All Articles Tagged "brooklyn"
According to the National Center for Women & Information Technology, only 25 percent of professional computing occupations in the US were held by women in 2011. Additionally, only three percent were African-American women, four percent were Asian women, and one percent were Hispanic women.
A Brooklyn-based nonprofit organization, DIVAS for Social Justice, is hoping to change those numbers with its programming, which encourages students to use multimedia projects to discuss social justice and other issues facing their communities. DIVAS, which stands for Digital, Interactive, Visual Arts, and Sciences, launched five years ago as a way to get students in underserved neighborhoods more interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
Clarisa James, the executive director and co-founder of the program, said that she and her co-founder, Sha Sha Feng, met while in an integrated media arts graduate program at Hunter College and noticed a lack of people of color not only in the program, but also among the faculty. The duo launched DIVAS for Social Justice in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn, hoping to reach underserved students, especially young women, there.
“There is a real need in central Brooklyn for our students to connect with technology, but also to become the future leaders in STEM,” James told Madame Noire. “Our focus in the last five years has been encouraging the students we work with to do media-driven projects around the issues in their community, around real social justice issues.”
DIVAS has offered several programs, including Through My Lens, which is a 10-week workshop on media literacy and documentary production skills, and Imaging Ourselves, an eight-week program that the fundamentals of digital photography and Adobe Photoshop and also discusses how images of women of color are manipulated in the media. In November, DIVAS launched a robotics team, led by volunteer and Pace University professor Andrea Taylor.
Taylor is leading the team of six young women—a project manager, a programmer, a documentarian, a researcher, a designer, and a data recorder—through a six-week program, and will hopefully take the team to the national Lego League robotics tournament organized by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in early 2013.
DIVAS has set up an IndieGoGo page to raise money for travel expenses to the competition, as well as additional resources and tools.
As for future goals, James said, “We are looking to launch a multimedia after school program and do more with robotics. We’re applying for funding.” The multimedia project would culminate in an online magazine that would include articles and videos written and recorded by the students, encouraging them to get out in their communities and report on issues there.
One of the benefits of DIVAS for Social Justice is that James, Feng, and other supervisors have been able to see the students grow and mature.
“There are some young women who have been in the program since they were 10 years old and now they are teenagers, so it’s been wonderful to watch their growth and interest in technology and watch them take on leadership positions within the organization,” she said. “One of the things I’m most proud of is the relationships I see them build with each other.”
With the robotics team and goals for 2013, DIVAS is ready to make a difference in neighborhoods in Brooklyn. James summed it up when she said, “We want them to be the pride of Bed-Stuy!”
Before the $1-billion Barclays Center opened in Brooklyn, NY, the community expressed major worries. There were fears that the arena, home of the Brooklyn Nets, future home of the New York Islanders, and closely associated with Jay-Z, would push out residents and local businesses, basically changing the community for the worse. There were even protests at the opening.
With a few big events under its belt, the arena is getting a better reception from some small businesses in the neighborhood—though not all.
Among the businesses benefiting, reports The Wall Street Journal, is Versailles, the custom dress shop owned by Moussa Dia, who moved his business from Manhattan to Brooklyn because of Barclays. ”What did it for me was knowing Jay-Z was involved,” Dia told the newspaper. “It would mean a lot of celebrities here.”
Christian Whitted agrees that being near Barclays is good for business. He owns New York Chess & Games Shop, which sells chess boards and game sets, teaches after-school classes and hosts summer camps. “As a business person, anytime you have 18,000 people coming within feet of your door, you want to figure out how to exploit that,” he told WSJ.
The Cake Ambiance, opened in 2006 and run by Nigerian-American Jude Nwabuoku, has found business booming. But Nwabuoku says there could be a downside to Barclays. “There’s also the fear that this will change the whole Brooklyn flavor, that it’s going to make the neighborhood commercialized, that our rent is going to go up,” he said. “But this is speculation. It’s no sure thing.”
