Oakland Futures Rally for the Arts and Wins!
About Oakland Futures
Oakland Futures is a story-based initiative from Oakland BIPOC artists and cultural workers in collaboration with MUSH from Whole Story Group and The Center for Cultural Power. We have come together to uplift, share, and connect stories on Oakland’s complex history, the current moment, and future promise.
Invest in Oakland culture. Invest in Oakland’s culture makers.
ARE YOU READY?
Oakland Futures has activated a broad base of Oakland’s cultural and political power players: elected officials, new residents, business owners, emergent voters, youth, artists, faith leaders, in hope of telling core narratives that inspire BIPOC artists and cultural advocates across the country to create and support one another. We aim to inspire an equitable tomorrow for the artists in the city of Oakland by advocating for direct support and investment. See our Oakland Futures Creative Brief designed by Michelle Mush Lee.
Oakland Futures Films
Oakland Futures Inspire New Economies
Oakland artists have the power to create new networks when old ways stop serving the people. The town is rich in resources and we build upon our natural ecosystems rather than outsourcing and extracting.
When old social networks and marketplaces stop or collapse (as many have in COVID), we find new ways to reconnect our communities. Our relationships to our neighbors are authentic and built upon collective care. This mutual love and bond allows us to construct marketplaces that celebrate the wisdom and strengths of our local communities. Our communities benefit from an exchange of goods and services, circulation of needed resources, and aid that keeps each other afloat during times of crisis and uncertainty. Our marketplaces reflect abundance, a diversity of skills and knowledge, and opportunities for young artists to learn about community-based economies.
Oakland Futures Inspire New Realities
Our greatest power as BIPOC artists is our collective knowing that the fight for racial justice cannot be achieved without cultural power. BIPOC artists carry the gift of speaking truth to power. We call out the names of injustices that often go unseen. We dance and process in ritual movement on sidewalks where police have beaten Black and Brown bodies. We make a kind of noise the world cannot resist. We call out elitist institutions for their white hubris and gatekeeping. When organizations in our city serving Black and Brown youth are shut down, Oakland artists are first to advocate for adequate resources and form alternatives.
Oakland Futures Inspire The World
Oakland Artists overturn a culture of fame that says, “In order to succeed we need to exclude, erase or forget our histories and where we’ve come from.” We know the soil we come from and believe it’s all of us or none.
From the Pointer Sisters, to MC Hammer, to Bruce Lee, to Emory Douglas, to Too $hort, to En Vogue, to Sheila E., to Ryan Coogler, to Chinaka Hodge, to Raphael Saadiq, to Goapele, to Digital Underground, to Hieroglyphics, to Keyshia Cole, to Zendaya, to Daveed Diggs, to Alphabet Rockers, to Kehlani and every artist of Oakland Futures. Oakland Artists are beloved by fans and art audiences worldwide for our power to break and create new molds, while never losing our ethos of radical love and belonging.
STORY CONSULTANT: MUSH from Whole Story Group
THE CENTER FOR CULTURAL POWER
Anna Maria Luera
Thank you to @westoaklandmuralproject and The Women of The Black Panther Mural for allowing us to use the special edition reprints of the Black Panther brown bags.
Oakland Futures Artists Collective
Oakland Artists create art that is globally recognized. From the Pointer Sisters, to MC Hammer, to Bruce Lee, to Emory Douglas, to Too $hort, to En Vogue, to Sheila E., to Ryan Coogler, to Chinaka Hodge, to Raphael Saadiq, to Goapele, to Digital Underground, to Hieroglyphics, to Keyshia Cole, to Zendaya, to Daveed Diggs, to Alphabet Rockers, to Kehlani and every artist of the Oakland Futures project.
Oakland Artists are beloved by fans and arts audiences across the world for our power to break and create new molds, while never losing our ethos of radical love and belonging. We overturn a culture of fame that says that in order to succeed we need to exclude, erase or forget our histories and where we’ve come from. We know the soil we come from and believe it’s #allofusornone.
