A few more photos of the beautiful people who attended Jessica Sabogal’s “Better Than Perfect” show and the Daughters of Dilla Exhibit @ the Betti Ono Gallery in Oakland on March 1st. See more at All photos by Tamara Orozco (DOD/BRL).

Please join Betti Ono and DOD as we continue celebrating Women’s History Month on March 22nd with “MY ART, MY CULTURE: 2013 WOMEN, MEDIA & HIP HOP SERIES.

For tickets and more info: FB event page: Follow: • #myartmyculture

QUEENDOM event recap set to Sweet Sounds by Aisha Fukushima

We caught the final hours of this night of fly women media hip hop art and dance- all very special to us!

DJ’d by Zita & Pam the Funkstress
Hostess- Aima The Dreamer
Live Performances- CocoPeila, Mix’d Ingrdnts, FluidGirl, Aisha Fukushima, Queens D Light, B'Girls, Ladies United, Shy'an G

get to know!

As Development Boom Bubbles, Oakland’s Arts Scene Increasingly Troubled

As Development Boom Bubbles, Oakland’s Arts Scene Increasingly Troubled

Community members discuss art at an Oakland Creative Neighborhoods Coalition meeting Last January, when Mayor Schaff proudly preened in a Burning Man-style art car during her inauguration, hopes were high that art would become a priority. After all, Oakland’s much-ballyhooed cultural renaissance had brought national and even international attention to the city, completely remaking an image once…

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:3rd cult hand-drawn appliqués made from Ghanaian and Indian textiles on a hand dyed cotton tee. 

::3rd Cult is Inspired by both ancient images and contemporary style, 3rd Cult is the lovely by-product of centuries of cultural dispersions. This brand is about celebration, unification, love, and pride. We are the past, and we are the future.

Very limited edition, while quantities last. 

Get yours at Betti Ono – Oakland


Word To Your Motherland was FABULOUS. Not only were the art and music and the crowd amazing, but I also met one of the organizers of Bay Area Solidarity Summer (a five day camp in August for South Asian American youth centered around civic participation and social justice that I am so totally psyched for and hey it’s your lucky day, they have a few spots left so apply now!) and then I’m pretty sure I accidentally stepped on the shoe of another … oops >< The Betti Ono gallery (on Telegraph Ave in Oakland) will have the artwork on display through this month so definitely check it out if you’re in the area! Also stop by Fat Cat Cafe, a few minutes down from Betti Ono towards 16th St. – best sandwiches ever.

Art by Nisha K. Sembi of Kalakari Collective, live performances by Mandeep Sethi, Hoodini, Baagi, and others!

Photos from Tracy!


East Bay Express exclusive:

To celebrate the fourth anniversary of Betti Ono, gallery director Anyka Barber decided to reflect on the past by looking forward. For Amen, Oakland artists Amaryllis De Jesus Moleski and khoLi partnered to create a show that depicts an idealized present by envisioning it as a future history, with a focus on the inclusion of marginalized, queer people of color. Together, the artists ask “How will queer communities of color be remembered in the future?” We sat down with them in the gallery to learn about how their work attempts to answer that question through artistic determination.

See it here.


So, most of you who follow me on Instagram know that I had the supreme privilege of speaking on a panel with 4 other incredibly bad ass Bay Area cultural workers this past Saturday, October 18, 2014. We were given 5 minutes to talk about our work. Which was amazing … but most of you who know me also know I could go on about my work for much longer than 5 minutes … SO … I decided to post my talk here for you!

Feel free to share it with anyone else who might be interested!

Meditations on Digging 1 (5 Minute Panel Presentation) / 10.18.14

Good afternoon. I’m khoLi. I’m a goal Digger.

In fact, I like to think of myself as a goal digger turned dream catcher.

For those of you who are assuming that means I don’t have a real job, you are absolutely right. I don’t have a “real” job, but I have worked really hard pursuing several specific goals to ensure I get to live out several of my dreams on a daily basis …

So, here’s, the basic rundown .. because as a writer, I’m clearly obligated to pretend like I despise the pretentious professional part of this five minutes.

On May 17, 2015, I will officially receive my Ph.D. in English literature from Rutgers University. I’m SUPER grateful for the time I’ve spent in this program because, for the last 7 years, it’s given me the time to study the literary futurists that I love PLUS it’s given me the time … not much of it … but still, the stability of time … to do a LOT of PR and brand development, event planning and marketing, styling, writing … a lot of helping others with their writing …

The point is, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity and the will to do what I love. I literally get to do what I want … what moves me, what comes to me in dreams, what appears as new opportunity in random conversations …

Because I’m that girl. I’m the girl that has grown up wanting to do it all … and wholeheartedly believing that it’s my right to do so.

A little bit of backstory

Growing up as a black girl in Winston Salem, NC, my parents had very little income, and I was constantly being reminded that I should buy into the uncertainty of others when it came to my future.

(I should pause here to say that this uncertainty most definitely did not come from my parents, if you ask them, I’ve invented … pretty much everything and I’m just out here in California trying to invent more.)

But the fear came from some of my teachers, guidance counselors, church members … and the manifestation of this fear almost always came in the form of incredibly ill-fitting advice pushing me to take the safe/easy/secure way out … basically, I was instructed to do what everyone else knew, and never to do what they feared.

But anyone who has known me long term knows that I’m wary of the idea of security … I honestly believe it to be a complete farce in a lot of ways.

Early on, I decided safe decisions weren’t meant for me. I was constantly taking risks, constantly needing to know the answer for myself rather than receiving it from someone else, and this meant CONSTANTLY having to pretend like I knew the future, like I knew everything worked out in my favor … if not in the moment, in the end.

And in my work, the end is what matters. Over and over and over again.

Indulge me in an excuse to show you unnecessarily gorgeous pictures of nature.

I’d say that my vision of the future is like most of our visions of the horizon.

The thing about the horizon is that visually and conceptually, it tests our belief … mostly in our own capacity to trust and understand. It takes what the eye can see, what we trust we know, and pushes us to follow it on a path of simultaneous hope and despair.

Looking at any horizon, we’re all super fascinated by a hope of and a hope for what can be; yet, even the best of us can become troubled by the truth that despite our believing - in whatever it is we’re believing in - we still can’t see it.

So in viewing the horizon our minds begin an oscillation. But the ironic function of that constant fluctuation, when interrogated, reveals itself to be that despite all the movement, we’re actually frozen. We’re changing, yes. We’re moving back between two positions. However, the finite nature of the movement reveals even further that our change, in this manner, does not equal progress.

So all of this, is really just my incredibly long way of explaining to you that the desire to do more than change – the desire to expand and move further into new, innovative possibilities – is what guides my work.

Absolutely everything I do is rooted in public opinion. So whether it’s my students, my clients, my readers … in order to know in the end, that I have done my job well … I have to do 2 things:
–I have to get intimately acquainted with my own opinion first, so that I can know what I believe … and then
– I have to push myself past the hope and despair of the horizon so that I might serve as a witness, so that others can know that it’s ok to believe … whatever they believe.

I do this work the way that I do it because I want to see more of it beyond the horizon. The thing about getting intimately acquainted with yourself is that once you do, you start to understand that you don’t need the approval to know. I believe that the future I imagine exists regardless of whether anyone else does.

But I’m also thrilled when I find others that approve, others that get it. And I show this gratitude by continuing the work with unwavering optimism. Because the future is definitely going to need our joy. Thank you.