Brooklyn_Nets_Dancer Brooklyn_Nets_Dancer

Brooklyn Nets Fan? Meet The Face Behind Their In-Court Entertainment

Petra Pope

Have you ever wondered who plans the music and the entertainment between plays during a basketball game? Basketball aficionado or not, we all appreciate the moment our favorite song hits the speakers after our team scores points.

The Brooklyn Nets are totally having a moment right now, and much of its success has a lot to do with Petra Pope. Petra, Senior VP of Event Marketing and Community Relations for Brooklyn Nets plays a huge role in bringing the Nets brand to life with dance teams, music, video production, costumes, lighting, and halftime entertainment. She oversaw entertainment during the Nets first season at Barclays Center, that welcomed up to 19,000 guests a day. And because she has home court advantage at Barclays, she gets to sit on the best concerts. Think: Jay Z, Alicia Keys and Justin Timberlake.

And did we mention she speaks fluent German and is a black belt in Karate? Yeah, we love her and she's a total win-win. Read on to learn what really goes down behind scenes at the Barclays Center.

Photo Credits: Jasmine Gonzalez and Brooklyn Nets


VIBE Vixen: Tell us a little bit about what you do on the regular basis.

Petra Pope: I oversee three departments: game presentation, community and events. During games I’m usually in the back just going over my emails for events that might be coming up. Once a game starts I’ll just focus on timing, what’s coming out on the board, what’s coming out on the various cameras.

What happens during the planning process.

We go over scripts that are really detailed. It includes every thing that happens once doors open so every video that’s playing right now is scripted. It’s the entire show. From the music, videos, LED, we work with the building to make sure everything comes out as planned. We promote the next game and our sponsors. It’s all well-documented so no one has an excuse to say they didn’t know.

BrooklynettesAnd then game time!

Yes, game time starts at 7:33pm and then we start from there. Our basketball buddies come out and they’re the kids that stand in front of the players during the anthem. We have a live coverage of our color guard and the national anthem. Our Nets open video, which I love. I’m always proud of the open video. That’s what sets the tone for the game.

What happens if something goes wrong? Especially if children are involved?

Everyone’s on head-sets. The game director will say, ‘ok coming up to commercial break’ so everyone’s aware. He’ll call for the time out, then the kids will run out so the likelihood of them going over doesn’t happen. The kids are pre-trained so they’re told in advance once they join the team that if for some reason you’re out there and the music doesn’t start look up at the coach. He’ll give them a signal that means something happened upstairs and no music’s about to start.

Sounds like a well-oiled machine!

But that’s trial and error. That happened before and the kids were looking around like ‘what do we do?!’ so we learned we have to tell them look to the left.

Let talk more about the rundown of events.

The run-down changes every single game. The only thing that remains the same are the times in which they take place so you know that a quarter break is always a quarter break is always a quarter break.

Now if the game goes into overtime, then what?

The dancers know to watch the clock and if the score is near or close then they’ll take it to the back and they’ll run through a quick routine. They’ll alert the game director via the head set ‘next up’. We never say ‘overtime’ cause that would jinx the game! Everybody knows that next up means overtime. It’s one of those superstitions.

What are some of the new projects you’re implementing?

This year we have created our own Brooklyn Nets drum line. They’re Brooklyn kids aged 13- 16 years old and they play on the concourse at quarter break about 15 times a season.

Brooklyn NetsWhat are some of the things you tried that didn’t work or you had to tweak a little bit?

I think the main thing that we’re kind of always honing—and not that it doesn’t work—is choreography and tricks. I always tell them, if I’m bored with it, our season ticket holders are bored with it. And this season they’ve done an excellent job in keeping it fresh, adding props and adding stunts and adding tricks and that’s what differentiates us from everyone else.

I think we have great fans. The camera goes to them, they’re dancing, they’re into it. Again, we have a really diverse crowd so I think that’s the biggest challenge to make sure that we’re hitting every pocket and everyone’s happy while still maintaining the integrity of Brooklyn.

What are you looking forward to most this season?

Wins! What I look forward to the ongoing process of coming up with different elements that will make a difference. As an example, we found this great group that’s performing on Kids Day and they’re called Unlocking the Truth. It’s a kid’s rock and roll band from Brooklyn and they’ve performed a few places.

What are some of your challenges?

Budget is always a challenge. We’re challenged to do the best and to bring the best but it’s expensive. We also have to keep everyone’s happy from ownership to the young people to the not-so-young people.

Sounds like you have to stay in the know, too.

