ayodele nzinga


I create therefore I am. Ayodele Nzinga MFA, Ph.D. is the first Poet Laureate of Oakland and founding producing director of the Lower Bottom Playaz (LBP), Oakland's oldest North American African Theater Company, founded in 1999, Artistic Director of BAMBDFEST, Founding Director of BAMBD, CDC, an actor, playwright, director, and producer. LBP is the only theater company to present August Wilson's Century Cycle in chronological order, and they are the originators of “Shakespeare in the Hood” and the site of Nzinga's “Literacy through the Arts” work. Nzinga has over 20 years of experience as a theater director and community programmer. She has served as a writer in residence, dramaturg in residence, and guest artist in residence. She developed the curriculum used in “Literacy through the Arts,” and has scholarly work published on the importance of art in community spaces. In 2016, Nzinga was recognized by Theater Bay Area as a 40@40 honoree, awarded an Alameda County Arts Leadership Award, and inducted into the Alameda County Women's Hall of Fame for her contribution to the arts in Alameda County. She is The 2017 San Francisco Foundation Helen Crocker Russell Bay Area Community Arts Leadership Awardee. Nzinga is one of the co-founders of the Black Arts Movement Business District, Community Development Corporation and serves as the Artistic Director of BAMBDFEST. She is passionate about the arts as a tool for civic engagement, creative place-making & place-keeping, and engaging marginalized communities in cultural organizing to design their own futures. Her work has been internationally reviewed. Nzinga resides in West Oakland with her family.


  1. BAMBDFEST 2021

    A month-long international multidisciplined cultural festival in August 2021 in celebration of the Black Arts Movement Business District presented by BAMBD C…

    Arts & Culture, Theatre, Literary Arts, Social Justice
  2. Lifer at Large the Glenn Bailey Story

    A book based on the life of Glenn Bailey who spent 52 years incarcerated; 42 for a double homicide he admits to. This is the story of an extraordinary man, a…

    Theatre, Literary Arts

    As a result of the BAMBD, CDC/CCED CBA with Orton Development. BAMBD, CDC is facilitating the formation of a community-based entity to partner with ODI's non…

    Social Justice, Arts & Culture

    SorrrowLand Oracle by Ayodele Nzinga is a compendium of spells, incantations, prayers, and their translations into the event of being Black in modernity whil…

    Literary Arts
  5. YBCA 100

    Announcing the YBCA 100 An annual list that celebrates the everyday heroes—artists, activists, and community leaders—for their extraordinary commitment to…

    Arts & Culture
  6. YBCA 10

    Announcing the YBCA 10 YBCA is launching a new program to center artists as leaders in our organization and our communities. The YBCA 10 is a group of 10 art…

    Arts & Culture, Social Justice

    A Black Women's Creative Collective. Founded 2020 by Ayodele Nzinga & Cat Brooks of the Lower Bottom Playaz, Inc to nurture and resource the work of Black Fe…

    Arts & Culture, Social Justice, Theatre
  8. lower bottom playaz, inc

    Lower Bottom Playaz, is dedicated to the excavation, critical examination, and illumination of the conditions of North American cities and the lived realitie…

    Theatre, Arts & Culture

    Our mission is to advocate, organize, create, develop, implement, foster, and ensure the thriving of BAMBD, Oakland, CA through vigilant organizing, developm…

    Arts & Culture, Social Justice
  10. PATRICE LUMBA (An Anthology of Writers on Black Liberation)

    An Anthology of Writers on Black Liberation

    Literary Arts
  11. The Horse Eaters

    Ayodele clings to a metaphor with the same force that makes diamonds of sand. E. Arnold - Journalist

    Literary Arts
  12. Sorrowland Rebellion (Audio Poetry)

    Black Apes presents WordSlanger- the wickedest mouth in the West with no

    Literary Arts
  13. Community Coalition for Equitable Development

    Community Coalition for Equitable Development, Oakland Founders of the Donor Advised Fund: Community Anti-Displacement Stabilization Fund; housed at The East…

    Social Justice
  14. Incandescent

    This fiery book of poetry, so lovingly crafted, is red-hot in its urgency. It cries out for justice, freedom, and the right to exist and thrive.

    Literary Arts
  15. The Prayers of Heritics

    Beats by High Beats and lyrics by Ayodele Nzinga aka WordSlanger.

    Literary Arts
  16. The SpeakEasy

    An ongoing. discussion and performance space hosted by Ayodele Nzinga, Oakland CA Inaugural Poet Laureate. The format is literary guest, a palate cleanser, w…

    Literary Arts

    A multi-generational Poet Laureate Program offering free workshops, and poetic performances in nontraditional spaces. The program comes to you at no cost for…

    Literary Arts


  1. Theatre

    Acting & Performance, Casting, Directing, Production Management, Writing
  2. Literary Arts

    Performance & Reading, Publishing, Teaching, Writing, Event Organizing
    Autobiography, Biography, Narrative Journalism, Personal Narrative, Memoir, Lyric Essay, Art & Culture, Education, Food & Cooking, History, Personal Development, Philosophy + Thought, Social Justice, Afrofuturism, Drama, Erotica, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Romance, Advice, Criticism & Review, Opinion & Commentary, Promotional, Free Verse Poetry, Lyric Poetry, Narrative Poetry, Prose Poetry, Spoken Word
  3. Social Justice

    Philanthropy, Programs & Services, Research, Social Entrepreneurship, Socialy Engaged Art, Civic Engagement, Education, Fundraising, Policy Advocacy, Subtle Activism
    Corporate Responsibility & Accountability, Economic Justice & Equality, Freedom of Media & Speech, Gender & Sexuality, Peace & Military Disarmament, Intersectionality, Immigration Reform, Racial Justice, Children & Youth, Criminal Justice Reform, Education Reform, Environmental Justice, Fat Liberation, Freedom of Religion, Information & Data Privacy, Healthcare Reform, Senior Citizen Rights, Veterans Rights
  4. Arts & Culture

    Artist Programs, Arts Administration, Arts Education, Community Engagement, Criticism & Review, Cultural Exchange, Talent Management
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