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Why ‘Girls Who Code’ Created a Music Video with Doja Cat – The New Stack

Why ‘Girls Who Code’ Created a Music Video with Doja Cat – The New Stack
Written by publishing team

One of my favorite moments of the past year was a very creative attempt to make long-term changes in the world of computer programming – when rap artist Doja Cat released what she called “the world’s first coding music video”.

It’s all part of a larger campaign to attract young women into computer science. Or as Girls Who Code tweet later“Okay, that’s official. Doja Cat might be the coolest programming guru ever.”

The nonprofit was launched in 2012 specifically to address the gender gap in technology — and part of that mission involves getting young girls interested in the field of computer science.

“When I Found Girls Who Code, I Bet”, Reshma Saujani Foundation Tweet recently. “You can’t bridge the gender gap in technology just by teaching girls to code. You have to change our whole culture. Attitudes about what coding is and what it can enable us to do. About who a coder is and what a coder looks like.”

This is where Doja Cat comes in.

Programming fun on Planet Hare

A special website showcases Doja Cat’s latest music video in a unique interface that allows viewers to change images from the video using computer code – and it’s been a hit. When Girls Who Code posted an announcement about the new site, it attracted over 1,000 retweets and 2,714 likes. (The first response to the tweet came from Barbie’s official Twitter account, which replied: “Fabulous. “)

In a statement, Girls Who Code said: “The intent of the experiment is to show a new generation of fans who may not be familiar with career opportunities in technology and computer science, how creative and fun they can be.”

A commotion started quickly…

By Christmas, YouTube showed more than 40 million views of the new video in just the first three weeks – and it still attracts nearly a million new views every day. Some of that comes from teenage girls’ access to video through DojaCode.com, where they enjoy a unique blend of education and fun.

Screenshot from DojaCode.com

The music video shows Doja Cat as the ruler of “Planet Her”, receiving an urgent warning about men stealing her throne. But for viewers at DojaCode.com, the video pauses at a close-up of Queen Doja’s adorable long nails, as an on-screen prompt prompts visitors to type the name of a new color into a line of featured CSS code at the bottom left of the screen.

When they start typing, the site automatically fills in a few suggestions – including nail-colored options like rainbow, pixel, water, snake, leopard, and reptile. There’s a question mark symbol in a circle for anyone who’s confused, but it poses the same simple challenge again: “Write any color you want.”

The long nails in the close-up instantly convert to the color the visitor writes.

The video pauses again when it reaches a mysterious vortex of magical gold luster – this time featuring an excerpt from JavaScript Icon in the lower left corner of the screen. The comment hints “Activate Doja power,” highlighting three lines of JavaScript code and suggesting viewers “try to type any number.”

There are named variables particles.height And particles.speed (plus a text variable named particles.color) – surely changing the values ​​of the variables causes changes in the animation.

The new creation of song and video somehow includes programming challenges. “Bring Your Sky to Planet Her” suggests a later comment, allowing users to enter their own values ​​into named JavaScript variables date.timeZone (Beside sky.clouds.type, And sky.tint.Color).

And what about the ultimate coding challenge? “Create a flower shower – change the number and color of flowers.” Emma Roth, Weekend News Editor at Verge, wrote that “while the DojaCode video doesn’t involve any extensive programming, I still find it fun experimenting with writing in different options and seeing my changes take effect immediately.”

And when the video ends, viewers are invited to save screenshots of their handiwork from any of the four challenges – or to share the site link on Twitter or Facebook.

Doja Cat nails from Woman video - moment_1

Make coding awesome

It’s the end result of a serious three-way collaboration that included activist marketing agency Mojo Supermarket, which in 2020 created an online portal to watch the Oscars live stream where all ads were replaced with trailers for films directed by women.

RCA Records has teamed up with Active Theory, a creative digital production studio that builds unique apps and websites, as well as installs and even virtual and augmented reality experiences. (Among other things, the studio worked with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on an educational site that lists all the off-the-shelf parts you need to build your own Mars rover.)

All collaborators seemed to come to the project with a clear sense of purpose. Emily Berger, Creative Lead at Mojo Supermarket, stated in the project announcement, “We want to get more girls to try programming. But there are a thousand other things girls care more about than programming. And Doja Cat is like 999 of them. So we were like.. Can Doja make learning programming cool?”

The director of the video (whose name is called Baby) added in the statement, “This project had a special and unique meaning to me. Seeing more inclusivity in the creative fields is something I’m really excited about, so being part of a project It gives young girls the chance to learn about a whole new industry, while working as creative directors for Planet Her using code, it really means a lot.”

Doja Cat says she is also very excited about the partnership. “Fans around the world will get to enter the code via a microsite and unlock some really cool special features,” she said in the project announcement, adding, “It would be cool.”

And in the Girls Who Code Twitter feed, the organization shared some enthusiastic reactions. One viewer “I was always the only girl in my programming classes” chirp. “I was hiding my femininity because I was afraid I wouldn’t be taken seriously. That’s why it means so much to me. Thank you.”

correct model?

The site has taken on an extra flair with teens since Doja Cat has become one of the hottest names in pop music. 2020 saw her set a Guinness World Record, as part of the first female rap duo (with Nicki Minaj) to set a record on the US Billboard Hot 100 charts.

By the end of 2021, she had received 11 Grammy Award nominations and had 18 million followers on Instagram, as well as 4 million on Twitter. (An October article in Forbes referred to her as a “recluse, disrespectful, chronic internet personality,” but also an “unrelenting work ethic.”)

But not everyone is convinced that her video sends the right message. Anita Lavakumar, director of the computer science program at Boston Public Schools, is a fan of Girls Who Code, and called the programmable video “a great idea.” But Lavakumar too I doubt the song choice, asks, “How in the world are sexual images and the words ‘let me be your woman’ supposed to empower women?”

Lavakumar also questioned what age group the video ultimately targeted, complaining that the workout in the end “missed the target.”

Or, as one commenter on The Verge put it, “I’m not sure that a music video with half-naked girls in jewelry bikinis is the right one.”

Also of interest was Lindsey Sachs, a technology integration specialist at the Independent Catholic Academy for preschool through eighth graders. Saks used Girls Who Code materials with middle school students, and Tweet about the video, “I know they will love this experience.”

But Sachs felt the video was overly sexual (and involved drinking), and eventually called it “inappropriate”. She also complained that Doja Cat also sent a visually wrong message in the video. “Sorry, I will not use this to bring programming into my school,” she tweeted.

To be fair, in the site’s version of the song, some of the explicit lyrics are replaced by a rapid radio-style drop in the volume of the audio track. One commenter on The Verge responded, “It’s great to see so many girls being role models looking to promote STEM in a fun way.”

Jacqueline Smalls, Program Manager at Code.org, specifically applauded The video “To make relevant connections to inspire young women to code!”

While namingInspiring a generation of women and girls pursuing STEMsThe youth-oriented nonprofit Do Something also praised it as “a reminder that there is so much more in this field than is being advertised.”

In fact, the Girls Who Code statement asserted that it is all part of a series of campaigns “designed to transform the common narrative of what a programmer looks and does. Empowering girls and individuals from underrepresented groups in technology to envision themselves as the future of the industry is fundamental to achieving an organized mission Northstar’s mission to close the gender gap in technology by 2030.”

on Twitter “We believe that partnering with one of our Grammy Award-nominated stars is a fantastic step toward achieving this transformation,” the organization added.

And perhaps to underscore this point, deeply and emphatically, they’ve shared a reaction video from Slack software engineer Maya Bello, who said, “I don’t think my heart has ever been this happy.”

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