Musician, singer, songwriter, and producer, are just a few words that describe the many hats Lauren Adams wears throughout the day. A self-taught musician since the age of 9, Lauren began to perfect her craft years later while attending and graduating from Hampton University with her BS in Music. She is now the Minister of music at The Way in Berkeley and a member of the Hip-Hop, Jazz, & Soul collective, SOL Development. She has 6 years of experience in teaching at K-6 schools and she is currently the Music and Theatre Director at Roses in Concrete Community School in East Oakland, California.
George “WuKong” began his dance career in Taipei, Taiwan. In addition to his work at UC Berkeley where he received a Bachelor’s of Art focused on Art and Social Change, he has traveled to countries including Cambodia, Burma, and Brazil to work with non-profit performance art organizations and dancers from around the world. As a current member of world renowned Hip Hop collective, Circle of Fire, as well as Bay Area based Hip-Hop Theater company, Embodiment Project, he has judged, taught, performed, and battled internationally. Wukong’s dance background includes Breakin' (break-dancing), Capoeira, House, and Freestyle Hip Hop. He is currently an arts educator as well as professional performance artist. He believes that the Arts and Culture are essential in bringing about positive social change.
Matthew Craig Fisherkeller
Fish (Matthew Craig Fisherkeller) is a multi-instrumentalist born and raised in San Francisco's East Bay. His breadth of experience in education, instruments and styles is what makes him unique. From his Masters in Music Composition, his technical proficiency with drum set, percussion, piano/synthesizer, guitar, trumpet, and unique vocal style to his experience in a variety of groups from jazz, orchestra, indie, rock, experimental, and pop. His main project, Bad Camper, will make its debut in 2018 in the electro-indie pop genre.
Nicole Gervacio is an interdisciplinary artist based in Oakland, California - occupied Huichin. She received her BFA from California College of the Arts in 2011 and has collaborated with organizations including Her Resilience, People of Coloring, and Urban x Indigenous. In 2016, she became involved in the grassroots freedom school Liberation Spring and co-founded the collaborative cultural production collective We Rise, both continue to deepen and support her work as an artist and activist. Nicole is open to all methods and mediums available to express a concept, from visual work to movement, video to written word. She is inspired by the body, memory, destruction and deterioration, and permanence versus impermanence. As an educator, Nicole sees her position in the classroom as that of a collaborator. She offers guidance, support, as well as space for young artists as they explore mediums for self expression and self discovery.
KenShay Gooden has seriously played guitar since he was 9 years old. at 20 years of age music has always been an important part of his life. Growing up in a musical family it was natural that He gravitated to instruments such as the drums, bass, guitar and the piano. Kenshay's main instruments are guitar and electric/acoustic bass. His grandfather taught Kenshay the basics of guitar when he was 9 and from then he taught himself. He spent plenty of time listening to music and watching his favorite artists on Youtube. starting off as a blues and rock guitarist, as time went by kenshay branched off and learned to love all styles of music such as gospel, R&B, jazz, hip hop and classical. In his 4 years of high school kenshay studied at Oakland School for the Arts where He sharpened his technique and theory.
Outside of Roses Community School Kenshay mainly play bass for Kev Choice and Sol Development. In the past, he's also accompanied other great artist such as Pete Escovedo, Kehlani, Ise Lyfe and Netta Brielle to name a few. He's attended many local bay area music festivals and Jazz festivals located in New Orleans and New York. Music will always be an important part of Kenshay's life and is glad schools are keeping art programs alive.
Safahri Ra Hendrix
Safahri Ra Hendrix is a hip hop educator, emcee, after school program director, Katrina survivor, and full time Arts Academy Instructor, who over the past 15 years has built a career by teaching, workshops with teachers, taking over schools, innovating after school programs, aiding principals, creating summer camps, presenting in other states, panels, opening up new schools, performing &touring internationally in schools, coaching young artists, and eventually starting his own Hip Hop company which seemed like the natural next step to take…
So now after countless albums, stages, tours, films and presentations, Safahri is launching his life love and dream company Pangea to partner with Arts Academy, Hip Hop Education Center, and Roses in Concrete, back at home base in the Bay Area with the support of all his family and friends!
Currently Safahri along with Roses and Concrete are working with Zendaya ( who recently rented out a whole movie theatre for their students to see Black Panther ) and the support of Google to bring their Oakland students a whole new set of resources in the Arts and Sciences and are planning major festivals later this year.
Innovative arts-educator and youth advocate with over thirteen years of experience using the arts to foster expressions of intelligent, articulate, mindful visionaries.
