Black Women Are Works Of Art


Mission Statement
We reclaim our image. Beauty, intellect, resilience, creativity, femininity, character, resourcefulness, and power are synonymous with the Black Woman. We reject negative images and stereotypes of us in the mainstream media. We reject our absence in history books as primary contributors to social, political, and economic movements in America and beyond. 

We claim our place in history as undeniable forces of nature, as shapeshifters, as works of art.

What To Expect
Each month, we will introduce a new, living work of art, and tell you a bit about her. We will also give you links for how to find and support what she is doing.

Additionally, you will see stickers, posters, and more around the Bay Area, which are free for your consumption. 

We encourage you to stick the stickers in public places, take pictures with them, post the pictures on social media and hashtag #BlackWomenAreWorksOfArt #DomEmpire

To contact the campaign, please email: domempire@gmail.com

JANUARY | Dom Jones
Dom Jones is a performer of soul, hip-hop, and spoken word. In August 2013, she published her first book of poetry and life affirmations, entitled Boss Patois, which became the 2014 Runner Up in the San Francisco Book Festival. Her debut album, Wingpan, was released in May 2014, to great feedback and acclaim.

Her community work spans from her time on Youth Speaks' youth advisory board and school visit team to her tenure as Alumni Association President of the Bay Area chapter of Year Up.

She is the founder of Dom Empire, and its subsidiary, Dom Jones Music. Dom Empire is a Performance Arts and Lifestyle Media company, purveying products and experiences that reconnect the audience with an elevated sense of self.


THIS WORK OF ART CAN BE FOUND at www.iamdomjones.com

FEBRUARY | Talia Taylor

Talia is an interactive performance artist.

IN HER WORDS:
"I make some of the best art in conversation. The craftsmanship of a heartfelt sentence should never be underrated.

*Photo taken by Fatima Ghatala



THIS WORK OF ART CAN BE FOUND at www.soundcloud.com/eyekneeduhname

MARCH | Darice Jones
Darice is the Founder and Director of non-profit, Griot Soul Films.

Griot Soul Films is a community based film company dedicated to producing complex literary and historical images of African descendants and providing
community members tools to do the same.

Darice's first feature film "She Wasn't Last Night," has been screened domestically and internationally, and has been well received by the film community.

THIS WORK OF ART CAN BE FOUND at www.griotsoulfilms.org

APRIL | Victoria Massie

Victoria Massie is a native East Coaster who has been writing since she can remember, but began performing poetry in front of others in April 2012. Thus far she been featured at various open mic and theatre performances in the Bay Area. More recently she competed as a member of UC Berkeley CalSlam team at the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI), winning an award for “Funniest Poem” with fellow poet Brandon Melendez.

Growing up, artistic expression was like breathing. She taught herself how to play her first instrument at four, and has thus far conquered clarinet, saxophone, and various mallet percussion instruments by participating in symphonic band, marching band, jazz band and winter drum line in high school. As an undergrad at the University of Rochester, she ventured into the Balinese percussion ensemble at the Eastman School of Music, and West African drumming while studying abroad at the University of Ghana at Legon. 

But beyond beats and melodies, she spends most of her time getting paid to think. Her current focus is cracking the coded ways transnational politics become entangled in genetic information from the U.S. to West African countries including Cameroon and Sierra Leone as a graduate student in the Ph.D. program in Sociocultural Anthropology at UC Berkeley with a designated emphasis in Science & Technology Studies. Her research has received funding from the National Science Foundation and UC Berkeley Center for African Studies.

Otherwise, she puts philosophy to a flow through prose. Her words can make you laugh just as easily as they can give you a one-two punch in the gut, but regardless she forever aspires to excavate emotion and think into the depths of possibility. She is currently putting together her first chapbook “She: A Be-coming” available at the end of April 2014.

THIS WORK OF ART CAN BE FOUND at www.vmmichelle.com

MAY | RyanNicole
When the word music comes to the mind of thoughtful emcee/spoken word artist RyanNicole, it conjures memories of Panasonic headphones too big to fit her ears and vinyl records strewn across the living room floor of her childhood home in Oakland, CA. Raised on a healthy diet of diverse music ranging from Parliament to Flora Purim, Pat Metheny to Queen Latifah, RyanNicole’s approach to music is reverent to say the least.

Feeling and filling a void for voices like hers, RyanNicole uses her experiences in leadership to craft a decadent narrative of self-reliance and accountability. The scholarship Track & Field athlete, pre-law graduate, former host of Hot Water Cornbread's weekly open mic: Mouth Off, and former Executive Director of Youth Movement Records, humbly professes simple solutions to rampant ignorance in head-nodable morsels.

