Category Archives: Art & Culture

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215 Feature: Ghana to Philly… STEMbees creating a buzz

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Story by Olumide Yerokun and Aran Hart. 

We can’t deny the impact that mobile technology continues to have on how the world dynamically interacts. Our society is increasingly attached to our devices, plus we’re starting to wear more of it, and undoubtedly the impact has real effects. Not only does technology keep us connected to loved ones and drive business, it advances our understanding of the world around us — For example, collecting soil moisture levels, gathering, transmitting, and analyzing critical data as we strive to make improvements to vital industries such as agriculture to help feed a fast growing international population.

As women’s history month comes to an end we remember the past, and look to the future of women’s contributions to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields. Examples like Emmy Noether and her contributions to mathematics are certainly worthy of our praise as we consider who overcame obstacles to succeed in STEM.

Now, we consider the always interesting question for each new generation: How will the young women of today take the spark made by Noether (and others) and pave new paths?


We sat down with Linda Ansong, Nana Essuman and Dr. Jamie Bracey of STEMbees. STEMbees is a non-profit based in Accra, Ghana focused on encouraging and mentoring more young African women to pursue their dreams and careers in STEM.


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Beyond STEMbees, Ms. Ansong is also Co- Founder of Vestracker AB, Dr. Bracey is Founder of Creative Tech Works Design Studio (CTW) in Philadelphia, and Mr. Essuman is the lead mentor at CTW who is now guiding the replication of CTW Design Studio in Ghana .

We discussed the upcoming City Streets Race during Philly Tech Week 2015, their experiences in STEM, influences, and the significance of striving for more involvement of women in the tech world.



Olumide Yerokun: How was STEMbees Started?

Linda Ansong: In undergrad I studied actuarial science which is very math focused. After college I found myself in an institution called Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology for two years. A majority of my classes were male dominated and I saw this as a problem. I wanted to do something that would motivate and empower more young women to venture into STEM industries. Once I was able to tell Nana about my idea he introduced me to Dr. Bracey and we went from there.


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Linda Ansong and STEMbees participants in Ghana (via Facebook)

OY: What is the goal of STEMbees and Creative Tech Works?

Nana Essuman: Both organizations have similar goals. The main focus is developing youth to build tech products that create stability and enrich their local communities. Creative Tech Works just happens to focus on youth as a whole and STEMbees focuses on young women. So through this we are able to take what Creative Tech Works has created with City Streets and work on transferring that model to Accra, Ghana. The first pilot is in December ’15, in Ghana, so we are working toward making it a great event for the youth.

OY: What is the inspiration behind the City Streets Race?

Dr. Bracey: We have a culture that likes to play games whether it is on the phone, a board game, or in real life. The goal was to figure out how to get people, specifically young people, to appreciate where they live and interact with technology at the same time.

We had the young people in the program write the code for the mobile app that will be used in the race. We then created a game around the race and we get the young people to engage with cultural icons in the city. It really stems from civil engagement where participants in the race are engaging and learning more about their city.

OY: What unique advantage do women bring to STEM industries?

Linda Ansong: Women are strong, critical, and systematic which is needed in the process of building technology. Having women on our team is the best thing that can happen because women have patience and an ability to bridge the gap in a lot of work environments.

Being outnumbered in most classes 10 to 1 gave me a unique perspective of where women can excel. It wasn’t that women couldn’t do the work it’s just that women needed to be motivated to pursue further education in STEM, past secondary school and through college.

OY: How did your culture influence you growing up?

Linda Ansong: Growing up I was the girl that wanted to know how this or that happened. I would watch Sci-Fi movies and be amazed by what was going on. I really enjoyed math and took a software development class in college that sparked my interest in tech. Both my parents are entrepreneurs which really influenced me, especially my mother. They gave me the strength to work toward my own dreams. Being from Ghana and having the ability to travel opened my eyes to a lot and gave me a new perspective on the opportunities of traveling. My mother told me I can either go travel just to shop or I can go travel learn a lot and create bigger opportunities for myself.

OY: What is the hope for women in STEM?

