About OHAN

In the early 1980s, African Americans made up nearly 50 percent of Oakland.

Today, African American’s make up only 26 percent of the population. Oakland’s new popularity has come with a steep price. The change occurring in the city is driving out long-established communities of color that built Oakland's history of community soul, public art, and political resistance over the past century.  Those not driven out have their own story to tell; they have formed the largest tent cities you will find in the United States.

Oakland Here and Now was born with an overwhelming sense of urgency to tell the stories of the city's unique and diverse people before they are gone forever.

Director and photo-historian Bryan Wiley and his crew have committed themselves to boots-on-the-ground research walking the streets, visiting homeless camps, talking to artists and witnessing Oakland’s environment first hand. He has photographed Oakland’s sacred spaces and famous street art and documented unique stories of individuals affected by Oakland’s rapidly changing landscape.

As Oakland neighborhoods have become less affordable, housing resources decreasing and buy-to-leave investors emptying neighborhoods, the city’s most vulnerable residents have been either pushed into homelessness or have moved to more affordable cities. These stories serve as a reminder that while there are many upsides to urban renewal, the negative repercussions of it are incredibly frightening.

We interviewed individuals that are trying to tackle and solve these persistent problems through small and large-scale projects that are attempting to unify communities, build homes for the homeless, or real estate agents that steer clients away from gentrifying certain neighborhoods, etc. Their stories give us hope that all Oakland-ers, regardless of race or class, will be able to remain in this city we love.

We invite you to explore the OHAN project and hope you’ll view the photos and watch the video clips that capture the spaces and people of Oakland, as they are, here and now.

Dena Lynne Shupe, Contributing Writer

OUR CHARACTERS

Gregory - The Builder
Artist, plumber and construction contractor building Tiny Houses for Oakland's Homeless.

La'Donna - The Mother
A young single mom with a gift for rap, struggling to keep her family rooted in the city of Oakland.

Zion I - The Artist
Local entrepreneur, rapper and songwriter sharing his thoughts on the tech growth in Oakland.

LEADERSHIP

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Bryan Wiley - Director / Producer / Photographer

Born in Philadelphia, Bryan grew up in a household filled with music and art. At San Francisco State, he developed an interest in photojournalism. His first renowned project, “In Search of African Continuum; Sacred Ceremonies and Rituals,” focused on sacred ceremonies and rituals rooted in West Africa and spread throughout the Diaspora. His uncanny ability to find his way into the cultural inner circle allows viewers an “up close and personal” look at people in their natural settings.

Bryan also worked as a stills photographer on the feature film documentary, “Crips and Bloods: Made in America.” The compelling story by director Stacy Peralta examines the conditions of devastating gang violence among young African Americans growing up in South Los Angeles.

His work has been featured in Ebony Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Newsweek, Agence France-Presse and was a photo editor at Black Issues In Higher Education and the Children’s Defense Fund magazines. Bryan lived in Oakland for 9 years and mentors youth on the autism spectrum.

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Jason Blalock - Director of Photography

Jason works as a director, producer, cinematographer and editor on a variety of non-fiction and documentary projects. In 2007, he completed the documentary filmmaking program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

As a cinematographer, he filmed documentary series for Al Jazeera, HBO, PBS, TLC, MTV, NatGeo, Discovery, and Vice. He specializes in ‘one man band’ filmmaking, handling both video and audio in run-and-gun situations. His own films focus on unique personal stories captured through observational documentary style. 

In 2017, his documentary In the Wake of Ghost Ship, about America’s eviction crisis, won the Golden Gate prize for Best Short Film at the San Francisco International Film Festival. He lives in Oakland, CA.

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Miguel A. Osorio - Associate Producer / Design Director

A true East Bay creative talent. This visual artist has over 20 years of industry experience working with top agencies and design studios in San Francisco and throughout the East Bay as a graphic designer, video editor, and content producer. Miguel facilitated a TV pilot for Kontent Films which featured George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars as well as serving as the production photographer.

From 2005 to 2007 Miguel was a Senior Designer and the Lead Illustrator of the creative team that rebranded Film Independent, the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Independent Spirit Awards. He worked closely with the Creative Director of RKO Pictures to rebrand the historic film studio and their horror division, the Roseblood Movie Company. He has roots in Oakland as resident and musician for 20 years and currently lives in Richmond, Ca.

 

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Oakland Here and Now Production Stills

 

PRODUCTION STAFF

Contributing Writer - Dena Lynne Shupe
Photo Assistant - Carlos Navarro
Production Assistant - Tearsa Hammock
Project Consultant - Lloyd Francis
Video Transcriber - Kiran Melnyk
Video Transcriber - Ellen Westberg
Web Developer - Miranda Koenig