That’s why I drive to work and I live in Chelsea. So I’m used to the radio. We’re actually having another performance for Kids Day and they mentioned Becky G. I had no idea who that was until they played the song for me and I was like ‘yup I know who that is’ so she’s performing during halftime for our Kids Day as well so it’s stuff like that that keeps us relevant. I embrace my team. When they say: ‘Have you thought about this?’ I love it, let’s go for it. I empower them to be different and I empower them to challenge me. Not all my ideas are great so if you don’t think they’re great tell me and sometimes they’re right and I think that encourages them to be creative.

Brooklyn_Nets_DancerWhere do you find creativity?

Inspiration comes from the most bizarre places. Whether I take the subway and I see this really great group on the side doing something fun or I even go to other teams and I see what they do and I add our Brooklyn twist to it. I’d like to take everything that we do to the next level that creates more interest and keeps the fans engaged.

How large is your team?

I have a total of 14 people on my team. Directly and then indirectly I have the dancers, the kids so there’s probably another 60 people and with game night staff there’s probably another 60 or 70 people.

You’ve worked at a few places prior to coming to Brooklyn. How does working here compare to your previous job?

I’ve been around for 30 years. I started with the Lakers and then I went to the Knicks and here. I think what’s consistent is just the love of entertainment. At each location I was at different times of my life personally. I was in L.A. when I was in my 20’s, and they were winning championships. There was a different owner and it was a different experience.

It’s an awesome time to be in Brooklyn now. It’s great to open Barclays Center. It’s humbling to be a part of such a big project.

What’s the most exciting aspect about your job?

The ability to be consistently creative. To come up with fun ideas that feed into our fans and the diversity of our fan base to come up with ways to make them “ooh” and “ahh”

To date, what’s been one of exciting events that you planned?

Everything has its own special moment. Working with John Forte last season at the Brooklyn chant was something that I was very proud of. I think creating an atmosphere that feeds into Brooklyn is a proud moment when the fans interact and are engaged. I take all the small wins into one big win.

Who’s your favorite player?

I don’t have a favorite player. I’ve been in the NBA for 30 years. I can’t say that I have one favorite player. I’m probably more old school than anything and I’ll give you the old school names like Magic Johnson. I used to work for the Lakers so I’m old school. I definitely like more of the old school way of playing the game than I do new school, but they’re all incredible athletes.

From the Web

More on Vibe

VIBE Vixen/ Jessica Xie

VIBE Vixen's Boss Talk Podcast: Meet Peppermint, The Boss Using Her Gifts For Good

VIBE Vixen's Boss Talk podcast amplifies the voices of women and she/her-identifying individuals in their respective industries as they discuss their journeys toward becoming the bosses we know today. From their demeanor and confidence and persevering through life’s pitfalls to make a name for themselves in their own way, being a boss is much more than 'just running sh*t.'

Miss Peppermint started as a staple in the New York nightlife scene, and after appearing as a contestant on the ninth season of RuPaul's Drag Race, she’s continued to make a name for herself.

Outside of the show, she's traveled the world and is hoping to release her third album, which she hints will be influenced by the '90s, R&B, and neo-soul. She's also planning on re-releasing her debut album, Hardcore Glamour, for its 10-year anniversary.

"I'll be doing a lot in New York this year for World Pride," she explains to Boss Talk's host, J'na Jefferson. Pride takes place throughout June. "The last album I dropped was 2017... I'm excited about that, I'm writing it now. It's just poems, but I'm excited."

Peppermint, who was the first openly transgender contestant on the Emmy Award-winning show, was also the first transgender woman to originate a principal role on Broadway for her role as Pythio in Head Over Heels. 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Head Over Heels (@hohmusical) on Jan 31, 2019 at 12:26pm PST

"On paper, it shouldn't make sense... it's hard to explain what it is," she says of the musical, which combined a loose adaptation of 16th-century piece The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia with the music of the new wave group, The Go-Go's. It closed in late-2018.

"The better way to explain it now that it's over and closed is 'a revolutionary show about dismantling the patriarchy...'" she says about Head Over Heels. "I knew that they wanted to cast a trans actor... I wanted to put as much as I could into it, and try to do our non-binary siblings well and proud... [the show] became something I really believed in."

Peppermint continues to share her love of performing all over the world and is also an activist, who aims to promote the importance of LGBTQIA representation and advancement. She has worked and supported organizations such as The Point Foundation, which aims to help LGBTQIA students attend college. 

"People are just starting to catch on that having queer voices is essential and inevitable," she says of further representation of LGBTQIA individuals in media and entertainment. She praises Pose creator Ryan Murphy for showcasing trans people of color both in front of the camera and behind-the-scenes.

"Giving [trans people] the power to speak for themselves, rather than slapping the community with stereotypes or archetypes... we're past that," she continues. "We're not in the phase where they're feeling comfortable to be who they are, but I think we're getting close."

