In its year-and-a-half of existence, Oakland's Black Box has emerged as a community-dedicated art gallery that has branched into spoken word and conscious hip-hop events, like the recent "Shame the Devil" record release party. At that show, Refa One's graffiti canvases and memorabilia decorated the front of the gallery. In another room, folks like Zion-I, Aya De Leon, Deuce Eclipse, and Red Guard were bringing a Black Panther-like awareness of social issues to a youngish crowd, utilizing knocking hip-hop beats and clever prose to drive their points home. Perhaps most importantly, these juvenile hip-hoppers maintained a peaceful yet energetic vibe throughout the evening. That night may have represented the clearest indication of what the Black Box's mission is -- to provide a space for the East Bay's art and music community to interact and create something positive. Black Box features weekly open-mike spoken word events, in addition to occasional DJ sessions and live local hip-hop; don't forget to look for the rotating selection of artwork in the gallery.
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