Black Girls Code hits the big time with Empire cameo

6 Oct 2016

Black Girls Code. Image: BlackGirlsCode/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

It was a proud moment for Kimberley Bryant and the team at Black Girls Code, as the organisation popped up in the hit Fox show Empire, giving it huge exposure.

In the five years since Inspirefest 2015 speaker Kimberly Bryant founded Black Girls Code, the organisation has become one of the most prominent educational organisations in the US, if not the world.

Bryant was a huge hit at Inspirefest 2015 where she spoke passionately about her ambition to see Black Girls Code help to introduce 1m girls to coding by 2040.

With young black girls one of the least represented minorities in tech, the organisation has been dedicating a considerable amount of time and effort into bridging this gap.

Now, the organisation can revel in its biggest moment to date, following its cameo appearance on the hit Fox TV show, Empire.

Set in the New York hip hop music entertainment scene, the show follows the drama within one particular record label between the owners, artists and other characters as well.

However, in last night’s (5 October) episode, Cookie Lyon – played by Taraji P Henson – is shown around a Black Girls Code seminar by Angelo Dubois (Taye Diggs), a wealthy lawyer working in the civil service.

Henson has had a stellar rise in film and TV over the past year, having also been included in the cast for the upcoming film Hidden Figures about the pioneering black women involved with the NASA Apollo programme.

In last night’s scene, Lyon asks Dubois more about what the organisation stands for, to which he responds: “This is the future, this right here. This is how we rise.”

Since the episode aired, Black Girls Code’s Twitter channel has been retweeting hundreds of supportive messages from fans of both the show and the organisation.

It also actively encouraged other black girls to join the organisation, as well as Bryant herself quoting Dubois’ words on her own account.

One place where people will be able to take part in seminars is in the show’s native city of New York which earlier this year saw the opening of a new $2.8m space for the organisation within Google’s city headquarters.

Black Girls Code girls. Image: BlackGirlsCode/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic