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  • Writer's pictureBlack Citizen

Black on Both Sides

Black on Both Sides is a multidisciplinary collaboration between Changemakers and Cultural Architects using Black Art to build community power, shift narratives, reimagine urban spaces, and challenge social issues across San Francisco and Oakland. This effort is being powered by Black Citizen and the Ruth Williams/Bayview Opera House.



Black on Both Sides is a multidisciplinary collaboration of changemakers & cultural architects leveraging Black Art to build community power, shift narratives, and reimagine urban spaces in San Francisco and Oakland.

 

What is a cultural architect? An artist or creative that influences and shapes a way of life in a defined geographic space with the intention of preservation, development, or transformation of identities, beliefs, or societal norms.

 

A Changemaker is a leader actively working to challenge existing systems as a means to make impact and transform their community through the tools of advocacy, entrepreneurship, community organizing, or philanthropy.

 

Over the next 6-months we will work collectively to achieve:

  • Better defined social agency and expanded capacity to make impact though executive leadership coaching

  • A platform for thought leadership to expand our network and scale work by producing a cohort-wide published book

  • Increase competency around movement building, system change, and storytelling

  • Creative cultural enrichment aimed to preserve, celebrate, or transform Black lives


We've worked to combine 3 programs from the Ruth Williams Opera House and Black Citizen. Meet the cohort below:

 

Changemakers— we resource and uplift emerging organizers and small non-profits through microgrants, professional leadership coaching, and a series of networking events.


Tayleur Brown-Crenshaw | Gold Beams 



Tayleur is an outgoing, sociable, high-energy Event Director & Producer with a commitment to amplifying the voice of art and culture in ways that meaningfully support the community. Boasting 10+ years of event strategy, fundraising & operations experience via a combination of entrepreneurial, nonprofit & corporate escapades. Comfortable in fast-paced environments requiring a high level of responsibility for evolving priorities. A proven track record of transforming unstructured initiatives and data into strategies for successfully implemented projects.


Black on Both Sides is proud to support Tayleur’s work with Gold Beams, which produces events made for Black creatives and the Black community at large. 


Tirzah Love | Soul Box 



Chef Tirzah Love is a Private Chef and Caterer. Her love of cooking began at the age of nine, but her path to becoming a chef was far from straightforward. Chef Tirzah started her career by creating a simple blog which soon grew into catering requests for wedding receptions, baby showers, and upscale adult birthday celebrations. Through the powers of social media, Chef Tirzah was able to market her business effectively by expressing her passion for healthy, organic and GMO free cuisine. In 2013 Chef Tirzah’s culinary career reached new heights when she was asked to be a Private Chef for select players on the Sacramento Kings. She enjoyed working with the players for five seasons, and educating them on “conscious eating.”


Black on Both Sides is proud to support Soul Box, Chef Tirzah’s Meal Experience Kit company which features non-perishable ingredients, an instructional cooking video, a DJ-curated playlist, and conversation starter cards.


Jasmine McGee | Coco Coalition 



Jasmine, a proud Oakland native, is deeply committed to transforming and enriching community resources. With a background in qualitative research, systems curation, and implementation strategy, she serves as the Chief Operations Officer at Coco Coalition- a non-profit devoted to the holistic well-being of Black women. Jasmine's passion lies at the intersection of data and community impact. This passion is seen through her work with Coco Coalition, her roles as a certified birth doula, a childbirth educator, and beyond. 


Black on Both Sides is proud to support  Coco Coalition Inc., a 501c3 organization, is dedicated to the empowerment and liberation of Black women through holistic offerings that prioritize mental health and overall well-being. Our comprehensive programs, aligned with SAMHSA's 8 dimensions of wellness, aim to enhance the well-being of Black women. We provide an array of offerings including community mental health programs, career development through scholarships, internships, and mentorships, and women’s health support via education and feminine product sponsorships. We are committed to providing safe, inclusive spaces where Black women feel empowered to share experiences, seek support, and freely express themselves. Additionally, we equip and mobilize Black women by imparting resources, skills, and networks essential for catalyzing positive change within their communities.


Taylor Nanz | Solid Grounds




Solid Grounds, founded by social architect Taylor Nanz in Oakland, CA, is an end-to-end curatorial event production company with a mission to cultivate a vibrant ecosystem of Black & Brown creatives, small businesses, artists, and organizers. She specializes in collaborative partnerships and brand marketing, creating intentional and engaging experiences that bridge community and corporate environments. Her dedication lies in fostering authentic connections, psychological safety, and brand affinity among Black & Brown communities.

Solid grounds goes beyond traditional event production. They use their platform to amplify the voices of underrepresented groups on larger stages, initiating conversations that matter. Their events center around crucial topics such as mental health, community, entrepreneurship, integrated wellness, and more, contributing to the cultural dialogue. Born out of a passion for Coffeehouses, which serve as foundations for social gatherings across cultures, Solid Grounds recreates this atmosphere, utilizing coffee as a conduit to meaningful connections. 


