #TimeMachine: “Freaks Come Out At Night” Whodini (1984)

Whodini performing their hit smash
Whodini on stage performing their smash hit “Freaks Come Out At Night.”

“Now when freaks get dressed to go out at night
They like to wear leather jackets, chains and spikes
They wear rips and zippers all in their shirts
Real tight pants or fresh mini skirts
All kinds of colors runnin’ through their hair
And you could just about spot a freak anywhere
But then again, you could know someone all their life
But might not know they’re a freak unless you see them at night, ’cause

The Freaks Come Out At Night!”

The year is 1984. A gallon of gas is $1.10. The average monthly rent is $350.00. Colonel Joe Kittinger becomes the first person to complete a solo transatlantic flight in a helium balloon. Basketball legend Michael Jordan is getting ready to produce the Air Jordan 1 and the first ever personal computer designed by Apple Macintosh is officially set to go on sale! But, right in Brooklyn, New York a young Hip-Hop group by the name of Whodini is set to release their sophomore album Escape which will feature the mega-hits “Friends,” “Five Minutes of Funk” and “Freaks Come Out At Night!”

Cover Art for
Cover Art for “Freaks Come Out At Night”

Whodini who began to make a name for themselves in the music industry with their pumped-up stage shows and funkadelic wardrobe consisted of main lyricist Jalil Hutchins, co-vocalist John Fletcher (a.k.a. Ecstasy) and DJ Drew Carter (a.k.a. Grandmaster Dee). Although the duo released their self-titled debut album the previous year in 1983 which also featured the Halloween-themed song “Haunted House of Rock,” the group didn’t get the response they expected until the release of Escape one year later. Escape proved to be a fan-fave and would go on to sell one million copies in the U.S. alone! Whodini would also go on to set the trend for Hip-Hop artists being able to perform in large stadium venues after helping pioneer the Fresh Fest tour. The first Hip-Hop tour to play in a large colliseum nationwide.

Jermaine Dupri in
A young Jermaine Dupri shows off his best break dance moves in the video for Whodini’s classic hit “Freaks Come Out At Night.”

Later on Whodini’s music would go on to be sampled by Hip-Hop mega stars Will Smith, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Nas and even the late Tupac Shakur. Whodini proved that they were a force to be reckoned with not just in Hip-Hop but all genres of music! Check out the video for “Freaks Come Out At Night” below and let us know when you catch a young Jermaine Dupri showing off his best break Dance moves!