Amani Jade is a multi-faceted creator born in San Francisco, CA. As a child she loved to dance and competed throughout school. Since then she has branched out into writing poetry, original music, and exploring anything creative available to her. She’s worked as a long-time after school teacher, a mindfulness instructor, and has done community building through political education with elementary, middle and high school aged students. She’s inspired by first time freestylers, cyphers of celebration over competition, and the power of healing through creative expression. You may know her as the creator of Sistar Cypher, or Miss Johnson.
Andrea Lamadora has 17 professional years of Fashion Design, Styling, and Theater/Costume design. Born and raised in San Francisco and Oakland, Ms. Lamadora is a highly visible ambassador of fashion in the culturally diverse Bay Area. Known for crafting dramatic, statement-making pieces using a rich palette of bold, bright colors, every look from her collection has a streak of global influence. She has traveled to 32 countries in which she immersed herself into learning their individual cultures, textile history, lifestyle, and created an individual interpretation of mixed cultures, history into designs of self-expression of urban ethnic growth and lifestyles. Andrea's owned 3 successful clothing Boutiques in San Francisco, including House of Mamasan, which she founded with her eldest sister Kila Lamadora in 2001. In 2017, she went onto teaching and creating the first ever Fashion Design and Costuming High School program in the country. She is currently building the first middle school Fashion Arts Program in the country with Roses in Concrete Community School.
Halima M. Mahdee
Born in Richmond, CA., Halima M. Mahdee was raised in an impoverished neighborhood trying to navigate the landscape of drugs and gun violence. Confused by her parent’s different religious beliefs and uncertain how to express herself, she came across as quiet and shy. She had no desire to dance but continued to look for an outlet to express and communicate to the world without speaking. At 12, Halima and her family relocated to Oakland where she attended Castlemont High and was introduced to West African dance by Anisha Rasheed. She found in West African dance, the artistic foundation and motivation to communicate to the world in a way that didn’t require words.
Halima started her new journey as a samba dancer in 2007. She trained vigorously and became one of the best samba dancers and performers in the bay. In 2010, she joined Theo Williams performance group “SambaFunk!”, known as the hottest Afro-Brazilian funk performance groups. A year later she enrolled into the Laney College dance program to pursue an AA degree in performing arts, which pushed her mentally and physically to become the best version of herself. With intense training in Modern, Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Haitian, West African, Dance Production, Dance History, and Composition, Halima began to spread her wings and started choreographing.
Halima was introduced to the Laney College Study Abroad Program in 2014 which consisted of lectures, Afro-Cuban, and Salsa dance training. Cuba was her first taste of real travel. She highly encourages youth and members of the community to obtain their passports and see other parts of the world, to connect the dots of our history and spiritual power. In the spring of 2016. Halima graduated from the dance program, and received her AA degree in dance. This was a joyful and triumphant moment in her life. She is now studying anthropology, and plans to obtain her master’s in cultural anthropology. She plans to use both degree’s to teach culture and dance around the world.
Hailing from Oakland, Ranzel Merritt is always pushing himself to achieve more success in his music career. Looking to perfect his technical abilities and develop his own unique style, Ranzel Merritt draws upon his Oakland roots and lifelong passion for music, philanthropy,and technology! Ranzel has Toured, Performed, & Studied with Artists such as Solange, Kenny Garrett, Roy Hargrove, Bennie Maupin, Frank Foster, Ndugu Chancler, Stevie Wonder, Jamie Foxx, D'Wayne Wiggins, Raphael Saadiq, Patrice Rushen, and Kehlani. Get in touch to learn more about his background, experience, and latest projects on his Instagrams and Websites.
Instagram: @RanzelMerritt @Codingmusic_ @Mprise__
Shams Eugene Monteiro
Shams Eugene Monteiro has been teaching in public schools since 1998. His pedagogy is rooted in counter oppressive practices and radical inclusivity as a means of supporting his student’s journeys towards their own self-realization. Shams received his MFA from UCSD in 2005 and worked in regional theatre, television, and film for 10 years credited as Geno Monteiro. In 2015 he experienced Theatre of the Oppressed (T.O.) under the tutelage of Jiwon Chung at The Starr King School for the Ministry, UC Berkeley. Shams believes that theatre, specifically Theatre of the Oppressed provide practitioners with a “rehearsal space for the(ir) revolution”. Shams is also a certified Bhakti Yoga teacher and integrates mindful practices in to his classroom. He is honored to join this amazing faculty and grateful for the privilege to serve the students and families of Roses in Concrete.
Branch Nautu teaches JingaFit, a new integrative form of body weight exercise program without the need of any equipment. Originally inspired by Capoeira, it combines aspects of dance, martial arts, yoga, Pilates, breakdance and other movement arts where you will explore conversational movements of self-expression. For all ages and levels of fitness, you'll enjoy elements of joyful play, destructive attacks and elusive defenses. Powerful yet continuously playful, you will discover the movement mysteries and push the limitations of your body. JingaFit - "It's not what you got, it's how you move it."