Francisco “Amend” Sanchez
IG: @Amend TDK
Candice Antique’ BIO
Candice Antique runs marathons • Took off by herself in Cuba • Loves off roading • Touched Prince’s hand at a concert • Did a speaking tour in Iran • Swam around a sand dune in the Indian Ocean • Taught Afro-Latino History • Took a boat ride on the Nile River • Got lost in Barcelona…on purpose • Facilitated three trainings in three states in three days • Took a bus from Uganda to Rwanda • Survived the canopy walk at Kakum National Park in Ghana…three times • Got on a rowboat in Malta and had lunch on a random island • Has performed and recorded music in 7 countries making music with local artists• Was interviewed on International TV broadcast all over the Middle East and Africa • Was the artist in residence for the International Congress on Critical Pedagogy & Transformative Leadership at the University of Malta • Received the Distinguished graduate student award • Collects owl and pineapples figurines • Was named a Woman to Watch by KQED in 2017• Wrote a song for UNESCO’s Women in Africa curriculum • Lead singer of beat boxing combo Antique Naked Soul • Loves vintage clothing • 2017 Cubena McClure Arts and Culture Award recipient• Co-wrote a hip hop seder for the Contemporary Jewish Museum • Has been married for 7 years • Is the mother of 2 boys.
Candice Antique is the founder and CEO of Edutainment for Equity, a consulting and arts production company. She holds a Masters in Education from San Francisco State University and a Bachelors in Sociology from UC Berkeley. She has 23 years of experience in the field of education, specializing in equity & social justice. She is an international singer/songwriter who produces music to deepen the dialogue on equity & inclusion.
Francisco “Amend” Sanchez BIO
Amend is a multi-disciplinary self-taught artist from Oakland California and works predominantly with the aerosol medium. Amend’s style is influenced by traditional Mexican Muralism, yet maintains the grit and raw nature of his Urban Graffiti Roots. Amend has been part of the Graffiti Art scene for 20 years and has been painting for 16 years and continues to play an active roll in the aerosol movement in the Bay Area.
Amend is also a part of TDK Collective. TDK is nationally and internationally respected, known for both their mural projects and dedication to Aerosol Art. Recently, Amend has been working with property owners, who repeatedly have their building vandalized, by submitting proposals to paint murals on their building. The series of murals produced represent Oakland’s rich history, diversity, and resiliency. Additionally, over the past 6 summers Amend has worked with 67 Sueños as the Lead Artist for their summer mural projects focusing on social justice issues.
Amend’s work can be found in a myriad of public and private art collections in the Bay Area, and has been seen in numerous exhibitions.
Cece Carpio BIO
Using acrylic, ink, aerosol and installations, Cece Carpio tells stories of immigration, ancestry, collective movements, and our stories of resilience. She documents evolving traditions through combining folkloric forms, bold portraits and natural elements with urban art techniques.
Living and working in the Bay Area, she is inspired by the cultural potency of communities of color and of the prominent history of social movements that have become influential expressions for the rest of the world to see. The unique and complex narratives in the Bay have been in the forefront of creativity invigorating popular culture and allowing communities to imagine and create another world possible. She paints everyday people who have been invincible in order to share their thriving presence and to show the dignity and power of their existence. As a visual storyteller, Cece paints to lift up her communities, share their stories and provoke the power of their imagination.
Cece has produced and exhibited work throughout the globe. She has been awarded the Rockwood Institute Fellowship, NYFA Immigrant Artist Fellowship, a teaching residency at Café R.E.D & La Botica Espacio Cultural at Xela, Guatemala, an artist residency with KulArts at SOMA and Asian Art Museum in SF and a recent honoree with YBCA 100 2020. She has been commissioned by the City of Oakland, YBCA, UC Berkeley, and OMCA. She served as a Public Art Advisor for the City of Oakland, and is currently working as the Galleries Manager for the San Francisco Arts Commission
She can often be found with her collective, Trust Your Struggle, teaching, and traveling around the world in pursuit of the perfect wall.
