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PHOTOS: 'Town Up Tuesday' Showed Oakland's Hip-Hop Culture on Full Display

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Two young Black men on stage
Symba and Young JR perform at the Lake Merritt bandshell on Tuesday, May 17, for 'Town Up Tuesday.' (Pendarvis Harshaw/KQED)

On May 17, the Oakland-based nonprofit Urban Peace Movement held a voter registration event at Lake Merritt called Town Up Tuesday. The four-hour festival had elements of a political rally, a prayer session and a family reunion. But above all, the power of Oakland’s hip-hop culture was on full display.

As a few vendors flanked the grassy hillside that sits adjacent to the landmark Fairyland theme park, attendees sat scattered on the grass while even more stood in front of Lake Merritt’s bandstand. People danced and held up their phones, capturing footage of some of the Bay Area’s most beloved musicians.

The highly energetic artist from East Oakland, Kamaiyah, had a headline performance that didn’t disappoint. San Francisco’s Stunnaman02 and Gunna Goes Global big-stepped off the stage and into the audience. Crowd favorite Goapele performed alongside the Grammy-nominated duo Los Rakas. During Symba’s set,  guests Ally Cocaine and Young JR performed. And then Symba debuted his new track “GOAT,” which officially dropped today.

Rappers Two14, Baby Gas, Jwalt, and the duo of Harmoni & Lyric, as well as members of the Turf Feinz dance collective, DJ Kleptic, DJ D Sharp and DJ Fuze all rocked the stage, as Leon “Dnas” Sykes and Rocky Rivera held it down hosting.


At one point during the show, author and community advocate Darryl Reed honored Urban Peace Movement founder Nicole Lee with a floral gift. It was a much-deserved acknowledgement of the work she and her team undertook to make the event happen—as well as the work they do on a daily basis.

All Photos by Pendarvis Harshaw/KQED:

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