Co-Founders: Tommy Soulati Shepherd & Kaitlin McGaw
Tommy Soulati Shepherd (he/him/they) is an internationally renowned actor, playwright, composer, educator, rapper, drummer, beatboxer and music producer. Tommy (aka Emcee Soulati) is co-founder of the live hip hop collective, Felonious, a resident company at Intersection for the Arts. Shepherd is also a long-time member of the performance group Campo Santo and Oakland's own Antique Naked Soul. Shepherd has performed and toured internationally with Marc Bamuthi Joseph, collaborating on Scourge, the break/s, Spoken World and red, black and Green: a blues. Tommy won a 2018 Isadora Duncan Award for his composition work. Look for him on stage with his son, Lil’ Tommy as they spark joy and justice through hip hop.
A Harvard University Graduate in Afro-American Studies, Kaitlin McGaw (she/her) is a leader in the Bay Area arts education and social justice community as well as an award-winning songwriter (John Lennon Songwriting Contest, Parents' Choice Awards). McGaw is a featured speaker and trainer at conferences on arts and social justice. Prior to Alphabet Rockers, Kaitlin created programming for The Recording Academy, served as Vice President for West Coast Songwriters, and was a writer for Electronic Musician. Find her touring nationally on stages from the Kennedy Center to Lollapalooza or singing “Change the World” to her toddler and newborn between recording sessions at Zoo Labs in Oakland.
Youth Rockers: Lillian Ellis, Kali de Jesus, Tommy Shepherd III & Maya Fleming
"We may be small, but we have a voice," claims vocalist and activist Lillian Ellis (she/her) when interviewed about their work as artists and activists in Alphabet Rockers. These 6th and 7th grade artists (Kali de Jesus (he/him), Tommy T3PO Shepherd (he/him) and Maya Fleming (she/her)) have had experiences unlike their classmates, from performing on GRAMMY-nominated albums, touring the country with the Rockers, and writing and recording in the band's West Oakland studio, Zoo Labs after school. While the music has inspired them to be loud and proud of who they are, they have inspired change in peers, children and adults alike. Their latest impact was seen in Washington D.C. with their work with The Butterfly Effect (led by Ellis and 11 year old Kaia Marbin), where they put 15,000 origami butterflies on display to represent the migrant children impacted by family separation and detention. The youth sang "Until You're Free" in the wake of press conferences with the Speaker of the House and representatives. This is not just the future, this is the now - young voices changing the course of history through arts and activism.
Roza Do, DJ (she/her)
Samara Atkins, Choreographer (her/she)
Arayah Fleming, Dancer (she/her)
Malik Mays, Artist (he/she/they)
Aris Wong, Artist (they/them)
RyanNicole, Artist (she/her)
Wonway Posibul, DJ (he/him)
Marjorie Ortiz, Dancer and Co-Host of Rock the Block (she/her)
Ren Salgado, DJ (he/him)
Gendell Hing-Hernandez, Teaching Artist (he/him)
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