But all this businesses aren’t pleased. Skilz Unisex Salon has been in the area since 1999, but now Reginald Dumornay, the owner, says he can’t afford to stay if his $4,000 rent gets increased (up to doubled) next year. ”Just can’t afford it,” he explains to the newspaper. “I’ve been nervous. Can’t sleep. I’m 44 years old. When I was younger, it was a little easier to get up and go.”
It becomes another example of the ways in which dramatic change to a community not only alters its physical landscape, but reinvents the very nature of the neighborhood. Now, the cost of entry is thousands of dollars per month in rent, which determines who and what comes to the community.
Improvement is always welcome, but in these situations, it’s important to determine at what cost foot traffic, high profile and media attention comes.
There are a lot of issues tangled up in a woman’s hair. When making a change, especially one as drastic as going natural, there is a lot to consider. One of the most daunting questions to consider on the brink of a transition, though some will never admit it, is how men (or one in particular) will respond to it.
It’s no surprise then that Curly Girl Collective‘s most recent event, entitled “Mane Attraction: His Voice, Her Hair” and billed as “a ground- breaking, thought provoking, panel discussion on how men feel about women with natural hair,” was packed to capacity. As part of its mission to foster acceptance and celebration of kinkier hair textures, the collective decided it was time to include the male gender in the natural hair conversation.
“Our first event was in May 2011. We’re serving to bring unique questions and topics that are top of mind,” said Charisse Higgins, Director of Public Relations for Curly Girl Collective. “The fact that so many people are coming out to hear what the fellas have to say about natural hair; it’s beautiful. And it’s good to see the guys are here to support, or to voice how they feel about it.”
Surprisingly, the sea of afro-textured crowns that filled the venue did not intimidate the men in attendance. The raucous discussion’s main point of contention came when a moderator declared that any woman in a committed relationship should consult with her man before making drastic changes to her hair.
Bloggers Franchesca Ramsey (S*** White Girls Say…to Black Girls) and Cipriana Quann (Urban Bush Babes), represented for women on the panel and minimized the importance of hair. Despite being the reason we had all gathered in Brooklyn, there was so much more to us than our hair. By their logic, a man should be as invested in a woman changing her hairstyle as he is in her changing her nail color.
The men on the panel, namely bloggers Jozen Cummings (Until I Get Married) and Slim Jackson (Single Black Male), agreed with some apprehension. “What I don’t like isn’t nearly as important as what I do like,” said Cummings.
The idea that a woman not be valued by her hair may be naively feminist. A guy asking for a head’s up when you plan on coming home looking like a stranger isn’t asking for much. Communicating changes to your partner can be viewed as a sign of unity. However, any man that believes an experimental haircut or new texture warrants walking papers probably doesn’t value his woman much to begin with.
The event’s interactive mural asked attendees, “What is attractive about women with natural hair?” Confidence, carefree-ness, and natural beauty were some of the top responses. Maximizing our appeal to potential partners is an important part of the job description we give our hair. But, the women attending the event made it clear; hair is a personal affair.
When asked to give advice to women considering going natural, the panelists encouraged the audience to trade fear for confidence. Everyone will have their opinions, especially during those awkward stages, but ultimately, the only opinion that counts is your own. Many women fail to realize the impact the opinion they have of themselves has on how others view them. As one male panelist said, “Be comfortable. Your lack of comfort is what really affects the relationship.”
It’s not easy being business, man.
Ever since Jay-Z purchased a share in the Brooklyn Nets, it seems everyone’s got a problem with Hov. Whether it be people wondering why he talks about it so much or exactly how much of the team he actually owns, there is always something hovering over this purchase.
Well, leave it to Dr. Cornel West to come out and tell it like he thinks it is. At a recent event, Dr. West was filmed addressing a crowd and he got on the subject of Jay-Z and the Brooklyn Nets. On one hand, it sounded like he was praising Jay for how far he’s come but on the other hand, it seems there was definitely some shade. He said:
“Jay-Z came from Marcy Projects. Look at him now, he owns the whole [arena]‘ No! He owns one-fifteenth of one percent of the stadium, let’s get it right.”
