OAKLAND — One of the East Bay’s most popular free festivals made its return Saturday as Art + Soul Oakland celebrated its 20th anniversary after taking a pandemic pause.
Shauncy Jackson has memories of visiting Art + Soul as a festival attendee. This year, she made her debut as a vendor.
It’s called Oakland Don’t Play — a business that began as a hobby. She recently opened her first store in the Town.
“Oakland Don’t Play essentially started off as a clothing line, for us to voice basically our stance. There was a lot of things going on with gentrification and discrimination and I wanted to find a way to say something about it,” said owner Jackson.
Jackson said her clothes give people a chance to show their Oakland pride.
“So this is a new drop: “Oakland don’t play we skate.” There’s a big skate population in Oakland, and this is my way of paying homage. Just real Oakland,” she said.
By day, Jackson works as a technical program manager at Salesforce. In her off time, she pours her passion into Oakland Don’t Play.
“It was amazing, literally I only had a couple of opportunities to eat and drink water like nonstop people learning about the company, making purchases,” she said of Saturday’s business.
Thousands turned out in downtown Oakland to browse local goods, enjoy the music, and sample the food and drink.
“My community’s here, my friends are here, the culture is here, the arts are here, everything’s here, why not,” said Vernie Yong of Marin.
People of all ages enjoyed the festivities including Double Dutch and roller skating. KPIX also caught up with rapper Mistah FAB as he strolled the streets of his hometown.
“A lot companies and a lot of businesses suffered, so to see some of these businesses getting a chance to have their products move and watching some of the friends that I know and local vendors get a chance to sell a lot of merchandise that’s amazing,” said FAB. “Nothing like seeing the empowerment of your family and friends through the love.”