san francisco Tag

Gardeners of Belonging Exhibition


Fam, I’m honored to tell you that I have been chosen as one of 7 artists to paint and design large 8′ x 8′ pieces honoring other creative, active, and giving folks. My choice? The People’s Kitchen Collective! But why? What? Peep……

Gardeners of Belonging celebrates people who cultivate growth, flourishing, and belonging: like gardeners, they know that this work is both about tending plants and about tending the soil. The seven participating artists each selected a “gardener” from their life and created a portrait while sharing a dialogue about belonging. The art works were created for the 14th @lifeislivingfest in West Oakland and then moved to @ybca as part of the exhibition Brett Cook and Liz Lerman: Reflection and Action.

Featuring: Gardeners x Artists:
-Roberto Bedoya & Brett Cook
-Sister Peace & Erin Yoshi
-Miss Major & Evan Bissell
-People’s Kitchen Collective & Robert Trujillo
-Joan Osato & Nick James
-Jean Melesaine & Vanessa “Agana” Espinoza
-Amalia Mesa-Bains & Johanna Poethig

October 8 Life is Living
Lil Bobby Hutton Park
1651 Adeline St., Oakland CA

October 30th Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
San Francisco, CA

Come check it out! Dig this? Check out Brett Cook

Black Is Beautiful 2021 – Transgender Cultural Center


I’m listening to Alicia Garza’s podcast “Lady Don’t Take No” when she mentioned the Compton Cultural District. Then I found about these three ladies. Janetta Johnson (54)- who is the executive director of an organization called TGIJP or the “Transgender Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project”. Honey Mahogany (35)-An artist, activist, social worker, and candidate for office in SF. And Aria Sa’id (29)-Former program director at St James Infirmary, current founder of Kween Culture, and the executive director of the Transgender Cultural District. 
Each of these women have worked in some capacity as advocates for the Trans community. They came together to help found the Transgender Cultural District which is now the worlds first cultural district in a city that honors transgender people. Its 6 city blocks of the Tenderloin neighborhood located in San Francisco California. And it is one of the places trans people come to when they first enter the city.
The story is, a developer wanted to build a new condo, the community pushed back because it was not lifting up the people who live there currently and it did not preserve the local history such as the Compton Cafeteria riot of 1966 which is one of the first documented times the queer community fought back against police harassment (Stonewall 1969). A coalition of activists fought to preserve the history and got Jane Kim (Dist 6 supervisor) to make it happen at the city level. This cultural district has plans to help Trans folks with tenant rights, jobs, space for arts & culture, historical preservation, and cultural competency. 
Sources:, Forbes, Out Magazine, NPR
Did you catch the ptg of Miss Major?
The last one before this was Wilhelmina Godfrey

Black Is Beautiful 2021- Leola King


Born in 1919 on a Seminole reservation in Oklahoma, Leola grew up in LA immersed in the entertainment business working in theater, film, and partying. In 1946 (around WW2) she moved up to the Bay Area to help her father run a bbq business in Oakland. She started her own bbq business in San Francisco the same year and was hugely successful with Black folks and the many nationalities in SF. However in 1949 the US government created a federal policy called the Urban renewal housing act. Through this they seized Leola’s business; “Oklahoma King” at 1601 Geary street (Japantown today). She regrouped and started a new biz which she named “The Blue Mirror” in 1953 at 935 Fillmore (Blocks from today’s African American Arts & Culture Complex). The venue became one of the destination’s for the historic Fillmore district home to a huge portion of SF’s Black population and a historic home for music and culture. The Mirror had red carpet, elegant furniture, murals, and a stage where many of the best in Jazz and Blues performed and came to hang out. The venue could hold 300 and was said to be packed every night. Leola also had a beautiful mansion 711 Scott st across from Alamo Sq Park and “The Painted Ladies”. Again the redevelopment agency in SF came for her spot and many others in the neighborhood. But again she built herself back up with “The Birdcage” at 1505 Fillmore in 1964. Leola would host people like Lena Horne, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Josephine Baker, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Sam Cooke, The Mills Bros, Dexter Gordon, even Willie Mays and Joe Louis. She was a biz savvy woman who was called the Queen of Fillmore. 
Leola fought tooth and nail with the city of SF who robbed her of several properties, her home, and so much life until she died. The agency would take her property in a pattern that robbed Black entrepreneurs and home owners in the Fillmore district (later dubbed Western Edition). This pattern is noticeable across cities where Black migrated to from the southern US. Somehow in the city of sin which she said was run by gangsters she managed to build monuments that cared for and welcome all people, especially Black folks. 
Sources: SF Public library, KQED Rebel Girls, Harlem of the West (book), SF Bayview 
Did you catch the story about Arlan Hamilton?
The last one before this was Cathy Hughes