We all know shade when we see it, right? We also know that Dr. West is pretty known for calling people out as he does it on a regular basis to President Barack Obama and several others. But he goes on to talk about how a “Russian gangster” actually owns 80 percent of the Nets and he wants Jay to just keep it real:
“Now I love Jay-Z, I’ve spent much time with the brother. He’s a lyrical genius. But we’ve got to tell the truth. Tell the truth, Jay-Z. You told the truth on Reasonable Doubt in 1996. That’s what he started out with. We love you but we’re going to make sure you’re accountable too. All of us in this together and I’m saying it out of love.”
If that’s out of love, I don’t want to see Dr. West angry. But seriously, should Jay-Z be more clear about his actual ownership in the team? As a rapper, he’s done like most other rappers when they do something big and has boasted about “his team.” He also said during one of his concerts at the Barclays Center last weekend that he doesn’t know where people are getting that percentage from (actually, most people got it from the New York Times) but he doesn’t take it personal. Many knew that he wasn’t a majority owner in the team but is he selling “hoop dreams” to fans who might think otherwise?
Or, should people just let him live? Jay might not be the majority owner of the Nets but he has been the face of not only the team but of the Barclays Center ever since his involvement in the team was announced. In fact, he has a 40/40 Club in the Barclays. So regardless of his actual ownership, has his influence already eclipsed it?
You can read the rest and check out the video at Hip Hop Wired.
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Do I even need to say much?
This weekend, Jay-Z wrapped up his eight-concert series at the new Barclay Center in Brooklyn and he brought out a very special guest for his final concert last night, his wife Bey Bey.
You know Jay had to do something big for the last of his concerts at the new arena, and what’s bigger than Beyonce? That’s rhetorical. Jay told the crowd he was just getting started and that’s when Bey appeared from behind a cloud of smoke all theatrical like, Brooklyn Nets fitted and all black everything to match. Fittingly, she performed “Diva,” reminding the crowd she’s still the number one lady in the game, and she followed that up with “Crazy in Love,” complete with her signature uh-oh dance, seizure-like head shaking/hair-tossing, and that “I run this ish” glare she always gives the audience after she does the dang thang. Basically, she killed it as per usual, but even had to laugh at herself and how hard she was going.
Check out the performance below. I think the Beyhive is in need of another tour. What do you say?
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In case you’ve not been paying attention, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn officially opened last Friday with Jay-Z as the main act for eight shows. For his final show Saturday night, Jay created some buzz before he even made it to the stadium.
At around 6pm, surrounded by plain clothes police officers and his private security guards, Jay surprised passengers by hopping on the R train headed to Brooklyn, letting him off right across the street from the stadium. By the time he exited the station, his “crew” had grown to fans doing their best to get a picture of Hov as he made his way to the Barclays for his final curtain call.
But that wasn’t Jay’s only surprise. While only one of the previous shows had a special guest (Big Daddy Kane made an appearance during the first show), his final show produced one major surprise: Beyonce. Those who were able to get tickets to that final show were privy to a super short concert from “King Bey” as she donned all black, including a Nets cap (the now Brooklyn Nets will play in the Barclays Center). As it has become their “new norm,” Bey gave her hubby a kiss and hug as she made her final exit.
While reflecting on how amazing the last week had been for him, Jay told the crowd (which also included viewers from the live stream via his Life + Times website) that it took 9 years to make the Barclays a reality – both getting a stadium like this in Brooklyn and having become a part owner of a professional team. To sell out eight shows in a short amount of time is amazing and should be commended. He’s been holding us down for how many summers now?
We salute you and ask, what’s next???
Who knew that the attire of dancers and cheerleaders at NBA games was so important? As someone who’s gone to a few NBA games in my life, I really don’t pay attention to the folks dancing it up in booty shorts in such, probably because I’m not a dude. I personally live for the contests where they make you shoot from random places to win money and shoot shirts into the air out of a gun. But now that the Nets have moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn and have a whole new arena in the bold and beautiful Barclays Center, folks have decided to change things up not only with the uniforms of the players, but with the uniforms of the dancers as well. What they have to offer now are striped concoctions with high boots and a lot of leather (make that pleather possibly). To top it off, they’ve left pom poms and skirts behind for a lot of zippers and latex.