Dr. Bracey: The goal is for women to go from consumers to producers. To understand the value of technology, you don’t have to be an entrepreneur but at least understand the process of how the technology that you are using works. It’s developing women to be strategic and tactical at the same time.

Linda Ansong: My hope is to help young girls understand that it’s more than just understanding software or programming. I want young girls to understand that there is a large opportunity to create jobs, sustainability, and wealth for their community. It’s tough but it’s an amazing journey and experience to go from working for someone else to working for yourself. It’s powerful knowing that I’m helping show more young girls that they can do it as well.


For more information visit:

STEMbees.orgCityStreets RaceCreativeTechworks.org

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City Streets: Race Through History – The 1st Youth-Designed Technology Race in Philly

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For City Streets: Philadelphia, local students will produce apps & wearable tech to race across the city during Philly Tech Week 2015.


 Tweet about race using hashtag: #CityStreetsPTW15 and #PTW15


Teams of two will wear engineered tracking devices and use a coded app to race to historic “freedom” landmarks across Philadelphia on April 25th. (exact route is a SECRET – appx 4 miles long you uncover and follow with clues like Amazing Race).

Special prizes will be awarded to the winners during the post-race celebration at Pipeline Philly, The Graham Building, 30 S 15th St, 15th floor.

1st place – Samsung Chromebook
2nd place – Kindle Fire
3rd place – Skullcandy earphones

REGISTER FOR THE RACE HERE
** 50% off Early Bird – 2-person Team – before April 15th

Details: For more information please visit: Creativetechworks.org

- Start Time: Participants MUST arrive by 8:15am sharp (Guests/Family 8:30am)

- Start Location: 15th and Cecil B. Moore Ave
(Rear of Beech Interplex Parking Lot)

City Streets™ Race Proceeds
All race proceeds will be fully tax deductible and benefit continuation of the Creative Tech Works Design Studio™ , hosted by Beech Community Services. To make donations, please send checks to CTWDS @ Beech, c/o Beech Community Services, 1510 Cecil B. Moore Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19121.



The event is endorsed by the City of Philadelphia and AT&T is a presenting sponsor

Creative Tech Works ( @CTWGroup )– founders of City Streets Race, provide students ages 14-21 with a “cognitive apprenticeship” immersion in technology and micro-engineering design teams.

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Tonight and Tomorrow: Dice Raw of The Roots presents The Last Jimmy

“The Last Jimmy” is a poignant and relevant stage play that explores mass incarceration and outlines the ills of the criminal justice system and prison industrial complex.

Told though a hip-hop musical odyssey featuring song, live music and dance, this production takes us down the plight of the court and prison system though the experience of young black males.

“The Last Jimmy” is inspired by Dr. Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow.

The performance features original music and lyrics by Dice Raw along with original choreography by Renee Harris; is directed by noted Philadelphia- based director, Ozzie Jones and written by Phillip S. Brown.

Buy Tickets Here

SHOW DATES @ The Prince Music Theater ( 1412 Chestnut St. )
Fri 3/20
Sat 3/21

Buy Tickets Here

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Fri 13th: CMTA and The Wrkn Clss Present Lil Feece (Sashi)

On March 13th Creative Minds Think Alike, in conjunction with The Wrkn Clss, a full service production group, will be presenting hip-hop artist Lil Feece, (Sashi), to the Philadelphia region with the release of his upcoming EP, “SASHI SZN”. The celebration will be held at Cohesive Collection, 1215 Vine St from 10pm to 2am.

We will be presenting the event as a celebration rather than a release party in order to familiarize the guest with Sashi.  We will have a visual arts element that will be present at the event; the visual art element has a long-term strategy that will not be implemented until the event has passed.

DJ’s Ryan Mahoney and DJ F1lthy will curate the sounds of the evening. DJ Ryan Mahoney is native to Atlantic City and an emerging DJ on both colleges in Philadelphia as well as the alternative scene that is developing here in Philadelphia. DJ Ryan Mahoney built his experience by spinning in a number of clubs in the tri-state area and having the number one online campus radio-station on iHeart radio, Philly Rap Fix. DJ F1lthy has been making a lot of noise in the tri-state area as well, with his expertise being in music production as well as on the turntables. DJ F1lthy is a force to be recognized that shows no signs of letting up.

Hosting the event will be the captivating Franceleslia, recognized for the way she electrifies her crowd, her presence and technique is in demand across the nation. Franceleslia has created a massive hosting movement in which she graced over 20 stages in less than a year. Her repertoire includes AFROPUNK, Camron’s SUPERBOWL Party at WIP, Danny Brown’s Album Release Party and Trillectro festival just to name a few.

Being as though Creative Minds Think Alike is an emerging brand, we feel that it is our duty to present the opportunity for underground artist to display their craftsmanship.  We have partnered with Lil Feece in the past with the most recent project being Gravy Trap. On behalf of Creative Minds Think Alike, we formally invite you to partake in the celebration as well as grow and build with an array of guest and hosts that are becoming familiar and essential to the metropolitan area, Philadelphia.

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Heineken Green Room: Mannie Fresh

Become a Heineken Green Room Insider!

Hey Philly! The Holiday season may be over, but we’re still in the giving spirit… Right now is a special chance to gain access to all the can’t miss events and promotions coming your way in 2015!

Don’t miss out on an exclusive night with Big Tymer and #1 Stunna — multi-platinum and Grammy nominated rapper, producer, & DJ Mannie Fresh. Mr. Go DJ! is coming to Philly so you know where to be if you wanna do it ‘Real Big!’

Remember, this event is open ONLY to Heineken Green Room members. You must be 21 or over to enter.

Enter HERE and obtain access for this and future events, for you plus a friend. Must enter before March 30th at 5pm.

We’ll keep you posted for more Heineken Green Room!

Become a HGR Insider NOW

#HeinekenGreenRoom

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Middle Grounded: Hozier Concert Recap

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The age old question many newly-christened artists often face lingered with me as I walked out onto North 7th St. Saturday night… What’s next down the road for Hozier — this vehicle, driven by a major hit?

The asking is even more in the forefront of the conversation with Hozier — given a 2014 Song of the Year Grammy Nomination and rapid rise to international stardom, mixed with the style of music the young Irishman has shown he can write and record.

And to be fair I see it is a tip of the cap to the warranted attention he’s been receiving.


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His young band brims with the confidence boosted by being part of the majorly successful industry sensation Hozier quickly became. They’ve been busy on tour, with many more US and international stops scheduled through August, getting up before dawn for early AM T.V. show appearances, then taking main stages by night. And after a couple silly mix-ups on stage, “This next song is called … wait, that was the song we just played… forgive me i’ve slept about 6 hours in the last 3 days…” Hozier seemed just enough uncomfortable and thus sincere.


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The quality of the musical performance, however, did not waiver.

He plays his cover of Skip James’ “Illinois Blues” while professing how he was raised with and has always been enamored with that style of music. He’s already shown that his songs can be both socially provocative, while catchy. That’s what will keep him grounded, having a strong tangible base to build from.

The talent is there: Hozier has a rawness and understatedness, plus an on and off stage personality to go “that” way… while he also has the polished pop culture appeal and voice to lure him into that genre.

So what’s next? No one knows. My guess is Hozier will continue to prosper somewhere in between. One thing’s for sure: fans and critics alike will be watching.



Photos and story – Aran Hart



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Kate Faust – Live at Pipeline Philly

RSVP HERE !


Little Giant presents an intimate performance by singer/songwriter Kate Faust.

Please join us for a night of soulful, soaring vocals from the critically acclaimed, indy artist.

Check out Kate’s music and more at katefaust.com.

Kate will debut selections from her long-awaited EP, Eros, a candid glimpse, through an erotic lens, into the chanteuse’s unflinching gaze within her deepest self.

RSVP HERE !

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Photo Recap: Infected Mushroom Animatronica Tour

Thursday 2/26 Israel-bred, L.A. based duo Amit “Duvdev” Duvdevani and Erez Eisen, world renowned as Infected Mushroom, rocked the Electric Factory with their self-proclaimed “hypnotic arrangements, complex layered melodies and synthetic rhythms known as ‘Psychedelic Trance,’ leaving behind all their dying ‘Trance’ cousins in the mainstream.”