2021/2020 – Features
EJ Walls aka Sin Q BIO
EJ Walls (aka Sin Q) is an Oakland-based, Black, Filipino & Mexican emcee/songwriter and arts educator. The vibrant lyricist uses written and spoken word to process life experiences past, present and future, and has blazed stages across California with acts such as Casey Veggies, Travis Scott, Ab-Soul, Zion I and more, as well as internationally in Ghana, West Africa and Puebla, Mexico. As the current lead poet mentor for Youth Speaks, EJ facilitates writing workshops and curates and hosts programs and events to foster liberating spaces for young people. He enjoys exploring the relationship between genuine self-expression and overall social-emotional wellness, and hopes his work will continue inspiring folks to create, live and love with purpose, humility and joy.
Jeff “Silence” Arthur BIO
Jeff “Silence” Arthur is a self-taught artist who began directing videos out of necessity- to marry visuals to his own music. However, it wasn’t long before Jeff also became enamored with filmmaking.
Armed with the inherent storytelling nature of hip hop music and a rediscovered passion for photography, his narrative and branding videos began taking on a life of their own. He has been producing thought provoking work for 7 years. The approach to the work- whether it’s branding, event or film projects- is to put STORY, MESSAGE and ART at the forefront. We believe this creates the most compelling results.
Jeff also works with inner city youth to develop their creative media skills. A key concern of his is to make sure that underserved young people not only have opportunities in technology and the creative arts but that ultimately they feel empowered to design their own futures.
Kehinde Koyejo BIO
Kehinde Koyejo is an Oakland native & resident | artist | healer | entrepreneur. She was last seen in Robert O’Hara’s An American Maul (BACCE / Brava!). Other memorable credits include San Francisco Playhouse’s Awards winning Barbecue, All Aunt Hagar’s Children-Paris Tour (Word for Word, CA), Booty Candy (BACCE / BRAVA Theater, CA), We Are Proud to Present (Just Theater, CA), “Best Ensemble” Theater Bay Area Award winner Sweet Maladies (BACCE / BRAVA Theater to name a few. Ms. Koyejo is a member of the Black Artists Contemporary Cultural Experience (BACCE) in San Francisco and part of the first cohort of the African American Art and Cultural Complex’s PDA Program for creatives. She earned a B.F.A. in Acting from Pace University, NY, and an M.A. in Performance Studies from New York University.
In addition to the arts, Kehinde enjoys empowering her community with holistic tools and strategies for stress and burnout management. She is committed to educating women of color, specifically women of African descent about mental and emotional health in deep, authentic, and ongoing ways to guide more women, in creative fields, towards self-healing, self-preservation, and entrepreneurship.
Kehinde is also the creator & owner of two e-commerce companies: Kalm Korner by Kehinde, a conscious lifestyle brand offering a variety of holistic self-care products and purposeful gifts, and Choc’late Mama Cookies, a conscious cookie company specializing in manufacturing and distributing vegan & gluten-free classic treats. To learn more about Kehinde please visit kalmkorner.com
Kev Choice BIO
Oakland, CA artist-educator-activist Kev Choice is a classically-trained pianist, M.C., producer, composer, and bandleader. His music uses wit and conscious lyricism to bring a positive and inspiring message to his unique blend of Hip-Hop, Jazz, Classical, R&B and Soul. Kev has worked and toured the world with the likes of Michael Franti & Spearhead, Goapele, Ledisi, Zion I, Too Short, Souls of Mischief, and The Coup, to name a few, and was music director for Ms. Lauryn Hill in 2007. As a performer, Kev has played at events for Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, as well as Black Panther Party 50th Anniversary Gala, to shows at San Quentin Prison. He has production credits with artists such as Wiz Khalifa, Curren$y, Too Short, Elujay, Rexx Life Raj, Damian Lilliard, and more. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music (Piano Performance) from Xavier University of Louisiana and a Master’s Degree in Music (Piano Performance) from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He leads his own multi-genre blending band, the Kev Choice Ensemble, and is part of music collective/band Black London. In 2018, he was commissioned by Oakland Symphony to write a piece and composed Soul Restoration Suite. In 2020 he collaborated with San Francisco Symphony and wrote “Movements”. Kev has released and produced 5 solo albums including Oakland Riviera(2014), and his latest album Social Distancing(2020), plus a number of collaborative projects and singles including The Lush and Luxurious Vibes(2020) with producer DJ Fresh. He currently teaches in the Instrumental Music department at Oakland School for the Arts and serves on Oakland’s Cultural Affairs Commission as Vice-Chair. He also serves on the Recording Academy’s SF Chapter board of Governors as Vice-President. He was recently named to YBCA 100 list for being a changemaker in the Bay Area. In 2020 his work has received grants and commissions from San Jose Jazz and Akonadi Foundation.