According to the designer of the uniforms, David Dalrymple, “The uniforms are feminine and strong.” The designer has teamed up with Patricia Field and worked on costumes for Sex and the City and The Devil Wears Prada.
“This isn’t palm trees and sunshine. It’s New York City, and it’s Brooklyn. It’s a different sensibility. We go hard. For these costumes, we needed things that these women can dance and move in, but we wanted to bring in street elements. We needed to find that bridge of street fashion that can actually work on the court.”
Unfortunately, the response to the new uniform hasn’t been one of excitement similar to Dalrymple’s. Instead, folks have called them out for being a little too trashy and skank-a-licious. Harsh words, but you get the idea. Huffington Post Black Voices writer, Julee Wilson, said the following about the looks: “The jailhouse stripes, leather-esque fabric and “Brooklyn” emblazed boots make these ladies look like they could definitely rough up the other NBA cheer squads — but let’s just skip the battling and stick with booty-shaking at halftime.”
And readers who checked out the looks through The New York Post were a bit more harsh:
“Keep the girls hold the street clothing , awful stuff for cheerleaders, whoever created this look is way out of their element!”
“He wanted to “bring in the street element” – well, he did it’s called street walker. These costumes are gross.”
“Henceforth known as the Brooklyn Skanks”
Yikes! I don’t know, I don’t think the outfits are THAT bad, but I will say are doing the absolute most. That two-piece outfit with the booty shorts and short-short jacket is a bit much. The designer, who has worked with Britney Spears and Beyoncé before to help them come up with performance costumes, definitely knows how to make people look like pop stars. He just kind of forgot that these ladies aren’t pop stars, they’re just cheerleaders. But hey, I’m not going to lose any sleep over this mess.
What do you think of the uniforms? Too cute or too much?
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The new Barclays Center arena is opening this Friday with a sold out Jay Z concert, prepping everyone from the investors to the Brooklyn Nets basketball team to local businesses for a windfall of cash from the influx of new visitors. And every day, there seems to be a new announcement that further amps up the excitement for opening day.
Already, there’s been a lot of talk about how the Barclays Center threatens business for Madison Square Garden. Barbra Streisand, Rihanna and Justin Bieber are some of the other big-name musical acts that will be performing in the coming months. World Wrestling Entertainment will be there, along with the Golden Gloves, which dumped MSG after decades of hosting its finals in Manhattan. According to CBS, tickets to that Streisand concert are selling for as much as $600.
Of course, there are lots of events, lots of musicians and so lots of chances for everyone to draw crowds… not just Barclays and MSG, but also the Prudential Center in Newark.
But back to the question in our headline — What do you think about the Brooklynettes uniforms? Sure, they’re just the cheerleaders performing during halftime at Brooklyn Nets games. But, they obviously want to stand out from the usual short skirts and pom poms that cheerleaders typically wear. In addition to the picture above from a photo shoot for the New York Post, you can visit Business Insider for images from the complete line of seven outfits that include fingerless gloves, boots and leggings.
Besides generating buzz and lots of ogling, the Brooklynettes could end up generating a chunk of money too. The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders have been around for decades. The troupe has a calendar, a reality show that airs on Country Music Television, a trademark on their uniforms and has sold everything from gum to clothing. The bold Brooklynettes outfits could be the first step toward building a similarly strong brand.
I happen to know that Spike Lee reads, or is at least familiar with Madame Noire. After one of our writers, said that Red Hook Summer was a sequel to Do the Right Thing he was quick to correct us with a sharply worded e-mail.
“RED HOOK SUMMER IS NOT A SEQUEL TO DO THE RIGHT THING.INCORRECT,MISINFORMED AND WRONG. Thanks,Spike.”
