For the people. I don’t want to take up too much of your time, so bump the grammatically correct prose rules for the moment. Can I just write?
Attending the 2014 Oakland Music Festival was a emotional roller coaster ride for me, but oh so beautiful. It is a day I won’t forget. I literally cried when I came home after the festivities were over not because I was sad, but overwhelmed with gratefulness. Maybe it was the contact smoke or the sultry fumes of vendor food in the air or simply just sheer excitement and hype from the music festival.
I came to San Francisco four years ago. The timeline from then to now, I can’t begin to explain, but in short I had a hunger to be a part of the creative culture in the Bay Area and around the likes of those who were doing what I aspired to do. Which brings me here. The morning of setting up Shop Maater at OMF with Malidoma Collective. Working with my family to get everything looking and flowing right in the shop, just had me reflecting on how and when I crossed paths with them. It’s really cool how life weaves things together. The fabric of our lives (inside joke). I’m in awe of all the members of the collective and they might not even know it, but shoot I still get a little nervous around the individuals I don’t get to spend much time with. They are all doing their thing and I admire the confidence they exude from their crafts. Being a part of their journey is really a pleasure and having them as family is a treasure.
By the afternoon and after attempting to establish a swag-o-meter ( you don’t have to get this right now, it is still in the works) I was really in my feelings. Somebody call Drake. Shop Maater was looking so good. People were slidin’ through. Jams were playing and the taco bike man rolled up then posted on the sidewalk. I was soaking in the energy of all the faces I was seeing through the lens of my camera. I was like dang I remember when I first met you. I remember when I first saw you perform. You never give anything less than all you’ve got. I remember the knowledge you dropped on me. I remember when I was too scared to speak to you because “you” in my eyes were amazing so I took a picture instead. And then commented below your Instagram so you knew it was real. All jokes aside, majority of you have played a major role in shaping me whether it's my craft or just being a better me. You inspire me. I’ve seen most of you grow and evolve as artists. Be a bomb mom and transcend all the can nots of society. Create and collaborate with one another. Fall and get up or should I say fall and hover? Even if you have smiled at me, I am sure you changed my life that day.
It is an honor to be among so many creatives. Not even just creatives but loving, cool dope, off the swag-o- meter spirits in the Bay Area.
Y’all are all beautiful and so is Jesse Boykins III.
And did I mention SZA? Yes, the freckles were there and in all its glory for those who wanted to know.
How remarkable they were and humbling. Kudos and much love to them.
My night ended with instant film shots with me standing by Jesse’s side and me blinking in the one with SZA. By the way she said she loved my hair. (I’m too embarrassed to post the instants, so now you know why its not up and I don’t like being in photos. How ironic.) But all that aside, my roll dawg for the festival was bomb mom Kate Dash and she captured those instants for me. Also, side eye to the funny security card who stopped me every time I entered the all access section in front of the stage because he just wanted to mess with me, but he is good peoples. Me grabbing a bacon cheeseburger slider even though I didn’t I have meal ticket. Shout out to the lady who let me have it because I already put my fingers on the burger. Shout out to myself for asking a couple of people if I could photograph them because I get nervous in scenarios like those. I even asked the stylish lady on the Bart on my way home. High five to Sasha Kelley because she has been my encouraging spirit since day one and cheers to the new faces and hyphy vibes from that whole day. I know I didn’t win a Grammy or anything, but I appreciate you hanging in there with me and reading my shout outs, making it to the bottom and what not. You will have to excuse me though while I make some tea because I lost my voice my last night, not that has to do with anything with me typing... but I’m out. Holllaaaa
Written by Sakiko Hill
Photography by Sasha Kelley + Sakiko Hill