Listen to the full episode below.

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Kush & Splendor: 5 CBD Beauty Products That’ll Take Your Self-Care Routine From 0 To 100

Lotions, creams, and salves—oh my! With cannabidiol (CBD) popping up in just about every product you can imagine, the cannabis-infused beauty industry is clearly on the come-up. In fact, analysts predict that the “wellness” movement—as well as the legalization of Mary Jane across the world—will help rake in $25 billion globally in the next 10 years, according to Business Insider. That’s 15 percent of the $167 billion skincare market.

And what better way to up the ante on one’s wellness routine than with all-natural CBD? Just ask Dr. Lana Butner, naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist at NYC’s Modrn Sanctuary, who incorporates CBD in her treatments.

“CBD is a fantastic addition to acupuncture sessions for both its relaxation and anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving effects,” Butner shares with Vixen. “The calming effects of CBD allows for patients to deeply relax into the treatment and really tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest, digestion and muscle repair/regeneration.”

She adds that CBD’s pain-relieving effects are “far-reaching,” from muscular and joint pains to migraines and arthritis—and even IBS and indigestion.

The magic lies in CBD’s ability to impact endocannabinoid receptor activity in our bodies. Without getting too wordy, our bodies come equipped with a system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is the HBIC over our sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. Also known as cannabidiol, CBD teams up with this system to help reduce inflammation and interact with neurotransmitters. According to Healthline, CBD has also been scientifically shown to impact the brain’s receptors for serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating our mood and social behavior.

All that said, it’s important to note that not all CBD products are created equal. Many brands cashing in on the green beauty wave use hemp seed oil, sometimes referred to as cannabis sativa seed oil, in place of CBD... which doesn’t make them any less great! Hemp seed oil is actually high in antioxidants, amino acids, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids—all of which are for your skin.

“It’s generally viewed as a superfood and is great for adding nutritional value to your diet,” Ashley Lewis, co-founder of Fleur Marché, told Well and Good last month. “In terms of skin care, it’s known as a powerful moisturizer and skin softener that doesn’t clog pores or contribute to oily skin.”

However, when companies start marketing CBD and hemp oil as one-in-the-same, that’s when things get a bit tricky.

“The biggest issue is that hemp seed oil and CBD are two totally different compounds that come from different parts of the hemp plant, have different makeups, and different benefits,” Lewis added. “Marketing them as the same thing just isn’t accurate and does a disservice to consumers who are expecting certain benefits that they won’t get from hemp seed oil and who are often paying more for what they think is CBD.”

So if you’re looking to benefit from the perks specifically attributed to CBD, make sure you’re reading labels before buying, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Hell, ask for a product’s test results, while you’re at it. It never hurts to be sure.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, are you ready to see what all the hype is about? For this 4/20, we rounded up a few CBD (and hemp!)-infused products to help give your self-care routine a bit of a boost. Looks like your holiday just got that much kushier. You’re welcome!

Note: Data and regulations surrounding CBD and its use are still in development. That said, please don’t take anything written in this post as medical or legal advice, and definitely double check the laws in your state. Also, please do your body a favor and hit up your doctor before trying any new supplements. We’re just tryna look out for you. Okay? Okay. Read on.

Continue Reading
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Vivica A. Fox Explains Past Hesitance Behind 'Two Can Play That Game' Script

In a new interview with Essence, actress Vivica A. Fox discussed how she initially turned down her role in Two Can Play That Game based on the script. The established entertainer said it's her mission to ensure that black people are positively portrayed onscreen, and noticed the aforementioned film's prose didn't live up to those standards.

"I think the reason why—no I know the reason why—I've been doing this for such a long time is that I fight," Fox said. "When we did Two Can Play That Game, I fought for the way we talked, walked, the way we loved each other." The Set It Off actress continued to state that she consistently declined Two Can Play That Game before signing on to play the lead role. "Because the script, when I first got it, I turned it down three times because it just wasn't a good representation of African-Americans, so I fought them on everything," she noted. "I want to make sure that the images of African-Americans are as positive and as true as they can possibly be."

In 2001, the romantic comedy debuted to fanfare, boasting an all-star cast of Morris Chestnut, Mo'Nique, Anthony Anderson, Bobby Brown, Gabrielle Union, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and more. Directed by Mark Brown (Barbershop, Iverson, How To Be A Player), Fox plays a career driven person named Shante Smith who navigates a curveball when her boyfriend Keith Fenton (Chestnut) cheats on her with a co-worker.

After its release, Two Can Play That Game raked in over $22 million at the box office.

Continue Reading

Top Stories