As a fan of Spike Lee’s, I knew that e-mail came from him. The string of adjectives and the shouting caps is so Spike. If I had no intention of seeing Red Hook Summer before, this e-mail made sure that I was definitely going to check it out now.
For Red Hook Summer, Spike Lee brought it back to Brooklyn, chronicling the lives of the residents in the Red Hook projects. The project, which is both community-centered, a place for childhood exploration and spiritual salvation is also a place of violence and dashed hopes. We see all of these forces at work as the film’s protagonist “Flik Royale,” a boy from Atlanta, played by burgeoning actor Jules Brown, visits his grandfather,“Da Good Bishop Enoch Rouse,” (Clarke Peters of The Wire and Treme). As you can gather from his name Bishop Enoch, who is very religious serves as the leader for the Lil’ Peace of Heaven Baptist Church of Red Hook. Initially, Flik and Bishop Enoch struggle to relate to one another. Flik doesn’t want to be there and the Bishop can’t seem to reach his grandson with his new high tech gadgets. Flik carries around an iPad, which almost gets he and his grandfather into trouble with the local gang, lead by “Box” (Nate Parker). Though Flik initially loathes everything about Brooklyn, he meets a girl his age, Chazz, (Toni Lysaith), who shows him the ropes and the two become friends…and eventually a bit more.
Without giving too much away, there’s a shocking surprise towards the end of the film that causes the audience to question everything about Bishop Enoch and his spirituality. With the plot twist, like the setting, the characters and even religion itself, we see that there truly is, as Spike Lee has said, “beauty in ugliness.”
We see that motif in Deacon Zee (Thomas Jefferson Byrd), the alcoholic clergyman who helps Flik adjust to Brooklyn by allowing him to sneak chips from the church pantry. And we see it again with Bishop Enoch who is so religiously-minded that he’s unable or unwilling to relate to the challenges of the world around him.
Red Hook is not perfect and won’t go down as one of Spike’s best movies. There is the swift plot shift, unanswered questions in character development between Enoch and his daughter “Colleen,” and even sub-par acting from the younger actors; but the themes present and the questions the film raises, definitely make it one worth seeing.
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I’ve been talking about moving back to California for a while now. Although I’m excited about eventually returning to warmer weather, I stays ambivalent about my decision. Since I moved to Brooklyn five years ago, I immediately was enthralled by black culture and the fact that I can actually enjoy a social life that was filled with like-minded folks. Call me “closed-minded” but I relish around being amongst thinking Black peoples, my peoples; I thrive from seeing so many displays of Black love and Black celebration.
It was clear instantly to me why New York in general represented the birthplace to so many great artists and activists. Besides just boasting a large and generally diverse population, New York has a particularly high Black population. When I talk to native New Yorkers about this, they just shrug. To them, this is normal. For a Cali girl like me, it is an anomaly.
Being from Oakland, people expect that I was all too familiar with a city invested in Black pride and culture but my experience has been very different. Oakland may be known for its Black Panther history, but growing up there, I witnessed a city which had very little options for its Black population and promoted very little pride in its dwindling African-American presence. If anything, it was a challenge being a Black girl in an area that seemed to take a fierce pride in multi-cultural pride (read: being part of an interracial couple or being “exotic” was very much favored).
In my post-college years, I got the chance to spend some time in Southern California. Although I loved Los Angeles for the weather and its landscape, it was another place that lacked in a way for me socially. In terms of going out and partying (hey, that’s what I did a lot of), it seemed that the only two options were to hit up a ghetto party or hit up a party full of Hollywood wanna-bees if I wanted to be around other Black folks.
In New York, it’s been a whole other world. I can easily go to swanky restaurants in Harlem or Brooklyn, and not be the only person of color there. In fact, I am often one of many other Black folks. This may seem trivial to a lot of folks but it’s important to feel like I’m part of a community, and New York does that for me. You may be wondering why, despite my love of the East Coast, would I choose to move back. Well, that reason will be explained in the next “Going Back To Cali” installment. For now, I’m just trying to soak it all in and appreciate all the wonderful outlets that this city provides a curious colored girl like myself.
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