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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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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.

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#PopSmoke’s New Album #Faith Is On the Way!!!

Pop Smoke 'Faith' cover art

Just when we thought summer couldn’t get any hotter🔥🔥, Pop Smoke‘s management team recently announced that the late Brooklyn rapper has another posthumous album dropping for our listening pleasure! The new album, appropriately titled Faith after the tattoo on the rapper’s left eye has a star-studded lineup to boot! All-star features on Faith include Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Chris Brown, Dua Lipa, Tory Lanez, Quavo, Kodak Black, Tyga, Swae Lee, Takeoff, Youngboy Never Broke Again and several others.

Faith is the follow-up to Pop Smoke’s chart-topping 2020 release Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon. Faith is set to be released on July 16th, 2021 and we are ready! Congrats to Pop Smoke’s family on all his recent success. Check out our exclusive interview with Pop Smoke’s mother Audrey Jackson that we featured on #BrooklynGirlCode back in April. Long live Pop Smoke! 💫💫💫

Rapper Pop Smoke
Photo of Rapper Pop Smoke courtesy of Complex Instagram.
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Congrats to #ZailaAvantGarde on Winning the #Scripps National #SpellingBee!!

Zaila Avant-garde shows off her pretty new hardware after winning the Scripps National Spelling Bee on July 8th, 2021. Photo courtesy of Scripps National Spelling Bee Instagram account.

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the word “Murraya” is defined as a genus of tropical Asiatic and Australian trees (family Rutaceae) having pinnate leaves and flowers with imbricated petals. However, to a young 14-year-old girl from New Orleans, Louisiana by the name of Zaila Avant-garde, the word “Murraya” means a whole lot more than that!

On July 8th, 2021 Zaila Avant-garde made history by becoming the first African-American (Jody-Anne Maxwell of Jamaica was the first Black contestant to win the title in 1998) to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee in the competition’s 96 year history. The event which was televised live on ESPN on Thursday evening drew a VIP crowd including First Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden who was there to witness Avant-garde become a national champion! In addition to her spelling talents, Avant-garde also enjoys playing basketball and holds three Guinness World Records for dribbling the most basketballs at one time. She’s amazing! With everything going on in the world right now, it’s little victories like these that are so special.

Congrats to Zaila Avant-garde and all the contestants of this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee. Watch the video of Avante-garde becoming a national champion by spelling the word “Murraya” below. It was the twirl at the end for us! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode <3

Zaila Avant-garde is the winner!!
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Good Luck to the #PeterWestbrookFoundation at the #Tokyo2020 #Olympics Next Month!

Olympian Peter Westbrook speaking to his Fencers at the Fencers Club in New York City.
Olympian Peter Westbrook speaking to his Fencers at the Fencers Club in New York City.
Olympian Peter Westbrook speaking to his Fencers at the Fencers Club in New York City.

“This is a lily white sport. Make no bones about it.” – Peter Westbrook

Peter Westbrook knows all about the sport of fencing. The six-time Olympic bronze medalist has been sending African-American fencers to the Olympic Games for the past two decades. I, myself started fencing at the Peter Westbrook Foundation when I was eleven-years-old and I’ve had the opportunity to know Peter Westbrook not just as an Olympian but as a human being. And trust me — they don’t make them like him anymore!

Next month for the Tokyo 2020 games, the Peter Westbrook Foundation will be sending a quarter of Team USA’s men’s fencing team to compete. This is something no other organization has done to date. Check out the cool news special CBS New York recently did highlighting the Peter Westbrook Foundation below. Good luck to my PWF fencing family at the Tokyo 2020 games next month. I’ve been knowing these Good Men all my life!! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode <3

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Robert Pattinson to Play #TheBatman in New Warner Bros. Film

Robert Pattinson as The Batman

So word on the street is Robert Pattinson is set to play The Batman in the new Matt Reeves film that is set to be released by Warner Bros. Films in late 2021. However, last week Page Six reported that Robert Pattinson was recovering from Covid-19. Well if this is true, we really hope that he gets well soon because #BrooklynGirlCode is a known supporter of anything related to The Batman and Gotham City! Page Six reported that the Twilight actor who was once engaged to Uk singer FKA twigs had fallen ill during production causing everything to come to a hault. Other acclaimed actors who are set to be featured in the new The Batman film includes Jeffrey Wright, Zoe Kravitz, Colin Farrell and others. Who’s your favorite Batman of all time? Let us know! Get well soon Robert because we’re really looking forward to this film!! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode <3

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May 19th Marks The 50th Anniversary of #TheLastPoets Groundbreaking #Debut Album!

Cover Art for The Last Poets 1970 self-titled debut alum.

The year was 1968. In Harlem and all over the world an uprising was occurring due to the major events that had taken place earlier in the decade. For African-Americans, it seemed like all hope had been lost. All of our prominent leaders had been either erased or shot down by mysterious forces.

To call yourself a musician or an artist in today’s world and not be aware of The Last Poets and what they did for the music culture and American culture—period is an atrocity (in my opinion). You better do your research! And with all that is going on in the world right now, this is the perfect time to do it!

On May 19th, 2020 @ 7pm EST, we will be celebrating The 50th Anniversary with an epic livestream event! Video Music Box, UHHM and Seeds of The Last Poets presents: “Bridging the Gap: An Evening of Conversation w/ The Last Poets.” The virtual event hosted by legendary VJ Ralph McDaniels of Video Music Box will feature appearances from Rakim of Eric B. & Rakim, Chuck D of Public Enemy, Chubb Rock, Doug E. Fresh, Jessica Care Moore, KRS-1, Black Thought, Jadakiss and many more! You don’t want to miss this!