The latest mixtape, entitled “Dis’onance: Vol. 1” audibly and metaphorically explores the concept of discord through a pop-culture lens [dissonance (n.) - lack of harmony between persons or things], and bears witness to the eerie attraction we all have to disharmony. Her current project "Nexus", with partner in rhyme, K.E.V. is an unabashed dedication to the souls of black folks. In 2011, RyanNicole and K.E.V. (aka Nu Dekades), kept it busy performing and releasing two EPs to high acclaim; "The Jaunt"and "ERAgance".

RyanNicole has opened for a wide array of artists and persons of influence, most notably President Barack Obama...enough said.

Currently, Ryan is basking in the newness of motherhood, performing with Nu Dekades, and preparing for her role as Ruth in the classic play "A Raisin in the Sun" opening May 21st

Artist | Activist | Actress | Athlete, THIS WORK OF ART CAN BE FOUND on Facebook, Reverbnation, and Twitter.

JUNE | Angelique Estella
Angelique Estella is a multifaceted poet, singer, and model who is relatively new to the scene, but making moves nonetheless. Growing up with the smooth sounds of her multicultural background, the arts are in her blood line. She has graced stages from the South Bay, where she resides to the East Bay, where she frequents. Angelique writes a healthy lifestyle segment on Blood, Sweat, Tears and Ink as well as hosts a brand new open mic in the South Bay by the name of Creative Flow. Creative Flow takes place every 1st and 3rd Friday at 225 Jackson St San Jose, CA. Doors open at 8pm and performances begin at 9pm. 

THIS WORK OF ART CAN BE FOUND on Instagram and Facebook.

JULY | Naima Pepper by way of Juliana "Jewels" Smith
Naima Pepper is a student at Ronald Reagan University, a self proclaimed radical black feminist, but has a white mama. Desperate to follow in the footsteps of Angela Davis, her (s)hero, she reads constantly and imagines herself giving speeches on political soapboxes all over the world. So obsessed with the social movements of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, she wears her “Ally” shirt in memory of Malcolm X and the speech he gave about slave abolitionist John Brown. Naima continues to deal daily with the contradictions of her own life in various ways—lashing out in Tourette Syndrome-like rants about gentrification, racism, and apathy. Both she and her fraternal twin brother Miles Pepper grew up in a mostly White and Asian neighborhood. *Photo Credit: Ronald R. Nelson*

Juliana “Jewels” Smith is a cultural worker, educator, writer and organizer. She earned her B.A. in Sociology from UC Riverside and M.A. in Ethnic Studies at UC San Diego. As an educator in community colleges Smith decided she could reach more of her students through an unorthodox medium, a comic book. She created (H)afrocentric as a way to challenge students and readers alike about the presumptions around race, class, gender and sexuality through character dialogue. Her practice focuses on the links between racial justice, gender equity, and political literacy; using creativity to facilitate dialogue.

In 2009, she helped co-found the first chapter of Red Bike and Green in Oakland, CA, a grassroots Black urban cycling organization that focuses on the key elements of environment, economics, and health in the Black community. Her experience organizing around cycling led Smith to found the first ever Clitoral Mass, a mass women's (and women identified) bike ride, in Oakland, CA in 2013.

LEARN MORE ABOUT BOTH AT www.hafrocentric.com!

AUGUST | Antique
Oakland Indie Award and Oaktown Music Festival nominee Antique is an Oakland based independent singer/songwriter. Antique builds beats live on stage using only her voice and a looper, sometimes even a beat machine. She is also lead singer of an all-vocal beat-boxing band called Antique Naked Soul with renown beat-boxer Tommy “Soulati” Shepherd and two singers. When they step out on the stage they take you on a journey through time wearing 1950's pin up clothing, channeling classic hip-hop through beat-boxing and they may throw in a doo-wop song reminiscent of street corner a cappella. ANS has shared the stage with Yasiin Bey fka. Mos Def, Pete Escovedo, ?uestlove, Les Nubians, Lady, Talib Kweli and Blackalicious to name a few. ANS released their debut self-titled album in October of 2013 which has received great reviews thus far. It has been featured on several blogs including Oakland Local, Oakland North, Oaktown Indie Mayhem, Kurofone Crew (Japan), SF Gate, 3200 Stories, Fusicology and the Z-List. Follow Antique and Antique Naked Soul at facebook/antiquemusic, @antiquenaked and youtube/tvantique.

