Gold Beams hosts a fire event at West Oakland’s Crucible

Tayleur-Brown-Crenshaw-Gold-Beam-Oakland-032024, Gold Beams hosts a fire event at West Oakland’s Crucible, Culture Currents Featured
Gold Beams founder Tayleur Brown-Crenshaw addresses the Second Mondays audience. – Photo: Brandon Robinson

by Brandy Collins, Black on Both Sides

High energy should be expected when you come to a Gold Beams Second Monday open mic. On March 11 Second Monday was hosted at Northern California’s only industrial arts school, The Crucible, located in West Oakland. The forges weren’t the only thing bringing heat as singers, dancers, spoken word artists and rappers showed up to share their art with the audience. From the moment host and founder Tayleur Brown-Crenshaw takes the stage, she is holding court and roaring in an East Coast brough with “Yeeeeeerp.”

Sign ups for the open mic began at 6 p.m. for a 7 p.m. showtime, and were broken into two sections: open mic and closing cypher. DJ LowKii Ree provided the sounds for the night as each performer gave their best performance in five minutes. Judging the competition was BlackCitizen founder Theo Ellington, creative director Daghe Esoimeme and fellow Black on Both Sides cohort member chef Tirzah Love.

While the open mic is the signature event, the mission of Gold Beams at the core is to support artists looking for their chance to step outside of their comfort zone into the spotlight or in search of their artist community.

The event has become a safe haven for vulnerability as some poets shared a poem on broken romances and the need for self love. At the end of a poem to her estranged mother, artist Acroisis shared hard learned lessons “to love from a distance.” There’s also moments of celebration as singer Othello gave a dance routine at the end of his set.

Many Bay Area artists have crossed the stages of Second Mondays including rappers Qing Qi and spoken word artist Sir Michael Wayne, who has also returned to judge the competition.

Second-Monday-judges-Gold-Beams-Oakland-032024, Gold Beams hosts a fire event at West Oakland’s Crucible, Culture Currents Featured
Judges for Second Mondays at The Crucible pose with Gold Beams’ founder. – Photo: Brandon Robinson

Artists were competing for a $700 cash prize awarded to first to third place winners. The freestyle cypher winner was awarded $500.

Since October 2018, Gold Beams has hosted Second Mondays throughout the Bay Area including Red Bay Coffee, Oakstop and San Francisco’s Exploratorium. Since their beginnings, the event planning organization has provided a platform for artist spotlights, discussion groups and workshops to bridge the creative communities together. Beginning in 2020, Gold Beams attached to Oakland’s Black Joy Parade (BJP), hosting the competition for talent to perform on the BJP main stage potentially in front of thousands.

There’s an ecosystem of community built into Second Mondays events and performance artists are not the only ones who benefit from the shows. Phaedra Tillery-Boughton of SF BATCO announced upcoming shows inviting audience members to attend. Jasper Smith, a financial planner, took five minutes to explain the importance of financial planning and offered his services.

At intermission, the Crucible staff provided tours of the facility and explanations for their classes in glassblowing, jewelry making, ceramics and wood work. The event also supports small business vendors Hella Plants, fresh juices from Soke Swigg, Bay Burgers and DeNoir Cosmetics, who set up shop and were ready to sell their wares in the industrial warehouse.

The night at the Crucible was filled with creativity, fire performances and a bit of raunch. In between hosting and twerking, Brown-Crenshaw gave a shout out to her women-led team of volunteers who organize and produce Second Mondays. She encouraged the performers and audience members to give a round of applause to each member with a reminder: “Don’t be shy to give it up for Black women.”

Checkout our recap video here. Find more about Gold Beams on their website and on YouTube.

Brandy Collins is a freelance journalist covering arts & culture, travel, and food. Find more of her writing at Your Auntie Brandy. You can also listen to her show, I Have Questions, wherever you get your podcasts.