415 Day Article – El Tecolote

Photo via @FriscoLens
Man, so good to read this article about the principles of #415Day which just passed here in the Bay. Its a special day where Black and Brown folks from San Francisco (Born and Raised) get together to celebrate pride in the city and the fact that they’re still there! Fighting to survive in a city that has welcomed the world and pushed out the people who made it the city so many want to visit.
If you know anyone who’s recently moved to the Bay Area or are new to SF please share this article with them written with the organizers and published by SF’s own Tecolote newspaper.
Heads up, we have a 510 Day in Oakland too.

My homies are my Heroes – Organizer piece

Yo, so I just exhibited this new painting at the “My Homies are my Heroes” show at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts in San Francisco’s Mission District. If you’re around go see it while it’s up for a month. The show is curated by my Trust Your Struggle Sister in arms Nancy Hernandez and it features artwork inspired by the show’s title. Some of the amazing artists featured in the show are OGs, established artists, and emergin artists such as Yolanda Lopez, Twick, Spie, Thitiwat Phromratanapongse, Crystal Clarity, Vyal One, Marina Perez -Wong, and more. Check out a few photos from the opening, but know there are many more!

Please go check it out. The opening reception was this past friday. Here is the facebook invite and here is the link to the gallery at MCCLA

Cece Carpio – KQED Arts

YES! So juiced to see my sister Cece get featured in KQED Arts as she works so very hard to craft stories and beautiful images of indigenous women and peoples. If you didn’t already know, Cece is one of the members of our crew “Trust Your Struggle Collective” Please watch and follow Cece on Instagram.

BCAF 2019 – Black & Brown Comix and Arts Fest – SF

Hey yall, I’m excited to be attending the BCAF 2019 Fest for the third time and exhibiting as an artist for the first time. Please join me in what is one of the only west coast “Black & Brown Comix” events besides the Latinx Comics Expo and the Oakland Black Comics show. There will be panels by comics creators, a library day for the kids, and an expo where dozens of creators will be selling their books and art. Come find me at the expo!


Here are some videos of past panel discussions:

Kindred Journey 24 – Troop 12

Troop 12 is the first Japanese and Asian American boy scout troop founded in the United States. It is also one of the oldest. It was founded in 1915 through the work of Masunobu Morisuye. The troop was comprised of American born Japanese or Nisei. The group practiced wilderness and outdoor activities such as swimming, camping, etc. They also learned first aid and volunteered in the Japanese community in San Francisco where they were founded. The group was founded because they could not become a part of existing Boy Scout troops or were not welcomed into white troops. They completed all the requirements to become recognized and became a troop anyway though. The group recently celebrated their 100th year anniversary which has seen struggle during the imprisonment of Japanese during World War 2, finding sponsors to keep the group going, and maintaining a club for kids to learn for over 100 years. In addition to all of the outdoor activities and volunteer work the club scouts are often given the chance to travel to other states and the troop has even been to Japan to learn more about their culture. And the hat the trooper wears is in reaction to a member being teased by another troop. When Troop 12 heard about this, they all bought white hats and wore them together in solidarity.

Sources: History of Boy Scout Troop 12 (youtube), Japanese Immigration hearings

You can purchase this original illustration $40 (includes shipping within the U.S.) email

Kindred Journey 21 – Mary “Butchie” Tom

Mary was born in Phoenix Arizona from Chinese immigrant parents. She came from a family who worked in and owned grocery stores in Arizona as many immigrants owned and worked in stores. Frustrated with the racism she experienced in Phoenix and her choices for work she took a bus to China Town in San Francisco. She first started working as a housekeeper cleaning when she got there and around 1940 she heard about a job opportunity to be a dancer in a Chinese owned nightclub to be opened called “Forbidden City” (the first Chinese owned nightclub) after the city of the same name in Beijing. She started out learning to dance using choreography and became one of many prominent dancers in the Chinese nightlife scene which was visited by all types of people during the start of World War 2. Mary married and moved back to Arizona where she continued to dance; square dancing!

: Oral history-Chinese history of Arizona, Classic ladies of color

Dig this? Check out this post about Raveena (Aapi) or Rosie Perez (Boricua)