THIS WORK OF ART CAN BE FOUND AT antique.bandcamp.com 

 SEPTEMBER | Ijeoma Eboh

KlassyKinks.com founder and editor, Ijeoma Eboh, is on a mission to change perceptions of kinky textured hair around the world. Born in Nigeria but growing up in the United States, she remembers being coaxed to sit a little while longer while the relaxer “took” by repeating the mantra “beauty is pain.” After a 15 year relationship with relaxers, Ijeoma decided to grow out her thin, shoulder length wisps of hair simply to see what her God-given hair looked and felt like. She started making YouTube videos shortly after her big chop as a way to chronicle her journey; little did she know that she would come to be a source of knowledge and inspiration for her family, peers, and other women around the world willing to embrace their kinks, naps, and afros. A graduate of Harvard University, Ijeoma is now pursuing a doctoral degree in History and Ethics of Public Health at Columbia University and works as a health educator.

THIS WORK OF ART CAN BE FOUND AT KlassyKinks.com

 OCTOBER | Joy Elan
Joy Elan is an author of two poetry books; Signs of Life: Past, Present, and Future and her new book, Silence Is Not Always Golden: A Poetic Revolution. She is from Oakland and Berkeley, CA. She received her undergraduate degree in African American Studies at UC Berkeley and her graduate degree in Education at Stanford University. She recently won third place in Oakland's Got Talent in June for her spoken word piece, I'm A Survivor. She is currently working with urban youth and raising her daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area.

THIS WORK OF ART CAN BE FOUND AT
www.facebook.com/authorjoyelan


NOVEMBER | Kirya Traber
Kirya Traber is a cultural worker, a nationally awarded writer and performer, a Black queer woman, a high femme, and an Oakland girl with a Brooklyn address. Born and raised in northern California, Kirya relocated to New York in 2011 where she is the current Artist Fellow at Lincoln Center Education. She received her MFA in Acting from the New School for Drama. Kirya is the recipient of the California Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, Robert Redford's Sundance foundation award for Activism in the Arts, Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s Certificate of Recognition, an Astrea Lesbian Writers Fund award for Poetry, and is a former judge for the LAMDA Literary awards in LGBT Drama. Kirya is an alumnus of the 2010 VONA/Voices retreat for writers of color, and the 2012 EmergeNYC intensive at the Hemispheric Institute, and is a 2014 Space Grantee at Brooklyn Arts Exchange. Kirya has toured the United States and Canada as a poet and solo performance artist, and her written work can be found in the pages of, Other Tongues, an anthology by Inana Press, and in her 2009 chapbook, black chick. She has worked as an arts educator with youth and adults, in school and community based settings, and within the juvenile justice system.

THIS WORK OF ART CAN BE FOUND AT www.kiryatraber.com 

DECEMBER | Zakiya Harris
Zakiya Harris is a Changemaker, working at the intersections of entrepreneurship, education & creative transformation. Zakiya is a co-founder of nationally recognized projects Impact Hub Oakland, Grind for the Green, Hack The Hood, Earthseed Consulting, and a Fellow of Green For All and Bold Food.


As a programming strategist for Impact Hub Oakland, she facilitates support and scholarships to mission driven entrepreneurs dedicated to accelerating possibilities for a better world. She is also the Chief Education Officer of Hack the Hood, a technology program for low income youth of color and winner of the 2014 Google Impact Challenge. 

Zakiya was recently appointed Director of the Bay Area Hive Learning Network, a regional laboratory that brings together educators, technologists and mentors to design innovative, connected educational experiences for youth. In addition, she is retained as a consultant by a diverse set of leaders managing programs where culturally relevant education and cross sector collaboration are seen as assets.

Zakiya’s fourteen years of experience in arts and equal access movements includes a combination of management, teaching and presenting at Green Festivals, TedxDenver Education, Global Exchange and the Youth Leadership Institute, Toyota Motors, Inc., the US Department of Agriculture, the US Department of State Bureau of Cultural & Educational Affairs and the NAACP National Convention. She served as the first African-American Regional Director of the San Francisco Green Festival, received the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights Future Leaders award. She also recently accepted the Tutorpedia Foundation Award for Personalizing Education.

Zakiya holds a B.A. in Political Science and History from Rutgers University, and attended New College of Law before leaving to pursue her lifelong passion of teaching. Applying her performance arts talents as a dancer, vocalist and actor, Zakiya has taught culturally and creatively-driven classes to elementary, high school, college students and adults.

THIS WORK OF ART CAN BE FOUND AT www.zakiyaharris.com 

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