Kim Webber BIO
KimberLee Webber is an Oakland native. Before working as a filmmaker, she spent many years in the service industry. During that time, she experienced the harsh working conditions that low-wage workers endure.
Outside of work, the Bay Area’s rapid gentrification also had an overwhelming impact on her. She felt powerless against a deluge of systemic oppression she was experiencing in all facets of her life: both work and home.
To cope, she channeled her feelings into street photography. She posted her amatuer work on social media. People began to follow her. And as her skills grew, so did her reach. In time, she’s developed her work into a professional media company that serves clients across the nation.
KimberLee’s work centers on emotional branding. Informed by the injustices she’s experienced and her extreme sensitivity, KimberLee has a unique ability to communicate a wide spectrum of feelings. Viewers can truly connect to what she creates.
Michael Orange BIO
Michael Orange is the chief mobilizer, moving image and crowd, in the truest namesake of MATATU. In the proud lineage of Black librarians, Michael has found his purpose early in the preservation and presentation of heirloom truths. Such critical stories have peppered the earth in all directions, which he sees as elements necessary to forge the intersectional post-colonial identities of the African Diaspora. Each of Michael’s commitments are meditative actions of personal and public inquiry within the Afro past, present, and future. In this passion, he is a cultural bearer of the radical African imagination. The production of knowledge as power for a rising Black America in a time of wanton institutional violence and mass displacement, Michael feels is his responsibility–not by choice but by obligation. He partners with thought leaders and creatives, locally and internationally, to promote Black excellence through visionary and inclusive neo-Africana cultural experiences. Michael is an Association of Performing Arts Professionals Leadership Fellow (2020); a participant in ACAM 2019, an art cinema executive management program presented by International Confederation of Art Cinemas; and a commissioner for the City of Oakland’s Office of Cultural Affairs.
Vocalist /MC /Activist
Nomi (aka Mario de Mira)
Niema Jordan BIO
Niema Jordan is a journalist, filmmaker, and podcaster from Oakland, Calif. Her passion for storytelling led her to Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism where she studied magazine writing and editing. Jordan’s early career was spent in New York as a health and relationships editor at ESSENCE Magazine.
With a desire to grow as a journalist and delve deeper into the health disparities plaguing the Black community, and Black women in particular, she returned to the Bay Area. Jordan received her Master of Public Health and Master of Journalism (with an emphasis in documentary film) from University of California, Berkeley. Her thesis film, Oasis, tells the story of a struggling medical clinic that treats underserved populations battling Hepatitis C. The film won the Spike Lee Student Filmmaker Award at the Denver Film Festival (2016). In recent years, Jordan has continued to write for national publications including ESSENCE, Shondaland, and Glamour, while working in documentary film.
Her production credits include The Chosen Life (associate producer), Fatherless (associate producer), Bobby Kennedy for President (researcher) and The Force (impact producer). She is currently a story producer on an untitled mental health documentary series slated for a 2021 release and the host of the podcast, Fertility, Mothering, and Other Things.
Jordan serves on the Board of Directors of Oakland Kids First. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Nomi (akaMario de Mira) BIO
Nomi is the lead vocalist of Power Struggle, a San Francisco and Oakland based hip-hop group. Nomi’s music career spans two decades starting in Minneapolis and Brooklyn in the early 2000s and eventually landing in the Bay Area in 2005. He was a founding member of groups like Oddjobs, Kill the Vultures, and now Power Struggle with a music discography amounting to a total of ten albums. Nomi has been blessed with the opportunity to bring his music around the county and around the world, touring with artists like Zion I, Atmosphere, De La Soul, Brother Ali, Bambu, and many more. He is currently part of the Beatrock Music Label and Collective.
In addition to music, Nomi is also an organizer and activist in the Filipino community. For over a decade Nomi was a migrant worker advocate and organizer with the Filipino Community Center in SF, and also a founding member of Migrante San Francisco a grassroots organization for Filipino workers. This work has been an ideological guide for many of the themes and issues that his music covers. Nomi fully embraces the role of artists as propagators of social justice and revolutionary change. He is currently with Malaya Movement, an organization that fights for democracy and human rights in the Philippines.
Rhummanee Hang BIO
Rhummanee Hang is a second-generation Khmai American, multidisciplinary artist, and community organizer who was born and raised in Oakland. She was introduced to arts activism at 13 years old through dance, theatre, and poetry youth programs. Rhummanee has had over 10 years of experience in racial equity work, culturally specific programming, youth leadership development, and Southeast Asian anti-deportation organizing and has worked with organizations like World Trust Educational Services, Banteay Srei, and the Center for Empowering Refugees & Immigrants. Rhummanee currently serves as Co-Director of AYPAL: Building API Community Power, a youth leadership development and movement building organization based in Oakland Chinatown. She earned a BA in Sociology at UC Davis and an MA in International & Multicultural Education at the University of San Francisco. Rhummanee is an Aquarian dragon, crafter, and most importantly, Mommy to the amazing toddler, Noreak!
Ryan Nicole BIO
GRAMMY®-nominated quadruple treat, RyanNicole “utilizes every gift available to her for the liberation of all people”. Affectionately titled the “4A”, RyanNicole seeks opportunities to empower and inspire by way of her pursuits as an award winning Artist | Actress | Athlete | Activist.
Sango Tajima BIO
performer / multi-disciplinary artist / activist / non-profit admin / professional dabbler
I come by way of a family who are all in Japan. I come by way of a nomadic childhood. I come by way of a desire to root.
Sarah O’Neal BIO
Sarah O’Neal is a writer, facilitator, and ocean enthusiast from the Bay Area. Sarah’s work grapples with the nuances of her identities as a queer Moroccan Black Muslim. She is a 2019 Pink Door Fellow and an alum of the 2015 VONA/Voices writers of color workshop. She is a two time member of the Bay Area Brave New Voices slam team. Sarah’s work has been featured on AJ+, Upworthy, and Everyday Feminism. Sarah is a graduate of Mills College where she studied English Literature and Ethnic Studies. When she isn’t swimming or collecting old family photos, you can find her plotting her next trip to a body of water.
Trey Amos, aka fiveminusdeuce BIO
Trey Amos, aka fiveminusdeuce, hails from Nashville by way of Chicago. He creates across multiple mediums and centers his work around serving the people. When he’s not behind the decks DJing or on the mic facilitating, you can find him behind the scenes making sure each experience is executed with excellence. Trey arrived in the Bay Area in 2014, after being awarded the Youth Speaks Poet Mentor Fellowship. He has taught, performed, and coached at dozens of schools throughout the Great Bay Area, as well as the nation at large. He found his tribe here, and in 2016 he along with close friends launched Oakhella, an event/marketing agency preserving Oakland’s culture through music, art, and food. In 2017, Trey accepted the Associate Experience Development consulting position at Oakland Museum of California for its exhibition RESPECT: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom, where he was the community point person for engagement and curation. Trey has since gone on to continue curating, producing, and growing more involved in creating dynamic experiences. He is currently working on new music geared toward self-awareness, affirmation, and healing.
Yonas W. Tesfai BIO
Oakland based illustrator and digital artist, Yonas Tesfai, produces work that represents a wide range of detailed and bold portraits that celebrates Black culture with compelling social and political commentary. In his distinct visual language, taking influence from his unique lens as a Bay Area native and Eritrean-American, Tesfai’s work is as truth-seeking and provocative as it is aesthetically vivid and powerful. His work has been featured in various galleries, including SOMArts and Warehouse 416. In addition, Tesfai was an Apple featured artist teaching workshops on digital art technique.
Zou (aka Zouhair Mussa) BIO
Zou is a 17 year old writer, spoken word poet, MC, and community organizer from West Oakland. His art is strictly based on true events and mostly aims at addressing real problems within his community. He seeks to shed light on injustices that plague the places he calls home. All the while speaking from his personal point of view on maneuvering adolescence growing up in West Oakland. His dream is to uplift his community and inspire change with the aid of his artistic expression
Phil Wong BIO
Phil Wong (he/him/his) is a theatre artist, writer, and musician from Oakland, CA aka xučyun (unceded Chochenyo Ohlone land). He is a graduate of Oberlin College, a member of the first Bay Area #BARS Cohort, and received physical theatre training at the Accademia dell’ Arte in Arezzo, Italy. Phil is also co-founder of Bay Area Theatre Cypher, a collective of artists who live at the crossfader of theatre and hip hop. Theatre Cypher was created out of deep disappointment with traditional American Theatre, and has developed into a space for multi-hypenate artists to dismantle the traditional power structures found within the theatre making process using the Cypher a conduit for inclusive storytelling and community building. Phil has been active in his community since he was very young and is constantly working to make his art more conscious, empathetic, relevant, and revolutionary. He also really likes noodles. Of all sorts.
Mush is a writer, narrative strategist and CEO of Whole Story Group, LLC, an organizational consulting firm founded on the principles of equity, storytelling and transformative leadership. In 2019, she was invited to serve as one of the Cultural Affairs Division’s Cultural Strategist-in-Government (CSIG), where she worked in City departments to infuse policy-making and practices with new creative and culturally-competent thinking and problem-solving to promote civic belonging and well-being. Mush’s talks and writings have been featured on Vogue, HBO, PBS, AfroPop, Summit Series, Social Venture Network, National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education (NCORE) and the Berkeley Communications Conference. A Harvard University, Project Zero Fellow, Mush is frequently a featured speaker on contemporary culture, racial justice and women of color in leadership. She has shared the stage with cultural powerhouses like Natalie Baszile, Hope Solo and Harrison Ford and spoken for Stop AAPI Hate and See Us Unite campaigns. Her writing is published in All the Women in My Family Sing, an anthology of essays by women of color at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Mush serves as a Cultural Affairs Commissioner and a member of the Funding Advisory Committee for the City of Oakland. www.wholestorygroup.com
Oakland Futures Rally for the Arts and Wins!
In late May 2021, Oakland Future’s artists held our first Town Hall to advocate for the city’s support of the arts and to discuss needs and ideas.
By June 2021, alongside local movement groups, Oakland artists rallied to secure arts funding from Oakland City Council. Our overall goal was to redirect approximately $18 million going to the Oakland Police Department toward critical community needs like arts and culture, violence prevention, and mental health services.
Representing Oakland Futures, Favianna Rodriguez, Mush Lee, RyanNicole, and Kev Choice took a stance as lead Artist Disruptors along with @antipoliceterrorproject and @oakland.rising.
Together, artists and activists put pressure on the city for a changed outcome. On June 17, Oakland citizens raised signs designed by Favianna Rodriguez outside of City Hall—gathering neighbors, press, and politicos until it was announced that more funding would be reserved for non-police services, including arts and culture in Oakland.
We won! What did we win for Arts and Culture?
- We won an additional (1.0 FTE) employee for the Oakland Cultural Affairs division!
- We won $2 million for Oakland arts and culture! This includes funding promised to the Black Arts Movement and Business District (BAMBD), amazing work led by Oakland’s Poet Laureate, @wordslanger.