Black on Both Sides is proud to support Solid Grounds which aims to break systemic barriers to social and economic opportunities, creating a space where genuine dialogue and collaboration thrive. Join them as they build a community rooted in culture, connection, and positive change.



Sloane Noel-Johnson | Artivist 



Sloane was born, raised, and proudly resides in East Oakland. An artivist to her core, she describes her work as “mixed-medium displays of artivism, resistance, power and love”—including 3D pieces and 2D graphics that help inspire and energize social justice activities. Sloane grew up door-knocking and community organizing, and has been doing faith-based community organizing since 2009, with a specialty in integrated voter engagement and youth leadership development. Amplifying and honoring the voices of African American youth and youth of color are common threads in the tapestry of Sloane’s powerful creations, activism and point of view. She’s been an active community organizer on the front lines: from GOTV and legislative efforts to organizing and marching around the country against state violence and for Black lives, healthcare, undocumented citizens’ rights, peace in Gaza and more. She merges her art and her activism to help create the world she wishes to see.


Black Arts Grant—offers financial support to event producers, cultural workers, and creatives to produce events and performances that celebrate and amplify Black arts and culture in Bayview Hunters Point and Potrero Hill neighborhoods.


Biko Eisen-Martin




Born and raised in San Francisco, Biko was immersed in art and radicalism by a single mother who empowered him to use his voice, his body and art to not only overcome struggle, but to uplift others. As a youth Biko performed poetry nationally with Youth Speaks including the Youth Against War conference in Bosnia. At Brown University Biko earned a BA in Africana studies and a Masters in Teaching. After teaching history at Berkeley High and performing locally in the Bay Area, Biko went back to school and earned an MFA at the National Theatre Conservatory. Biko has performed Off-Broadway, the top regional theaters as well as on TV and Film.


Biko is also a self taught painter whose work has been published in anthologies, printed on postcards, featured in films as well. Biko also has a mural in the world famous Clarion Alley in San Francisco. 


Black on Both Sides is proud to support: Biko’s upcoming play, 3rd and Palou, that details the lives and experiences of the Bayview community in 1966. 


Carmena Woodward



Carmena Woodward aka DJ Red Corvette from San Francisco, CA, is a DJ, Music Director, and one half of the brilliant minds behind Women Sound Off.  With a 10-year journey as a top-tier DJ, she's rocked at many festivals, nightclubs, and branded events, leaving her mark across Cali and NYC's hottest spots. From spinning for top-tier artists like Rayana Jay + Zyah Bell and curating DSP playlists with Tidal, Apple, and Spotify to dazzling the likes of Springhill, Will Packard Media, YouTube, and most recently Essence Festival of Culture - Essence Stage, Red Corvette's music direction game is pure fire, a true multi-format DJ with real-time troubleshooting skills. Red thrives in the chaotic environments of the DJ world. Trust me, you're in for an unforgettable musical experience with Red Corvette at the helm.


Black on Both Sides is proud to support Studio Red’s DJ Groove Lab, an immersive experience tailored to enhance the abilities and professional experiences of aspiring DJs.  


Cory Elliott



Cory Elliott is a man on a path of his own. He is an organizer, activist, teacher, artist, and visionary hailing from Richmond, CA. Raised under the principles of leadership & community activism, he has created and led multiple outlets of change.  His hope is to spread love, prosperity, and a sense of honor not only amongst the Black community, but all communities through community engagement and storytelling.  Cory attended Drew High School where he learned to embrace his leadership skills and the sacrifices necessary to succeed.  As a student at Morehouse College, he witnessed the true definition of brotherhood & discipline. Learning amongst a plethora of Black scholars exposed him to the larger Black Diaspora and the importance of each individual in the larger system. He completed his Political Science degree at Howard University where he studied alongside fellow TBN founders. After graduating from Howard he moved to Brooklyn, NY becoming a school teacher while simultaneously obtaining a Masters Degree in Teaching.  While in New York he started a free tutoring service in Brooklyn. Currently he resides in his childhood home in Richmond, CA and runs various programs for The Black Neighborhood along with a consulting company to properly support non-profits on how to work with communities of color.


Black on Both Sides is proud to support Cory’s upcoming project that will encourage dialogue between youth and elders to foster understanding, belonging, and respect. 


Ronnishia Johnson-Hasan



Ronnishia is one half of The Vegan Hood Chefs,  which she runs with  Rheema Calloway. They specialize in turning many of our soul food and American-style favorites into delicious vegan meals. Their passion for community organizing, creativity, and food has allowed them to launch a food initiative to help fight against food justice and social inequity within the San Francisco community. 