Laila Tov Perez
Laila Tov Perez has been immersed in World and African Diaspora movement and rhythm for almost 20 years. Serving the communities of all ages and ethnic backgrounds, Laila uses rooted Diaspora movements to explain and express not only how our body responds to rhythm but how our bodies can be used a tool for deep universal expression. With an added background in improv, counseling and somatic therapy, Laila incorporates the balance and interplay between freedom and format to create life tools that transcend the classroom atmosphere. "As children we innately use body language as tools to relate to our environment. Without encouragement to honor and continue that language we can easily become encased in our bodies, unable to even relate to ourselves. Arming children (and adults) with a method to find and cultivate that raw truth and express it in a healthy way, can make a world of difference. Creating not just coping mechanisms to value our inner most truths but forging a sustainable avenue to connect with others in a way that doesn't require a sentence." All ages and levels can experience Laila's method of discovery and leave feeling challenged, renewed and inspired to express fully and live musically.
Marcus J Salinas
Marcus J Salinas, also known as Omega, was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and has been labeled a pioneer in the Chicago Hip Hop / Breaking scene. Having over 25 years of experience and 15+ years of teaching Bboy/Bgirl movement, he is recognized by an extensive background of dance competition titles and performances. Omega continues to stay active and relevant to the community as an influential competitor and mentor. Marcus has judged, showcased, and taught workshops at some of the most prestigious competitions nationwide.
Spreading his knowledge of the culture through his movement techniques promotes conditioning of the body and mind for abstract and acrobatic movement for youths and adults.
Dynamics of Breaking - Bboy/Bgirl Movement Instructor -
Raliegh J. Neal, II has 50 YEARS of music exposure, beginning at the age of
4 with his father teaching him the Ukelele. Raliegh attended University of
Virginia and University of Miami Music School which then launched a
career of over 3 decades of playing the piano and sharing the stage of
musical legends like Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana, Robert Daultry, Nile
Rogers, John Mayer, Guru, Be Be Winans and countless others. In 2006
Raliegh joined Michael Franti & Spearhead for a 9 year run
touring worldwide in Brazil, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, Canada, and
throughout the continental U.S.
As a Composer, Raliegh has an eclectic catalog of pieces registered
with ASCAP that are played around the world. Some of his creative efforts
specialize in “youth empowerment” and have appeared on Nickelodeon and
ABC’s Saturday morning children’s programs.
Raliegh also has over12 years experience working with inter-city youth in
the field of Youth Development through the Arts. Hired as the Music
Director for The CityKids Foundation, Raliegh had the opportunity to
cultivate the musical and performance talent of hundreds of youth through
theme based performances touching on themes about teen pregnancy,
racism, culture and relationships.
At present Raliegh is scoring for independent films, providing session work,
and enjoying performing with local Bay Area music talent, as well as his
Steely Dan Cover group, “The Dans of Steel.”
Karma Smart’s passion for dance began in 1996, particularly, dances of the African Diaspora. Soon after beginning the study of West African dance she began to perform at public events. While living in Hawai’i she studied and performed West African, Afro-Brazilian, Congolese, jazz, Haitian and hip-hop dance styles. In Hawai’I she helped form the dance company of Sankofa based on the Big Island with whom she performed at schools, museums, and events on Maui and Oahu and the Big Island while completing a degree in Cultural Anthropology in 2000. In 2002, in order to expand her learning opportunities as a dancer and to attend graduate school, she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. A few months after arriving she was invited to join the long standing Congolese dance company, Fua Dia Congo of which she was a member for three years. After graduating from the California Institute of Integral Studies she was presented with the opportunity to teach West African and Congolese dance while in an internship in Brazil. Currently, and for the last ten years she has consistently focused on studying Afro-Brazilian dance. In addition, in April of 2013 she was asked to collaborate in forming a new Congolese dance company by the young visionary choreographer, Vivien Bassoumina. It is Karma’s life passion to share her experience of personal healing and liberation through music and dance. Karma currently teaches adults, teens and children of all ages dance at various community organizations, dance studios, wellness centers, fitness centers and schools. More specifically she teaches at BrasArte, also known as the World Dance Center in Berkeley. And has recently performed as a company member with Omi Tutu Dance Collective as well as Damasceno Dance Collective and, as a guest artist with Maracatu Pacifico for the annual Cuba Caribe Festival in March of 2017. Karma also enjoys performing in the SF Carnaval Parade and other local celebrations annually. In addition, for the last 5 years she has taught as a guest dance teacher at St. Mary’s College High School as well as taught a variety of movement arts from gymnastics, circus arts, and Kung fu, at various schools and camps. Teaching children movement arts is her passion and inspires her daily.