Ayodele Nzinga, MFA, PHD

Photo by Shaka Jamal Redmond

I create; therefore, I am.

Biography

Ayodele Nzinga is a multi-talented West Coast based art visionary, who in the tradition of the Black Arts Continuum, uses performance as a method of inter-intra group communication.  Nzinga, also known as “The WordSlanger” has worked with some of the most talented performers in the Bay Area in various capacities to bring life to a long list of creative endeavors.

She is the original Artistic Director of Recovery Theater, and it’s cult classic Marvin X’s  “One Day in the Life,” billed as the longest running African American Theater Production in North America.

Nzinga is the creative driving force of The Lower Bottom Playaz and was the founding director of The Sister Thea Bowman Memorial Theater.  The Sister Thea was built to facilitate Nzinga’s desire to use theater as a form of engagement for the community of West Oakland, has housed Nzinga’s troupe since the theater was founded in 22001. Nzinga continues to focus her artistic practice on underserved audiences in West Oakland CA.

A bright and consistent energy on the cutting edge of the East Bay cultural arts scene Nzinga’s Lower Bottom Playaz sustain themselves by holding annual auditions for new members.  The troupe has been a launching pad for artistic careers and has encouraged members to pursue degrees in the arts.

Nzinga nurtures future performers  with her innovative Summer Theater Day Camp a summer program that offers free artistic training and “first” performance opportunities to local youth from underserved areas.  Nzinga also conducts a series of inter-active arts workshops that are popular on high school and college campuses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Multifaceted Nzinga, acts, directs, writes, lecturers, conducts workshops, teaches acting privately, and performs as a featured spoken word artist in Northern CA.  She is a member of The Black Apes Project, a multi-media company, that specializes in Ed-u-tainment art.  She is the CEO of We Inhale Production and Publishing an independent micropublishing and production company in West Oakland CA.  She has served as the  Literary Artist-in-Residence and Resident Dramaturge for the Prescott-Joseph Center for Community Enhancement.  She has consulted, served residencies, and created programming for various art concerns and schools including The University of California at Berkeley,  Opera Piccola, Asa Academy, St. Martin De Porres School, The Beacon Outlet, The Leo Center, and A.L.I.C.E.

Awards, Recognition, Support

Serpent Source Grantee

California Playwrights Association

Theater Bay Area

City of Oakland Cultural Arts Department

Alameda County Cultural Arts

San Francisco Foundation

New College Writers

Clorox Foundation

The East Bay Foundation

The Mayors Office of Oakland CA

National Endowment for the Arts

Prescott Joseph Center for Community Enhancement

Exhibited:

Oakland Public Library; Photos & Text

Film:

For Brothers Only- Documentary, We Inhale

Call the Village-Docu-Drama, Black Apes Media

Down Here- Music Video, 360 Films

We dying down here- Music Video, Black Apes Media

Freedom- Music Video, Black Apes Media

Discography:

Singles

  • Don’t Call Me – J. Definitely
  • Bigger Picture- Inspire
  • Hood Affair- Playa Righteous
  • Look n the Glass-Playa Righteous
  • WordznBulletz-We Inhale
  • Freedom-Hairdoo
  • Pocket Full of Cowries- Wolf Hawk Jaguar

Compilations

  • Lower Bottom Playaz Hood Mix- Compilation-We Inhale

Albums

  • The SorrowLand Rebellion-Black Apes Music

Published

Environmental Terrorist

Inglis House Anthology

Journal  of African American Poetry

ChickenBones, A Journal

Oakland Tribune

Oakland Local

San Francisco Bay View

Juice

International Conference Of Arts & Humanities