Tumani Onabiyi: Photographer

Tumani

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Tumani: Yes, Oakland, California from the age of 6 months.

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? Tumani: Started as a child learning how to make things and they were good enough to sell at age 7.

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? Tumani: Then black consciousness movement was the beginning of the photographic path that then extended into video. Then Festac 77 and the motherland consciousness brought us into the folkloric arts and the drums. The AfroCentric movement in the 1980’s put the academic and philosophic foundation to another level where upon we began to use folkloric traditions for contemporary purpose in our community. This became healing. And so it goes on and is everywhere.

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? Tumani: James Brown Live At the Apollo, Vol 2, ..2 record set LP.

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote?

Tumani:  “Learning is the light that leads to everything lovely.”

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tumani-Photo-Video/213937171970925

Sydney Cain: Visual Artist

                            SAGE   This is Sage by Tuffgyal808

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Sage: Yes, San Francisco born and raised.

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? Sage: I’ve always enjoyed drawing & painting. I knew for sure in high school anything I do in life art would be involved.

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? Sage: Unseen realities. Myths. Bass. Silence. Copperpeople. Things that are someway familiar and help us remember our origins.

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? Sage: First vinyl was Bobbi Humphrey and more like free stuff on the corner.

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote?

Sage: There are no secrets.

Rocky Seker: Owner of Black Cinema At Large

Rocky1st Fridays by Tuffgyal808

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Rocky: This is yes and no. I’ve lived in the Bay off and on since I was six, (born in D.C. while my father went to Howard) and grew up in Oakland. But I was shipped off back East every summer to relatives from June to September in NJ/NY, and lived in New York for 5 years, so I identify with both coasts.

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? Rocky: I’ve been a film lover ever since I can remember…also an activist. Both can be directly attributed to my father, who took me to a zillion movies since maybe 3 years old, and had to deal with massive amounts of racism in the 70’s (even getting his life threatened several times), because he was the boss of many that didn’t want to work for a Black man. Most of the films that I like to screen deal with social justice issues.

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? Rocky: Everything that has to do with the senses, I think. Film, of course; just one film can change the course of your whole life if it resonates with you. Fashion, architecture, photography, fine art, music, even food. Love. The art component is a little surprising–I have gotten deeply into the art aspect since coming back to Oakland…we have such amazing artists here it is unreal; it’s time for it to be recognized on a national and global level. I am also deeply inspired by people who fight injustice, but transcend anger and do it from a loving, objective, intelligent, and spiritual understanding; that is a very, very hard thing to do. Even the people who do this with just everyday living and regular life issues are so inspiring to me.

I also get inspired by reading the I-Ching every day and my children, but definitely in a more indirect way–I get ideas out of heart and spirit from that. Being grounded from there is helping me to evolve into making films of my own.

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? Rocky: Ummmm…purchased for someone else, Earth, Wind, and Fire. Given to me was The Police’s “Roxanne” (my born name). Purchased for myself, whatever that Luther Vandross album was that had “Never Too Much” on it. Oddly, I never liked anything he made after that! Lol After that it was Prince all day every day; I would buy without even listening to it first.
When I was a kid my parents were very social and had lots of parties. I just thought about this…I’d really forgotten. Every time they would have a party they would just buy whatever was on Jet magazine’s top 20 list–old, old school! After the party they would give all the 45’s to me and my sister. And we would play them to death.

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote? Rocky: Please supportive of everyone in Oakland in the arts and culture if they are genuinely passionate about what they do. There is a renaissance here of sorts, and it can be parallel to the Harlem Renaissance, if we let it. In my opinion, it’s imperative we let it/support it…I don’t want the Oakland that I know/love/grew up in get watered down through changes that we are not a part of. We must make the big picture bigger than small agendas and small thoughts.

Mini Interview with DJ Santero


SANTERO “Luka Lounge” by Tuffgyal808

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Erick: No. I traveled a lot before I settled here. I’ve lived in Bay Area for 17+ years now.

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? Erick: My father was a musician. I’ve been surrounded by music all my life. I don’t remember a time where music wasn’t a central part of my existence.

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? Erick: I find inspiration everywhere. Sometimes the smallest, simplest things affect me profoundly. I feel like my music is more channelled than created. There are larger forces at work. I’m just playing my part as best I can.

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? Erick: Bad Brains. Rock for Light. I still have it.

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote? Erick: “All spiritualists who have really sounded the depths of spiritualism have realized that there is no better means of attracting the spirits from their plane of freedom to the outer plane than by music.” -Hazrat Inayat Khan

http://www.soundcloud.com/santeromusic

Stephanie Powell: Ballerina, Professor


Stephanie

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Stephanie: I am a native of Bakersfield, California. I grew up there and moved to Berkeley, Emeryville and Oakland when I attended UC Berkeley and danced professionally with Oakland Ballet.

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? Stephanie: I began my creative path at the age of 3 with my dance instructor of over 3 decades, Cindy Trueblood at Civic Dance Center.

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? Stephanie: I found my inspiration when my parents took me to the then Shubert Theater to see musicals, learning variations from Cindy and simply the feeling of being on stage. I knew it was what I was destined to do.

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? Stephanie: My first piece of vinyl I ever purchased and still own, was Planet Rock!

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote? Stephanie: Dance is why I wake up in the morning. Outside of a remarkable career with Oakland Ballet, SF Opera, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Donald Byrd the Group, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater and the Disney musical Lion King, I have transitioned into loving to coach and teach on the university level. While I still perform and reconstruct the choreography of legendary Donald McKayle, I have found a new passion in passing the wealth of information that I have gained to the students of the next generation.

Penelope Adibe: Clothing Designer

Nneka by PennyBackstage by Tuffgyal808

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Penelope: I have been in the Bay Area on and off now for 20 yrs. Originally from London: my mum German and dad Nigerian. I originally came over here for school and ended up staying. Lived also in NY and LA but kept coming back to the Bay Area. Oakland feels like home, its always such a relief to come back to Oakland from traveling or even coming back from SF to have people smile and say hello to you……I heart u Oakland

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? Penelope: It started when I was in a dance troupe when I was young.. my mum put me in a dance school at 4 and we would have to do these shows. The teacher would give the mums sketches of the costumes she wanted and my mum would have to make the costumes so I would sit around and watch her put them together. Then in high school I started making my own clothes and people would ask me to make stuff for them.

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? Penelope: I find inspiration all around me, whether it be people watching in Oakland (the kids coming out of the Art school in Downtown are always fashionistas), the web, watching what my favorite designers are doing or shopping vintage stores and watching movies.

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? Penelope: First piece of vinyl was probably something cheesy like the The Muppet Show Volume 1: one of the tracks I remember was “Half way down the Stairs” By Kermit the Frog (lol!) I can even remember the words.

I would nick (steal)my brother’s vinyl, who is 9 yrs older than me, and I can still hear him complaining to my mum “Pennys nicked my bla bla album”. I can remember playing the Sylvesters “You make me feel” and Chaka Khan and Rufus’s Pink album cover (can’t remember the name) and that hair, I always wanted her hair.

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote? Penelope: hmmmm joke or quote? I’m not good at remembering either but this is what comes to mind…
Keep growing, learning and giving and don’t forget to smile 🙂

Mini Interview with DJ Leydis

Leydis

photo by Tuffgyal808

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Leydis: No. Originally from Cuba but I have lived in the Bay since 2006…  it feels like home.

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? Leydis: I grew up with a record player in my house… That was the favorite sound system of my mother to listen to music and we were listening to all types of music. I was in my first Hip Hop dance group when I was 10 years old and after that I kept it for all my life ” I Love Music”

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? Leydis: Like I said first, from my mom in many different ways… Growing up with a strong Black Woman, hardworking/willing to support me in all my dreams, she never stopped me and always said “yes you can.” After her I can say that I’m inspired every day and from so many people!

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? Leydis: 🙂  one of my favorites as a child was “Menudo” but we did not have many options to purchase records in Cuba as here in the US but when I moved and got taken to “Rasputin” in Berkeley, that was the trip .

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote? Leydis: There’s something I would love to share you…

“A Message To my Sista ”
At this time I’d like to say a few words especially to my sisters: SISTERS. BLACK PEOPLE WILL NEVER BE FREE UNLESS BLACK WOMEN PARTICIPATE
IN EVERY ASPECT OF OUR STRUGGLE, ON EVERY LEVEL OF OUR STRUGGLE.I think that Black women, more than anybody on the face of the earth, recognize the urgency of our situation. Because it is We who come face to face daily with the institutions of our oppression. And because it is We who have borne the major responsibility of raising our children. And it is We who have to deal with the welfare systems that do not care about the welfare of our children. And it is We who have to deal with the school systems that do not educate our children. It is We who have to deal with the racist teachers who teach our children to hate themselves. It is We who have seen the terrible effects of racism on our children. I JUST WANT TO TAKE A MOMENT OUT TO EXPRESS MY LOVE TO ALL OF YOU WHO RISK YOUR LIVES DAILY STRUGGLING OUT HERE ON THE FRONT LINES. We who have watched our young grow too old, too soon. We who have watched our children come home angry and frustrated and seen them grow more bitter, more disillusioned with the passing of each day. And We who have seen the sick, trapped look on the faces of our children when they come to fully realize what it means to be Black in Amerikkka. And we know what deprivation is. How many times have We run out of bus fare, rent money, food money and how many times have our children gone to school in hand-me-down clothes, with holes in their shoes. We know what a hell-hole Amerikkka is. We’re afraid to let our children go out and play. We’re afraid to walk the streets at night. We sisters, We have seen our young, the babies that We brought into this world with such great hopes for, We have seen their bodies bloated and aching from drugs, scarred and deformed by bullet holes. We know what oppression is. We have been abused in every way imaginable. We have been abused economically, politically. We have been abused physically, and We have been abused sexually. And sisters, We have a long and glorious history of struggle on this land/planet. Afrikan women were strong and courageous warriors long before We came to this country in chains. And here in Amerikkka, our sisters have been on the front lines. Sister Harriet Tubman led the underground railroad. And sisters like Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hammer, Sandra Pratt and our Queen Mother Moore have carried it on. Sisters, We have been the backbone of our communities, and We have got to be the backbone of our nation. We have got to build strong family units, based on love and struggle. We don’t have no time to play around.

Assata Shakur~