Arika, Aiyana, and Emmanuel

Check out Arika, Aiyana, and Emmanuel’s interview below!


These three friends have a passion for music, art, a better Oakland, and a better world.

Aiyana Pernell is the self-proclaimed hippie: smart, fun, and loving. She is a strong-willed, stand-up type of woman who does what she feels as long as her actions don’t hurt anybody in a negative way. Ms. Aiyana knows the importance of support and how positive influence can turn someone’s situation and outlook from gloom to hope. She wants her life to be one focused on positively influencing people through love and faith.

Arika Gaston is an outgoing, kind, and caring person, and she is very supportive of her friends and loved ones. Ms. Arika has a strong belief in God and believes that her faith in God has always guided her and helped her to become the woman she is today. She has experienced firsthand the detrimental impacts of gentrification family and community. She has seen how gentrification seems to bring about the loss of a community’s originality and familiarity. But she says she has been blessed, and as she plants roots in Oakland, she continues to enjoy the beauty of the city in its many different forms, including art, music, and social gatherings.

Last but not least is Emmanuel McCowan, III, a.k.a. Preacher. Emmanuel was given that nickname by his peers because he is always giving people advice about doing the right thing, despite the situation. Mr. Emmanuel is an Oakland native who grew up fast but has always looked for opportunities to grow mentally and spiritually. Preacher has a strong belief in the power of unity, black love, power, and freedom of expression through music.