An Overflow of Oakland Culture at the Malcolm X Jazz Arts Festival

The Malcolm X Jazz Arts Festival in 2009. (Gabe Meline)

Longtime Bay Area hip-hop fans mourned the passing last December of Pam the Funkstress, the pioneering East Bay DJ who backed both The Coup and, before he died, Prince. A tribute to Pam is just one of the dozens of reasons to head to the Malcolm X Jazz Arts Festival, a huge outdoor celebration of art and music.

Both I and my co-host this week, Ariana Proehl, have been to the festival in years past, and it’s always a great vibe and crowd. Vendors, live painting and graffiti art, a jazz stage, dance stage, poetry stage, DJs are all on the schedule, but you really never know what you'll stumble on there, and that's part of the festival's appeal — the community always turns out for it.

Things we're looking forward to include Bay Area favorite DJ LadyRyan, Oakland-based musical artist Jennifer Johns, poet and activist Tanea Lunsford Lynx, the terrific jazz saxophonist Howard Wiley, the poet and MC Jahi, and of course the tribute to Pam the Funkstress. That’s the Malcolm X Jazz Arts Festival at San Antonio Park in Oakland, on Saturday, May 19 — the festival runs all day and admission is free.

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