All this sonic and visual display is part of their worldwide Animatronica Live Spring Tour. Opening acts include Far Too LoudAu5, and Randy Seidman.


Infected Mushroom’s brand new stage is the the first of its type. Imagine; a steam blasting, eye popping, self standing mechanical “Steampunk” themed mushroom. This mechanical being is more than a stage production, but an art installation with a darkened soul. Infected Mushroom gives life to a new type of live element sure to satisfy the thirst of this ever-changing and rapidly evolving hunger the masses desire. Built by local artist Duane Flatmo, Animatronica will set a new standard in stage production and design for 2015.


Photos by Daniel Wooden

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Let’s Move It Philly: Black Thought and Hometown Heroes Party with Purpose

Story by Franceska Rouzard


Many in the region may remember Saturday, February 21st as the night of a wicked wintry storm. However, the funkiest and flyest of Philadelphia will remember it as the night they shared a dance floor with brilliant activists like Dr. Janice Johnson Dias, and talented artists and pioneers the likes of Philadelphia’s own Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Rich Medina [yea we’re claiming you too Rich!].


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Hosted by the GrassROOTS Community Foundation, an organization co-founded by long time friends Black Thought and Dr. Johnson Dias, The 5th Annual Let’s Move It: Philly aimed to raise money for Linglebach Elementary [learn how you can help #SaveLingelbach], one of many educational institutions in Philadelphia who received laughable, in a not so funny kind of way, discretionary funding for this school year. Held at Trilogy [formerly Palmer Social Club], attendees described it simply as, “a good time for a good cause.”

Many who braved the weather and ventured to the event, from near and far, expressed openly they were “glad they came out!”


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Personally I, as a Philly transplant, was in awe of the entire evening. It is difficult to pinpoint a sole source of wonderment. It could have been the overwhelming turn out given the weather. Perhaps, it was bankhead bouncing to Busta Rhymes with an accomplished, well dressed sociology professor. Conceivably, it was the easy-going nature of Grammy-Award winning, world-renowned artists mingling with guests just like all the others.

No doubt it was the DJ sets and live performance from Black Thought, which so well complimented the energy of the evening – originating with the cause(s) the GrassROOTS Community Foundation stand for.


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I was afforded the privilege of speaking with Dr. Johnson Dias, Rich Medina, and Black Thought about the GrassROOTS Community Foundation, the Linglebach Elementary cause, and future plans for Philadelphia.



FR: On the home page of the GrassROOTS Community Foundation’s website, there is a big banner that says “A Tribute to Tanji Dewberry”. Who is that?

Dr. Johnson Dias: Tanji Dewberry is a friend, author, mentor and a trailblazer in ‘Super Camp‘, a summer day camp for Philadelphia’s inner city girls. Her dream was to extend it to Philadelphian boys. She died in a fire trying to rescue her children. Last year, her mother, Cynthia Mitchell, funded three boys to Super Camp.

FR: What does it take to put an event like this together?

Black Thought: It takes a lot of planning and flexibility and the delegation of many responsibilities. It takes a strong and reliable team, people you can trust and who can improvise. It takes a village.

FR: I read the GrassROOTS Community Foundation has a three year commitment to Linglebach Elementary to create an after school program. What are the next steps?

Black Thought: After tonight, we plan to give a nice sized contribution. Our next fundraiser is a 5k race called Roots Rock Run.

FR: Dr. Johnson Dias and Black Thought have decided to take their success and help the city of Philly, and others. What motivates you, Rich?

Rich Medina: I have a son, a 7 year old. Also, I went to college so I know the importance of education and learning. However, I feel I learned even more during college in my extracurricular activities — outside of the classroom. For that reason, I remain a student even now. I believe in a lifetime of learning and promoting wellness and forward thinking.


More info about the GrassROOTS Community Foundation

Website | Twitter | Facebook


 Photos courtesy of Saeed Briscoe

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