Just hit the link below to reserve your tickets for next Tuesday’s epic livestream event and enjoy the show! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode™ ✊🏾🖤🎵🎶

Reserve your tickets now and share the event with friends!! >>> The Last Poets 50 Year Celebration!

Official event flier for The Last Poets livestream event happening on May 19th, 2020 @ 7pm EST.
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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!

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#TheBiggest #News Stories of #Summer2018!

#BKGC Biggest News Storiesof 2018 Featured Image

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Featured image created exclusively for brooklyngirlcode.com by #BrooklynGirlCode Editor.

It was a crazy and very eventful Summer ’18 to say the least! While some people attributed all the weird and wild events to Mercury Retrograde, others claimed it was just the weather. Either way, #BrooklynGirlCode was there for every weird and wild news happening that occurred.

From the tragic news of Aretha Franklin’s passing to the craziest summer challenges (The Shiggy and Ray J Hat Challenge), we got it covered! Check out #BrooklynGirlCode’s biggest news stories of Summer 2018 below and let’s hope that the Fall 2018 season will  be a little less chaotic!

THE WEDDINGS:

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We think this one might’ve shocked us the most. After announcing their official marriage in Las Vegas earlier this summer, singer Faith Evans and producer Stevie J had everyone asking questions. Like, “Whaaaaat?” But if they are happy and in love then we are happy for them! We can expect to see Faith Evans appearing on several episodes of the upcoming season of Love &HipHop: Atlanta, as well. Congrats to the couple!

Faith Evans featuring Stevie J, “A Minute”

After having a big Hip-Hop battle with Drake earlier in the summer, Pusha T decided to put the diss tracks on hold and marry long time girlfriend Virginia Williams. Celebrities in attendance included Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and his brother Malice who performed the nuptials. Sweet! <3

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Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz decided to join in on the summer wedding trend and married his long time girlfriend Kesha Ward in a lavish ceremony in Miami, Florida on August 18th, 2018. Celebrity guests in attendance included Lil Wayne, Kanye West and his wife Kim Kardashian (again). Congrats to the lovely couple!

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2Chainz and his mother dancing at his wedding in Miami, Florida on August 18th, 2018

 

THE BATTLES:

When the temperature rises, you know what that means! People are heated and hands are going to get thrown! There were a few battles this summer, but we’re just going to go over the juiciest ones.

Cardi B and Nicki Minaj disappointed the “Upper Echelon Society” of New York City earlier this month by getting into a huge fight at the Harper’s Bazaar Icons party at the Plaza Hotel during New York Fashion Week. This was a long time coming with these two Hip-Hop Divas. So, #BrooklynGirlCode wasn’t surprised at all.

Rap artists Cardi B and Nicki Minaj

After surprising the industry with her sudden marriage to Stevie J, Faith Evans wanted to make some more headlines and decided to get into a fight with long time rival, hip-hop soul queen, Mary J Blige. Allegedly, the two got into it at a party in the Hamptons being thrown by music mogul Puff Daddy. Both ladies later denied the allegations.

In good news, after watching Cardi B and Nicki Minaj go at it in public, Meek Mill and Drake decided to end their little quarrel and make up on stage in front of their fans. Awwww!

 

THE SUMMER’S BEST CHALLENGES:

Do the Shiggy! After a young popular blogger from Queens, New York made a dance video to Drake’s song, “In My Feelings” and posted it on Instagram, the whole world went nuts! Everyone was doing The Shiggy and Shiggy himself became an overnight celebrity!

Drake, “In My Feelings”

The Ray J Hat Challenge:  Actor/singer Ray J Norwood decided to get in on all the challenge fun and had everyone wearing their hat in different ways after a video of him sporting his cap all kinds of ways went viral.

 

THE POLITICS:

When we found out earlier this summer that Lezley McSpadden (mother of Michael Brown) was running for Ferguson, Missouri City Council, we were overjoyed! After losing her son so tragically back in 2014, McSpadden decided to be apart of the movement to stop police violence and get involved in politics. We hope she wins!

 

THE VICTORIES:

Golf legend Tiger Woods came out of hiatus and shocked the masses by taking second place at the 2018 PGA Championships. Get ’em Tiger!

Colin Kaepernick made headlines when he partnered with Nike to promote his “Take a Knee” movement. Whether upset with Kaepernick or extremely happy for him, everyone was talking about it!

A young Naomi Osaka became the new U.S. Open Tennis 2018 champion, upsetting one of the greatest athletes of all time, Serena Williams.

 

IN MEMORIAM:

“The Queen of Soul” 

Aretha Franklin, “Won’t Be Long” (Steve Allen Show 1964)

Aretha Franklin (left) and Mary J Blige (right). The “Queen of Soul” and the “Queen of Hip Hop Soul.”

Hip-Hop Artist, Mac Miller

 

 

THE BUSINESS:

The Carters did what they know how to do so well All Summer Eighteen… make that money $$$$$!!! Their On The Run II Tour broke ticket sale records and grossed millions!

Plus in Columbia, South Carolina, the schools had to implement early dismissal on the day the OTRII tour was scheduled to take place just to prevent heavy traffic. Talk about mass hysteria! But, we’re sure the students weren’t complaining. Salud! The Carters!

A subway advertisement in NYC promoting The Carters’ latest studio album, Everything Is Love.

And to cap off our biggest summer ’18 news stories, actor Geoffrey Owens of The Cosby Show fame got caught red-handed working as a cashier at Trader Joe’s. And believe it or not, it ended up working to his advantage! Movie mogul Tyler Perry offered Owens a recurring role on his hit show, The Have and the Have Nots. Go Figure!

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See you all next summer (2019) for more hot and interesting news stories! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode <3