Thursday, December 8, 2016

Primus, Tune-Yards, Hieroglyphics, and More to Play 'Oakland United' Fire Benefit at Fox Theater

by Nick Miller
Thu, Dec 8, 2016 at 6:10 PM

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Tickets go on sale tomorrow, Friday, December 9, for Oakland United, a special benefit concert for Ghost Ship fire victims, which will be held next week at the Fox Theater.

The show will be an evening of music and stories, and will feature Bay Area musicians, journalists, and artists.

The lineup so far includes: "Boots Riley (The Coup), Christopher Willits, Dan Deacon, Gabe Meline (KQED) Geographer, Hieroglyphics, Jay Som, Josette Melchor (Gray Area), Primus, Rogue Wave, Sam Lefebvre (East Bay Express), Sidecar Tommy (Beats Antique), Thao Nguyen, tUnE-yArDs, and Tycho.

Again, tickets are on sale tomorrow at noon, and Another Planet Entertainment is waiving all service charges. And 100 percent of the proceeds from the tickets will go to the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts Ghost Ship fire-relief fund.

Learn more here, or donate now to the victims here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Oakland rapper Elujay releases video for “Flagrant” featuring YMTK

by Eda Yu
Tue, Nov 8, 2016 at 2:53 PM

With Jentrify, Elujay sought to create a feel-good album that nonetheless addressed pressing issues. - ANDRE MALIIK
  • Andre Maliik
  • With Jentrify, Elujay sought to create a feel-good album that nonetheless addressed pressing issues.
Elujay, the Oakland rapper who’s taken the music world by storm with recent release Jentrify, just dropped a video for “Flagrant,” a popular track off the album featuring another Oakland musician YMTK. Teeming with playful, youthful energy, the video features the two musicians as they battle for the affection of a romantic interest through a casual game of hoops.

Carefree vibes shine through the soulful, upbeat track, as the duo dance, rap, and joke around like good friends. Elujay’s wide grin and YMTK’s teasing attitude create the video’s vibrant energy, an easygoing feeling enhanced by the warm, daytime sun. Even though the Oakland rapper ultimately loses the pick-up game, Elujay still wins in the end: He walks away with his arm around his girl, throwing the ball back at YMTK, who shakes his head as he gets left alone on the court.

Watch the video here.


Friday, November 4, 2016

This Weekend's Top Six Events

November 4, 5 & 6

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Nov 4, 2016 at 12:07 PM

It may not be Halloween anymore, but there are still a million reasons to go out this weekend. Here's six:

Quiet Riot. - COURTESY INTERFACE
  • Courtesy Interface
  • Quiet Riot.
Art + Craft Beer Fest At Interface Gallery
Temescal Alley is a go-to for many Oaklanders seeking a barbershop cut or fancy cactus, but perhaps fewer are familiar with the very consistent curating at the alley’s resident gallery, Interface. For the uninitiated, Interface’s outdoor Art + Craft Beer Fest this Saturday will be a prime chance for art lovers and rookies alike to appreciate the work that Interface showcases — and get buzzed. The event will feature four local breweries, including Temescal Brewing Company and Federation Brewing Company, and the outdoor environs of Temescal Alley will be host to a temporary group art show featuring local artists Lisa Rybovich Crallè, Laurie Reid, Megan Reed, Manuel Angeja, Kari Marboe, David Mohr, Emily Wick, and Elizabeth Russell. This will also be a great opportunity to see the show currently on view inside Interface Gallery, by Oakland artist Lana Williams. The exhibition, titled Quiet Riot, is a series of bold, colorful paintings and photographs cut and pasted into irregular shapes, sometimes not even fitting within their designated frames. For $20, attendees get a 6 oz commemorative tasting glass and tickets for eight tastings. Or, pay $3 per individual taste. All the proceeds go toward supporting Interface Gallery’s future programming. — Seung lee
Saturday, November 5, 2-5 pm, $3-20. 486 49th St., Oakland. InterfaceArtGallery.com


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Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Oakland A's Twitter War with Smashmouth Actually Happened

by Nick Miller
Sat, Oct 29, 2016 at 2:18 PM

It's since been deleted, but there really was a post-World Series Twitter feud between the Oakland Athletics' official account and '90s pop-rock hitmakers Smashmouth last night.

It began after Cleveland beat the Chicago Cubs in game three of the Series, with the only run of the night coming from a Coco Crisp RBI.

San Francisco Chronicle sports writer John Shea Tweeted about how far Crisp had come this year, from feuding with A's management to winning playoff games.

And that's when Smashmouth, who got its start in nearby San Jose, started talking trash:
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To which the official A's account promptly shot back:

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And so began the A's-Smashmouth Twitter Brawl of 2016:

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Quickly, A's relief pitcher Sean Doolittle jumped in to drop some kumbaya:

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But his interjection was just fuel on the fire:

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Admittedly, that's some real talk from the straight from the Smash's mouth.

But official A's Twitter also kept it 100:

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BOOM!

At this point, The Smash tried to de-escalate the feud.

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But A's official didn't let up:

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DAMN!

(Note that it is now midnight.)

At this point, Smash was running out of material:

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And A's fans on Twitter were in disbelief:

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And then, as quickly as the Twitter war kicked off, it was over. Until this morning, when A's official deleted the evidence and posted an apology:


To which fans responded:

Smashmouth has yet to reply to the A's offer.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

In Case You Missed It: Fantastic Negrito’s stunning short film for “In the Pines (Oakland)”

Directed by Rashidi Natara Harper, the film is a gorgeous meditation on gun violence.

by Eda Yu
Tue, Oct 25, 2016 at 5:13 PM

Oakland native Xavier Dphrepaulezz, better known by his stage name Fantastic Negrito, made significant waves with his LP, The Last Days of Oakland, released earlier this year. His sound — a mixture of jazzy, electric-guitar-infused blues and angry punk edge — shared the spotlight with his eloquent lyricism as he carried listeners through his perspectives on love, class, and the city he calls home.

Late this past September, Dphrepaulezz released a video for a track off the album, “In the Pines (Oakland)”, a popular cover of a traditional Appalachian folk song from the 19th century. The nine-minute montage — directed by Rashidi Natara Harper — reads more like a short film, as it touches on the heartbreaking issue of gun violence. Dphrepaulezz has imparted that he intended for the video to serve as an offering to the women who’ve tragically lost loved ones to gun violence — something he’s encountered in his own family firsthand.

“I really wanted to change some of the lyrics so that they would pertain to women who bury their babies, their children, because my mom buried my brother, whom we lost to gun violence at fourteen,” Dphrepaulezz says, in the video’s opening scene. The black-and-white shot create a somber setting as the musician stands beside a maternal figure.

“And I just ... I always promised to him, I said ... I’ll never … ” he continues before trailing off, overcome with emotion. The spoken words act as a recurring motif throughout the video, scoring different scenes in which other mothers share their poignant stories of sons and children who fell victim to fatal shootings. 

 If you haven't seen it yet, watch the short film below.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Five Memorable Rants from Kanye West's Concert Last Night In Oakland

by Nick Miller
Sun, Oct 23, 2016 at 11:07 AM

Kanye West took a seat on his "floating" stage to ramble about why he's not crazy, one of many self-aggrandizing Yeezus homilies during his Oracle Arena gig last night. - NICK MILLER
  • Nick Miller
  • Kanye West took a seat on his "floating" stage to ramble about why he's not crazy, one of many self-aggrandizing Yeezus homilies during his Oracle Arena gig last night.

Kanye West's part road show, part therapy session made the first of two stops in Oakland at Oracle Arena last night. And the performance — a nearly-two-hour rundown of hits old and new, peppered with several lengthy rant-soliloquies by the contentious rapper — probably satisfied only the most rabid, wide-eyed Kanye adorers. 

This tour, in support of West's recent The Life of Pablo record, featured a minimalist production design: For the entire set, West stood alone atop a "floating" stage, which hovered over a moshing, photo-snapping crowd. He was anchored to the stage by a bungee rope, which connected to his upper back, and was lit only by dim bronze light, so it was difficult to catch a glimpse of his face during most of the night. 

At one point, West told the crowd that his previous tours were stellar shows, but that they weren't profitable, because of the elaborate production. He didn't go so far as to call this latest tour on-the-cheap, but he referred to it as his "most profitable" one.

The setlist featured hits old and new — from "Famous" and "Jesus Walks" and "Black Skinhead" and "Flashing Lights" — which were often abridged or interrupted by a prodding West. 

For instance, Yeezy stopped five times in the middle of "Famous" to complain and egg-on the crowd, reminding the nearly-sold out Oracle that they were about to witness a "legendary moment in concert-going history."

It wasn't. In fact, after more than ninety minutes, this writer left early to beat the ride-hauling surge.
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But there were still golden-nugget moments during the meat of West's set. Here are the five most memorable things that tumbled out of Kanye's pie-hole last night in Oakland:

1. West whined at length about the Grammy's, calling it rigged. The rant was not unlike a Donald Trump stump speech, and he even promised to boycott next year's event if Frank Ocean's Blonde doesn't rake in Grammy hardware. "If that album isn't nominated ... I ain't showing up to the Grammies," he promised.

2. Kanye stopped the show many times during the night to criticize the media for labeling him crazy and, specifically, a New York Post Page Six story this week on how Jay-Z thinks Kanye is a "nut job."

"I'm not crazy, I'm brave," West assured the crowd at one point, to cheers. "I'm gonna let the cat out of the bag right now: I'm not crazy. I'm absolutely a fucking genius."

3. Crazy talk persisted later in the night: "I'm sick of this 'Ye is crazy' shit. A crazy person cant do all this, bro. .... A crazy person cant make this floating stage."

4. Ye also dinged "the media" for amplifying this screws-loose narrative. He even called us out directly: "To the media, I'm one of y'all!

"Stop writing negative shit about me and help me help people."

5. After a while, the show devolved into what felt like a lower-division lecture hall experience, with West seated on the edge of the stage, feet dangling over a crowd aiming smartphones at him, while he  spewed his dubious cultural insight. The most memorable quote of the night? There were many, but "We were brought over here as slaves, and Lincoln turned us into unpaid interns or some shit" stands out.

In the end, West came across as the Trump of rap: unscripted, unhinged, probably broke — so perhaps it's fitting that Kanye's promised to run for president in 2020.

Kanye West performs at Oracle Arena again tonight.

Friday, October 21, 2016

This Weekend's Top Five Events

October 21, 22, & 23

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 10:18 AM

See you there!

The Seshen - BERT JOHNSON/FILE
  • Bert Johnson/File
  • The Seshen
The Seshen At UC Theatre
People have said The Seshen resembles a United Nations meeting because the seven-piece East Bay band is about as diverse as a small group of people can get. The ensemble, led by a husband-wife duo composed of vocalist Lalin St. Juste and bassist Aki Ehara, layers soulful vocals with psychedelic electronics and a rich tapestry of jazzy pop instrumentation. Their live shows are not only impressive because of the band members’ musical prowess, they’re also high-energy and incredibly fun to dance to. Following the success of last year’s kaleidoscopic album Unravel, last week, the band released their latest album, Flames and Figures. Its new project sees the band deepening its exploration of electronic instruments and dance beats. Catch them live at the UC Theatre on October 22 with Bells Atlas and ANML (formerly Lila Rose) as they tour to promote the new LP. — Nastia Voynovskaya
Sat., Oct. 22, 7 p.m. UC Theatre (2036 University Ave., Berkeley). $25. TheUCTheatre.org


TRICKY
  • Tricky
Tricky and Rituals of Mine At the Independent
UK producer Tricky is one of those versatile visionaries whose work always tip-toes between pop accessibility and experimentation. The trip-hop pioneer got started in the early Nineties making dark, pared down beats and recruiting various vocalists to execute his vision — though his own whispery, chilling voice is a staple in his work. He’s worked with legends like Björk, Grace Jones, and Massive Attack, and his solo work is always collaborative in spirit. Tricky is currently touring to promote his latest album, Skilled Mechanics. And he recruited Rituals of Mine — formerly known as Sister Crayon — to join him on tour. The duo makes minimal electronic music with gorgeous, acrobatic vocals, and will be sharing the stage with Tricky on October 23 and 24 at The Independent in San Francisco. — N.V.
Sun. and Mon., Oct. 23 and 24, 8 p.m. The Independent (628 Divisadero St., San Francisco). $30. TheIndependentSF.com

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Pop-Up Dinner with Chef Marcus Samuelsson and People’s Kitchen Collective
For five years now, the Oakland-based People’s Kitchen Collective has been bringing people together with its food justice-oriented events — from its Black Panthers-inspired free breakfasts to its sliding-scale community dinners, which allow folks of all budgets to enjoy a restaurant-caliber, family-style meal. In keeping with that community-oriented theme, the collective is hosting this pop-up at West Oakland’s Alena Studios (2725 Magnolia St.) in collaboration with the celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson. The family-style menu will feature recipes from Samuelsson’s new book The Red Rooster Cookbook, which is based on the food the chef serves at Red Rooster, his nouveau soul-food restaurant in Harlem. A limited number of tickets are available via Brown Paper Tickets. — Luke Tsai
Fri., Oct. 21, 7–9 p.m., $50, PeoplesKitchenCollective.com


COURTESY BAMFEST
  • Courtesy BAMFest
Check out the 2016 Bay Area Mural Festival
This week, the Bay Area Mural Festival (or BAMFest) is taking over the Oakland and Berkeley border, in the neighborhood around the intersection of Alcatraz and Martin Luther King Junior Way. The festival pairs seasoned muralists with groups of “at risk youth” for workshops that culminate with the painting of twelve murals in the area. Participating muralists and groups include Dignidad Rebelde, Cece Carpio and Priya, Dan Fontes, the Community Rejuvination Project, Vogue of TDK, and many others. The murals will be unveiled on Sunday, October 23 at a celebration featuring live hip-hop, cumbia, and Latin jazz, dancing by Mix’d Ingrdnts dance crew, food, and a community paint station. The event will take place at Youth Spirit Artworks (1740 Alcatraz Ave., Berkeley) from 1–5 p.m., and a bike tour will depart from there to view all the new murals in the neighborhood. For a more educational experience of the festival, you can also attend a lecture and Q&A featuring Precita Eyes’ Susan Cervantes and Art Forces’ Susan Green at La Peña Cultural Center on October 21 at 7 p.m. — Sarah Burke
$5–$10 sliding scale donation. BAMFest.org


COURTESY FREEDOM THEATRE
  • Courtesy Freedom Theatre
Palestine in Focus At La Peña Cultural Center
The Freedom Theatre is a creative community in the Northern part of the West Bank. With the goal of empowering Palestinian women and youth, the organization offers drama workshops and theatre performances, as well as training in stage management, photography, filmmaking, and creative writing. Its initiatives include Voices magazine, a publication produced in Jenin Refugee Camp, Jenin city, and surrounding villages. On Sunday, October 23, artists from The Freedom Theatre will be at La Peña Cultural Center (3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley) to present Palestine in Focus, a multimedia exhibition that includes oral narratives, photographs, and film clips about life in the West Bank. Admission is $15, but for a higher donation, attendees can buy soup for five Freedom Theatre students, a Freedom Theatre T-shirt, or a signed print from the exhibition. — S.B.
Sun., Oct. 23, 6:30 p.m. $15–$100. LaPena.org


If your pockets are feelin' light and you're still yearning for more suggestions, we've got a ton, and these ones are all FREE! We're Hungry: Got any East Bay news, events, video, or miscellany we should know about? Feed us at Sarah.Burke@EastBayExpress.com.

Yeezus is Coming to Oakland: Two Shows at Oracle this Weekend

by Nick Miller
Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 9:09 AM

Kanye West floats above the audience on his St. Pablo-mobile. - KENNY SUN/FLICKR
  • Kenny Sun/Flickr
  • Kanye West floats above the audience on his St. Pablo-mobile.

Kanye West takes over Oracle this Saturday and Sunday, back-to-back nights for his St. Pablo tour. And this got me thinking about a funny experience I had once with Ye's security guard.

It was April 2008. West was in Sacramento. What the hell was Kanye doing in Sac? Touring, of course. But a friend informed that he was also holed up in a secret (and awesome) local recording studio, laying down vocals for what would become 808s & Heartbreak.

I never get to play paparazzi, so I immediately headed over and posted up out front the studio with a camera.

Here's what I wrote back in 2008:
After about an hour of loitering streetside eavesdropping to Kanye rap about Bobby and Whitney and breaking up with chicks, a black Escalade finally rolled up. A man in street clothes hopped out and said, “Hey, you‘re going to have to leave because there are no photo-ops here.”

“I don‘t need a photo-op. I just need a photograph,” I replied.

“That‘s not going to happen, because you won‘t even get that lens cap off,” he threatened. (I already had my lens cap off.)
After this, the studio owner — basically the nicest dude in Sac — asked me to leave, so I scrammed.

I also remember that day because, later at the show, Kanye came out an yelled "What's up, Seattle?"

A few months after my run-in with West's bodyguard, Ye and his entourage assaulted a photographer at LAX:


So, yeah, be sure to check Kanye this week3end — and if I don't survive to see Monday ... now you know.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Dozen Don’t-Miss Black Panther Party 50th Anniversary Events

Learn more at BBP50th.org.

by Nick Miller
Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 2:22 PM

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The theme of the Black Panther Party’s golden anniversary is “Where do we go from here?” That’s of course the big question — but, this week, there are a wealth of BBP events, rallies, concerts, seminars, lectures, galas, and more that celebrate today and now. Frankly, there’s so much going on that it’s over-whelming — and awesome. Here’s a look at a dozen don’t-miss events:

Black Panther Party 50th Anniversary Commemoration & Conference at various locations
The official BBP50 event is a four-day, multi-location conference featuring more than 35 events. Highlights include … well, so many lectures and seminars: a tech summit, a look at the Panthers and popular music, the FBI and the Party, film screenings and more. Only $35 for a three-day pass. Learn more at BBP50th.com.

Black Panther Party 50th Year Rally & Concert at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
Gina Madrid and Saturu “James Mott” Ned (who the Express interviewed on page 17) will host this free concert near City Hall. The lineup is chock-full of major league performances: members of Digital Underground and Hieroglyphics, plus speakers including Mistah Fab, Cat Brooks and more. Free. Saturday, October 22. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. BBP50th.com.

Liberation Theology: The Black Panther Party and The Church at the Oakland Museum of California
A look at what the Panther programs and Christian gospel had in common, featuring Rev. M. Gayle Dickson, who the Express interviewed on page 16. Part of the three-day Black Panther 50th Anniversary conference and workshops, $35 for all three day. Saturday, October 22. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 1000 Oak St., Oakland. BBP50th.com.

Celebration Gala Dinner at the Oakland Museum of California
Actor and activist Danny Glover will be the keynote at this special gala, in addition to speeches from the likes of director Ryan Coogler and master of ceremonies Davey D. $100. Saturday, October 22. 7 to 11 p.m. 1000 Oak St., Oakland. BBP50th.com.

All Power to the People teachers workshop at Oakland Museum of California
This session is custom-tailored for educators that want to learn more about the special exhibit at OMCA. Free, RSVP at MuseumCA.org. Friday, October 28. 4 to 6 p.m. 1000 Oak St., Oakland.

The Point is... 2.0 at Joyce Gordon Gallery
Works by seminal illustrator and original minister of culture for the Black Panthers, Emory Douglas, along with the Oakland Maroons Art Collective: Tarika Lewis, Akinsanya Kambon, Ducho Dennis, Duane Deterville, Rage Souljah, Chris Herod, and Refa One. A panel discussion featuring the Oakland Maroons Art Collective is October 27. Free. October 7–29. 406 14th St., Oakland. JoyceGordonGallery.com.

ICONIC: Black Panther at American Steel Studios
More than forty artists from the Bay Area and beyond, honoring Panther icons. Free. October 7–November 6. 1960 Mandela Parkway, Oakland. SepiaCollective.com.

Survival Pending Revolution: Black Panther Party 50 and Comrade Sister at Omi Gallery
Rare ephemera from the collection of Oakland-based archivist Lisbet Tellefsen, including never-before-seen photographs, original prints, posters, and newspapers promoting the Panthers’ Community Survival Programs. Free. October 7–January 7. 2323 Broadway, Oakland. Oakland.ImpactHub.net.

50 Years Later: The Art Show at SoleSpace
A youth-driven show featuring both fashion and visual art. Free. 1714 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Solespace.com.

All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50 at Oakland Museum
Read Sarah Burke’s review. Free–$15.95. October 8–February 12. 1000 Oak St., Oakland. MuseumCA.org.

Power to the People: The World of the Black Panthers at UC Berkeley
This fall, the corridors of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism will be hung with photographs by Stephen Shames, a former UC Berkeley student who served as one of the most trusted photographers for the Black Panther Party. On October 19, both Seale and Shames will be present for a book signing and presentation in Cal’s Northgate Hall. Free. October 19–January 5. North Gate Hall, UC Berkeley. Journlism.Berkeley.edu.

Revolutionary Grain: Celebrating the Spirit of the Black Panthers at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland
Suzun Lucia Lamaina will be at the reception on October 22 to give an artist talk and signs the book version of her project. Meanwhile, at the Oakland Library’s main branch, see Revolution is a Daily Struggle: Remembering the Black Panther Party’s Social Program, which shows how Panthers fulfilled social needs. Free. October 22–February 28. 659 14th St., Oakland. OaklandLibrary.org. 

And a bonus event:

Black Panthers, Pop Art, and 1960s California in the Films of Antonello Branca at UC Berkeley
Find out more here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Mistah F.A.B. Reflects on the Black Panther Party's Fiftieth Anniversary and Today's Fight for Justice

A revealing Q&A with the hyphy icon and philanthropist.

by Nastia Voynovskaya
Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 5:10 PM

Mistah F.A.B. - BERT JOHNSON
  • Bert Johnson
  • Mistah F.A.B.

He's known nationally as a Bay Area hip-hop legend. But in Oakland, Mistah F.A.B. is simultaneously a local icon and an accessible, ordinary citizen (well, almost) working for positive change — in the trenches too, not from some ivory tower.  

For the past ten years, he's spearheaded dozens of grassroots initiatives— including backpack and school-supply drives for local kids, Thanksgiving turkey giveaways, domestic violence prevention initiatives, and basketball tournaments that promote ending gun violence.
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While he's widely regarded as a pioneering figure of the hyphy movement, many people don't realize that F.A.B. is also a political thinker who uses his position of influence to fight for justice.

From October 20 to 23, Oakland is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Black Panther Party with a city-wide conference and gala under the theme "Where Do We Go From Here?" And F.A.B. is a featured speaker at the Power to the People rally and concert on Saturday, October 22, at Frank Ogawa Plaza. The free event has plenty of musical guests to look forward to, such as local legends Dru Down and Tajai and up-and-coming feminist rapper Alia Sharrief. And F.A.B. and other activists such as Cat Brooks and Qubilah Shabazz will be dropping knowledge, as well.

I caught up with Mistah F.A.B. on a recent afternoon at his shop, Dope Era, to chat about what social justice-minded young people can learn from the Black Panthers' legacy. 

See more:
Oakland Rap Legend Mistah F.A.B. Moves Past His Hyphy Legacy and Makes a Different, Lasting Impact on his Hometown
Former Black Panther Newspaper Staffers Discuss Social and Racial Justice
The Oakland Museum of California's Homage to the Black Panther Party

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