If you were in Oakland in the 80’s and 90’s you’d have heard the likes of Tony, Toni, Tone, young MC Hammer, Digital Underground, Too Short, Dawn Robinson of EnVouge just to name a few and back then there were only a few home studios.    Joe Capers aka Blind Joe, a blind musician and producer, was one of the creators of the sounds of Oakland music scene in the 1980’s and early 1990’s.

Joe Capers and friends built the first completely accessible studio in the San Francisco Bay Area opening in August 1989 and recorded the artists above and many more that went on, as we now know to be legends in the Hip-Hop & Soul arena locally and nationally.  Joe Capers took youth off the streets of Oakland and taught them to produce and engineer, making his studio affordable in a time before home recordings studios became what they are today.

Joe Capers passed away on November 27th/2002 and in 2009 I was apart of a radio collective at KPPFA in Berkeley that covered issues, news, arts and music of the disabled community, called Pushing Limits.  After doing a show on musicians with disabilities I got a call from a friend of Joe and she told me about his work in the music scene and counseling newly blind people in Oakland.  That info started a trail of events from Krip-Hop Nation (an international network of Hip-Hop and other musicians with disabilities that I started).  Under Bethany Stevens who worked at Georgia State University at that time, we held the first ever Joe Capers award ceremony and gave the award to Joe Capers’ family who  live in Georgia.

After that, the event came back to the Bay Area, looking for people that knew Joe and that’s when I reconnected with Naru Kwina of Oakland who knew the late Joe Capers and used to go to Joe’s studio, J-Jam in the Oakland Hills.

Naru listen to what Krip-Hop Nation and I was trying to do for the legacy of Joe Capers and at the end of the conversation Naru offered to work on a documentary of Joe Capers and what his work meant to the city of Oakland.  Naru pulled a great team together to work on the documentary and we are in the process of filming and rising money to finish this documentary.

In the meantime, in February of 2013, Krip-Hop Nation put together a Bay Area concert tour to raise the awareness of the work of Joe Capers.  After the tour Naru and I applied to the city of Oakland to have the month of August to be Joe Capers’ Month and we received the official proclamation by the Mayor of Oakland that said for now  August will be Joe Capers’ month.

We hope to finish filming by the end of 2013, and then begin the editing process. We hope to release the documentary by August 2014.   We are currently putting together a fundraising campaign. If anyone wants to help, checks can be made out to Alternative Minds Foundation 501c3 (Joe Capers Legacy Fund), 2168 40th Ave., Oakland, CA 94601.

Joe Capers’ family, Naru and I have big plans to turn Joe Capers Month into a citywide festival with events, concerts and showcasing musicians/advocates with and without disabilities.

This year The Joe Capers Legacy Project will host a free community Reception on August 31, 2013 to celebrate Joe Capers Month – proclaimed by the City of Oakland as August 1-31 every year.

With an official Proclamation reading at this event, Joe Capers will be posthumously recognized as one of the creators of the seminal Oakland, CA music scene in the 80’s & early 90’s.

There will be original song and poem written for the late Joe Capers by Naru and Leroy and stories about Joe from his family and Joy Sledge will also share some of her poetry with many more surprise guests.

The reception will be at 2168 40th Ave, Oakland, CA 94601 five blocks above Foothill Blvd.

For more info about the reception and documentary contact Naru at hiplearning@hotmail.com or call (510) 842-3324.

You can also check our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Memorial-to-Life-Work-of-Joe-Capers-Disabled-Producer-of-the-Stars/342844460279?ref=br_tf. There’s also our non-profit page, http://www.alternative-minds.com/.

One Response

  1. CB Smith-Dahl

    By the way, if you are curious to learn more about Leroy Moore and the Krip-Hop nation, here is a very good article with some background. Leroy himself is a Bay Area poet and activist, one of the producers of the Sins Invalid stage show, and has produced several compilation albums featuring local and international artists.

    http://www.wordgathering.com/issue22/essays/moore2.html

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