We Are Oaklandish: Amanni King
What is your relationship with Oakland?
A: I grew up here, so I’m born and raised! I was born in the north, but I grew up in the west. I grew up near Macarthur, but I don’t really know the street names like that.
T: Macarthur goes all the way through Oakland!
A: Ya know, I know where I’m at when I see it! I went to Edna Brewer for middle school and Oakland Tech for High School. Ya know, bulldogs…bulldogs! I did cheer in 11th grade—it was really great. I originally wanted to go to Oakland High, but my mom was like, no. I am grateful that I ended up at Oakland Tech because I made really good friendships. The people I met there are really just amazing.
T: My older sister went to tech! They’re about their fashion there.
A: Yesss, their art school is called FADA (Fashion, Art & Design Academy). My mom wanted me to go there, but that part of campus is up the hill, and I was really lazy at the time, so I was like, nahhhhh I don’t really feel like walking up there. Reflecting on that now, I should’ve gone because I want to be a fashion designer. I should’ve done that to get my skills up!
T: You have time, never too late to get your skills where you want them.
What makes Oakland unique from any other place in the world?
A: Honestly, I think it’s the culture, like we have the history of the hyphy movement and the Black Panthers. I think that makes us standout. Our lingo is different. The way that we dress and the way that we talk, we just understand each other.
How were you introduced to Oaklandish?
A: An old friend of mine used to work here. I walked into Bosk on Bay St. I was looking for a new job and I applied a couple of times! I thought they didn’t want me. I let time pass and applied again and got a response and now I’m here!
What is your favorite Oaklandish design, and/or merch?
A: I wanna say High Siding. I saw that design first and was like, “that’s hella cool”. I really liked the art of the side show, that’s tight.
Oakland is known for its food scene, where is your favorite place to eat in the town?
A: Tacos Mi Rancho by the lake. Their steak fries are really so good! You have to get everything on it! The cilantro, salsa, sour cream, everything—all the fixings. They have good horchata too! We love it!
How has Oakland shaped your idea of community?
A: When everything was happening with George Floyd and the marches during the peak of COVID there was a peaceful gathering in front of Oakland Tech. It was all over social media, and I was amazed how we could all come together for this cause. I think that people think that people from Oakland are violent and that’s not the case. We really love our community.
What is something that must be experienced in Oakland?
A: Juneteenth and First Friday are always fun to go to. You see everyone that comes from all around Oakland, and they just want to have a good time with good vibes. Flea markets are also fun experiences, like Laney flee market. I know they exist in other places, but everything is just different and unique here in Oakland.
Have you ever met any Oakland/Bay Area legends? Who were they?
A: I met Too $hort at the Oakland airport. I was like - what’s up Too Short and he said “heyy” and we just kept it real cool.
If you could give the city of Oakland one thing, what would it be?
A: Honestly, one day I want to create a big shelter for homeless people, unhoused families and those recovering from drug addictions. I want to give them real resources and job/skill training to set them up with more stability for success.
A song that makes you think of Oakland, no matter where you are in the world.
A: “Blow the Whistle,” that’s number one. “Thizzle Dance,” that’s just like automatic. “All Me” by Kehlani and Keyshia Cole because they are two Oakland natives. It’s really a vibe.
Oakland is diverse and Oakland is proud. 'We Are Oaklandish' is a storytelling project created to highlight just that.
These are stories that shed light on the different experiences, memories, and opinions of the people in the city we all love. They are people who give our city its oddball spirit, its passion for justice, and its creative vigor. They lift us up with laughter, peace, nourishment, and authentic hard work.
They make us proud to call this town our home. They are Oaklandish.
Read more: We Are Oaklandish