Achieving Balance

KINFOLKZ. PHOTO BY: PAX AHIMSA GETHEN

KinFolkz on Black Queer Joy and Oakland Pride.

BY ARIA SA’ID

To say that KinFolkz is a Bay Area treasure would be an understatement. The 53-year-old “queerpreneur” and “artivist” has spent more than two decades creating art and empowerment spaces for Queer Oakland and has been an integral part to many of the Queer People of Color celebrations, festivals, and festivities in Oakland today. 

KinFolkz is the CEO/Founder of Spectrum Queer Media, and was most notably 2018 Community Grand Marshall of San Francisco Pride.  

In a brief interview with THE FIGHT Kin Folkz talks about transgender and gender nonconforming elders, jagged journeys leading to liberation and revolutionary acts.

What’s a day in a life as a Queer, Black non-binary entrepreneur?

Being Queer, Black, and gender-non-conforming is my truth and therefore a blessing that I would not trade even if I could. My “artivism” work often places me within the deep crevices of human chaos. Achieving balance – being careful to conserve my energy and maintain healthy boundaries – has been like learning to dance on a rolling penny’s edge. At 53, I have gained some effective tools: I meditate each morning, noon and evening to remain mindful that this jagged journey leads to liberation and that so much of the path has already been traversed by our Ancestors’ + Elders’ fortitude. I love my community and have found that this love is reciprocated. My mindful tending of the daily tension between the world that I imagine and the one that I live in is essential for my evolution. 

“My mindful tending of the daily tension between the world that I imagine and the one that I live in is essential for my evolution.” 

Why is Black Queer Joy important?

Black Queer Joy, our laughter and rejoicing unfettered is a revolutionary act that rebuffs the notion that we are natural vessels for other folks trauma or whims.

What does it mean to be an elder in your community?  

I am still learning what it means for me to be an Elder-In-Training in our community… I know that self-reflection and authenticity are a large part of this process. Having available and knowledgeable Elders to guide one through the experience is not an easy venture. So many of our transgender and gender nonconforming elders are standing in sparse numbers having lost a disproportionate number of our peers to the ravages of discrimination and societal disregard (AIDS, targeted Black Transphobic violence, generational economic disenfranchisement, adoration of youth, etc.) that is endemic of a nation/society/community that devalues the elderly and doesn’t honor Eldership. 

Let’s chat about Oakland Pride – what exciting happenings can Pride goers expect at this year’s celebration?  

The Oakland Pride Creative Arts + Film Fest!  There is a week of Oakland Pride offering hosted by a week of Pride offerings by Kin Folkz/Spectrum Queer Media, including queer comedy, Open Mic, the QTPOC Short Films Exhibit, a ball at Lake Merritt, and of course Oakland Pride on September 8th! 

What are your favorite spaces in the Bay Area? 

The QTPOC Soul Stroll, a Bay-area based QTPOC outdoor fun group with over 275 beach-loving, hiking, peaceful folks.