Shayla Jamerson, also known as ShaylaBang is an entrepreneur, event curator, and all around bad ass. She has been doing some amazing things for Oakland over the past two years and has no plans on stopping. Shayla will be taking over the site all month-long and will be sharing her story, her goals, and her inspirations. Join us for part one of the ShaylaBang Takeover.
Oakland native ShaylaBang is a modern-day Black Panther, hence the Black Panther inspired photoshoot, shot by Yooo Kayla. Everything she does through her collective SoOakland helps empower and inspire the Oakland community. From peaceful gatherings of like-minded people, to charity basketball games and toy drives, Shayla thrives to support and uplift her home town.
“The purpose of SoOakland is to change the perspective of the Black and Brown community in Oakland and the Bay Area one event at a time. Our community is always hit the hardest with stereotypes that hinder us from evolving. The space is created to unify and bridge our communities together and highlight the positive attributes that we posses. [I want to embrace] all walks of life. Black professionals, the hipsters, the dudes from the block , the LGBTQ community and much more.”
She was inspired to create SoOakland when she started to feel a disconnect between Oakland natives and their home. The recent influx of new residents accompanied with Oakland’s gentrification issue is slowly causing the erasure of Oakland’s culture. She was also tired of the media’s portrayal of urban Oakland.
“Everything was about how violent Oakland was – nothing about the positive attributes coming from the urban communities. I felt like it was my responsibility to highlight the positives [by creating] a safe space that showcased us as a community without watering down who we are. A space that allowed us to break stereotypes and put our guards down. A space that allowed us to showcase our talents and support each other’s businesses.”
It has now been 2 years since the start of SoOakland! She was always open to where SoOakland would be at this point as long as she made the community feel safe, loved, and secure. She is super appreciative of how far she has come, and how receptive and involved Oakland has been with her movement.
“I’m passionate about everything I do and 2 years is only the beginning. [In 5 years] I see myself in full Boss Mode running SoOakland and my Store with a solid team. By this point SoOakland will be a huge festival that represents the real culture!”
One quote that she lives by is “If it doesn’t make you cry, it isn’t your passion.” She came up with this quote herself while trying to find her passion. “I chased so many things thinking it was my purpose in life, but there is a different feeling when it is your passion. When it is your passion you live, breathe, eat it and all you want is to win from it because it is what sets your soul on fire.”
Running a business can definitely get hectic. To center herself Shayla usually hikes and finds quiet spaces with her dog Benji. She also prays and works to take everything one day at a time.
“I don’t know how I do it but [in the mornings] I wake up tired and energized all at the same time because I am doing everything I want to do. When you are doing something you love you always find extra energy. Sleep later as they say.”
For all up and coming entrepreneurs, Shayla’s major piece of advice is to remain consistent. Things may get hard and frustrating, and their will be times that you’ll want to give up. She encourages you to remember that not everyone will love what you do, so instead you should pay attention to the ones that do. Remember why it is that you started in the first place.
Her last HP event of the year is set for September 9th. This event is INVITE ONLY and is called ” Roll Call.” The purpose of this event is for the Bay to represent where they are from as well as people who are transplants. “The Bay is a melting pot from people all over. SoOakland is not about keeping people out it’s about allowing people to experience real Oakland culture and embracing who we are without changing it.” She’s encouraging attendees to wear something that shows where they are from. She is also working on a Women’s Expo which will happen before the year ends, as well as an Adult Prom which is set for November. “Amongst all these events I will always make sure I have my time to give back to the community, always!”
And last but not least, shout outs!
“I appreciate and want to shout out all the genuine support I receive from people. Every DM, every word of encouragement, every hug and every conversation. I love all of you guys. As well as my assistants Tiffany, Shateria, Geena, and Kirsten and my Big brother Mentor Trevel, who is an amazing business man and the owner of Oakland’s Very Own Tavern and Eatery in Oakland”
If you want to volunteer with SoOakland you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to keep up with all things SoOakland + Shayla, and stay tuned for the rest of Shayla’s Nook and Kranny takeover!