The chefs were motivated by the lack of access to healthy foods within their communities. Growing up in both Lakeview and Bayview Hunter’s Point areas of San Francisco combined with their experience in community organizing, they began to shine light on how their native communities were experiencing food apartheid. General rhetoric often equates these illnesses as being hereditary, however the Vegan Hood Chefs argue that most of these diseases are created through poor dietary choices or lack of access. Their mission is to provide healthy education and healthy vegan food for disenfranchised communities with their culinary work. 


The Vegan Hood Chefs launched in 2017 and have become very popular amongst the vegan community in the Bay Area. Since being founded, they have cooked for a number of organizations along with providing free cooking demos for the San Francisco community. The goal is to teach communities of color that healthy food options can be flavorful and creative.


Black on Both Sides is proud to support Vegan Hood Chefs’ Farm-to-Table Experience, coming Summer 2024.


Artist-in-Residence—fosters Black artists and talent with financial support and a dedicated venue to explore, develop, and produce original events, performances, and programming at the Ruth Williams/Bayview Opera House.


Arthur Gardner Jr. | Dance | Dopey Fresh 



Dopey Fresh is a celebrated dancer and educator born and raised in San Francisco. At a young age, you would always find him street showing in downtown SF but it was when his friend brought him into a dance crew that things changed forever. That dance group was Giggiology, now called UNKNOWN. 


He’s won battles and dance tournaments around North America and collaborated with top acts like Souls of Mischief, E-40, Kanye West, Schoolboy Q, and H.E.R. Dopey Fresh’s most iconic moment was being on YG’s “Big Bank” video where you’ll see him shaking his hair with a smile at the very beginning! Though, his greatest accomplishment was back in his hometown when he was the first Black Turf dancer to be featured on a billboard in SF. 


Over the years, Dopey Fresh has shared his talents by teaching adult classes at City Dance Studio (first Black Turf dance instructor!) and by teaching 1st graders at an all-Black, Oakland after-school program for 4 years under the Ujimaa Foundation. You can find him today throwing dance battles as CEO of UNKNOWN CHAMBERS and with his dance group UNKNOWN. 


Black on Both Sides is proud to support Dopey Fresh’s Men’s Circle which provides a space for open discussions on the unique challenges and experiences related to mental health in the Black community. 


Gunna Goes Global | Music | Therapy in the Ghetto



Gunna Goes Global, an influential artist from San Francisco is emerging as a generational talent, leaving a lasting impact on the Bay Area and the global music scene with his captivating music, cultural trends, and unique style. His ability to blend different musical influences has resulted in a sound that resonates worldwide. Gunna's fearless approach to artistic expression and cultural influence extends beyond music, making him a trendsetter in slang and fashion. His latest release,"Therapy In The Ghetto” breaks the stigma around mental health and provides a relatable space for listeners, while his project "21 Summers" (Deluxe) showcases his gritty and raw-inspired artistry.


Black on Both Sides is proud to support Gunna’s Therapy in the Ghetto, a week of healing activities during Mental Health Awareness Month.


Jessica Garrett | Film | Family Not a Group 



Jess is a passionate, hardworking, self-motivated, creative video creator. She has a vibrant personality that lights up a room, and the technical skills necessary to perform all aspects of a video's production - including camera, lighting, direction, editing, and motion graphics. She is a quick learner. Whether working independently or on a crew, Jess is always fully invested in a project, putting in the time, effort, and talent needed to meet deadlines and creative goals. She is a part of the San Francisco based collective, Family not a Group,  a very large and extremely talented faction of artists, filmmakers, lyricists, singers, DJs and musicians who are coming together, creating moments and memories, and having fun while doing so. 


Black on Both Sides is proud to support Jess’s upcoming documentary, Frisco Renaissance, which highlights San Francisco’s influence on popular culture.



Rhodessa Jones | Theatre | The MEDEA Project



Performer, teacher, director RHODESSA JONES is Co-Artistic Director of the critically acclaimed performance company Cultural Odyssey. She was named Frank H.T. Rhodes Chair at Cornell University (2018-2021). She was appointed as a Rhodes Professor, "To strengthen the undergraduate experience by bringing individuals from every walk of life who represent excellence of achievement to the university." As a Visiting Professor at Dartmouth College, Jones was invited to join August Wilson, Cornel West, Yo-Yo Ma, and Anna Deavere Smith as a “Montgomery Fellow”, fostering “the advancement of the academic realm of the College in ways that will significantly add to the quality and character of the institution.” 


Thanks to Rhodessa Jones, art students from all cultures can flock to universities and learn non-European methods to develop their authentic voices, to give voice to the voiceless, and transform society in the process. 


Black on Both Sides is proud to support Jones’ The Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women, an award-winning performance workshop committed to the personal and social transformation of women, now in its 23rd year. 





 

Funding is provided in part by: SF Dream Keepers Initiative, SF Office of Economic & Workforce Development, Walter & Elise Haas Foundation, and the San Francisco Foundation


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