Menhuam Ayele

Listen to Menhuam’s interview!

Originating from the Fillmore in San Francisco, Menhuam arrived in Oakland 38 years ago at the age of four. For the past 34 years Menhuam has lived in West, North, and now East Oakland. Menhuam identifies as coming from biracial parentage: his birth father was black and his mother was white. When he was adopted at age four his new parents were the exact opposite, racially speaking. Menhuam identifies as black and sees his identity and political consciousness as a choice and personal decision. He has strong environmental principles and feels a deep connection to the earth.

Menhuam remembers seeing the Black Panthers walking the streets of Oakland and remembers Huey P. Newton’s funeral at East Oakland’s Allen Temple Baptist Church. These experiences have no doubt contributed to his worldview. As a father of three children, Menhuam cares about humanity and wants his community, especially, to take charge of its destiny.

With a sense of poetry, he speaks of what Oakland means to him: “Oakland represents a jazz orchestra symphony with a deejay and all the things of hip-hop that we love: black culture, definitely, also Latin culture and other cultures; Chinese culture…a mixture, but it’s a beautiful place. I just want to see Black people really put a foothold here.”